The Masked Dancer reveals another hit show

Saturday: The Masked Dancer; (ITV, 7pm)

Friday, 28th May 2021, 5:00 pm
Mo Gilligan, Davina McCall, Joel Dommett, Oti Mabuse and Jonathan Ross

Entertainment shows rarely arrive out of nowhere – often their origins can be traced back across several formats from various networks or even countries.

The Masked Dancer is the perfect example, being a reworking of ITV’s recent popular series The Masked Singer – itself an import from the US, who actually took the idea from a show in South Korea. The original format proved a hit, as celebrities from all backgrounds got to show off their vocal prowess (or lack thereof) while in disguise, meaning they could really let loose. One imagines that former Labour MP Alan Johnson, for example, might have been more hesitant about singing karaoke were he not dressed as a giant, cartoonish pharaoh.

The title of this follow-up series explains much of the premise – essentially our incognito performers will be showing off their moves rather than their vocal chords, and we can be sure that there will be a good mix of celebs from the capable to the less convincing (expect the dad-dancers to be whittled out in the early episodes).

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Once again Joel Dommett is our host, with long-standing judges Jonathan Ross and Davina McCall returning to their chairs on the panel. Comedian Mo Gilligan, who joined the panel for series two of The Masked Singer, also returns to provide the laughs, and for a more nuanced take on the actual dancing on offer, there’s professional dancer Oti Mabuse from Strictly Come Dancing.

Oti said “I’m so thrilled and honoured to be joining the panel on The Masked Dancer. I’m a huge fan of The Masked Singer and I loved the US Masked Dancer so I just can’t wait to start on this show. As a dancer I will be watching the dancers intently looking for clues – it’s going to be so much fun!”

Jonathan Ross added “What people don’t know is that secretly I am an expert in dance and can spot a ball change from a box step no problem.

“The title of best detective on the panel is most certainly coming my way!”

Gilligan meanwhile thinks that this new format is just what the doctor ordered in these trying times. “I love The Masked Singer,” he said. “It’s a crazy bit of joy, which we all need right now – so when ITV asked if I wanted to join The Masked Dancer I, of course, said a huge yes!

“I’m really looking forward to getting back with the team for another brilliant series.”

The actual contestants obviously haven’t been announced – where would be the fun in that? – but what we do know is that in this first episode Zip, Knickerbocker Glory, Beetroot, Llama, Viper and Scarecrow will be taking to the stage, with one of them being unmasked at the end of the show.

The series is on all week, so no waiting until next Saturday for your next fix.

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