Home   News   Article

Strictly Inverness 2024 diary: Best of luck to all our fabulous finalists


By Andrew Dixon

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.



Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
LEFT: Team Thursday winners Beth Saunders and Darryl Geegan. RIGHT: Team Fridays winners Clare MacDonald and Craig Watson.
LEFT: Team Thursday winners Beth Saunders and Darryl Geegan. RIGHT: Team Fridays winners Clare MacDonald and Craig Watson.

Strictly Inverness has been an incredible experience filled with emotion and self-discovery.

If anyone had told me a few years ago I’d have done something like this, then I wouldn’t have believed you.

With zero rhythm and not even a huge interest in music, I was probably the least likely to do well in a contest like this. But I gave it my best shot and met some great people along the way.

PICTURES: Thursday night’s Strictly Inverness winners announced

Forging new friendships and showing my daughters they could step outside their comfort zone and give something a try were my top reasons for getting involved in more than just writing about this year’s contest. Knowing they have been cheering for me has meant the world.

Ruth Mason and Andy Dixon.
Ruth Mason and Andy Dixon.

I have immense gratitude to the organisers for allowing me to play a role and be part of Team Thursday. By being paired with the wonderful Ruth Mason, I think I’ve gained a new perspective and that not everything is black and white - there is fun in between.

This partnership has made me more self-aware, more empathetic and kinder. I’m still ambitious and optimistic but I think I have more humility.

Ruth Mason and Andy Dixon.
Ruth Mason and Andy Dixon.

The task of attempting to learn a super-fast party-themed samba with neon orange trousers and sleeveless shirt, an intricate and slower rumba with a James Bond theme and a Barbie movie-inspired uplifting and action-packed fun-filled group dance as rollerblading Ken (thankfully not on skates!) produced a different type of accountability and tenacity.

Once I had the conviction to sign up, I knew I had to go all in. I found I had to be patient, mostly with myself, while also being curious and having that desire to learn and improve.

Andy Dixon in the group dance.
Andy Dixon in the group dance.

I’m guessing most of the others may have had similar experiences.

I’ve said it before that the winners of this year’s Strictly Inverness are undoubtedly Highland Hospice and Inverness Ice Centre.

These charities which do so much for the community and touch so many people’s lives will deservedly benefit from all the money raised by the 2024 class for the annual dance competition - which in turn makes us all winners as well.

Although I’ll be watching the final this evening from the sidelines, I’ll be cheering each of those eight duos as they compete for top scores from the judges, plus votes from the public.

It’s shaping up to be an awesome spectacle which is so tough to predict. The winning couples from Team Thursday and Team Friday are amazing but they can’t be complacent because all the others are fab-u-lous.

Seeing each other every Sunday at group dance training provided a glimpse of what each couple was capable of. After getting our star treatment with spray tans on Tuesday, the opening night on Wednesday was such a buzz. Hearing people cheer us on was unlike anything before.

The four couples who made it through to the final from Thursday's semi final: Rachel Wood and Reece Mackay, Jackie Sutherland and Sonny Rhind, Beth Saunders and Darryl Geegan, Shireen Fyffe and Jason Kelman. Picture: Callum Mackay.
The four couples who made it through to the final from Thursday's semi final: Rachel Wood and Reece Mackay, Jackie Sutherland and Sonny Rhind, Beth Saunders and Darryl Geegan, Shireen Fyffe and Jason Kelman. Picture: Callum Mackay.

The dancers’ breakfast was jovial with our pink dressing gowns showing solidarity ahead of a days of training slots on the main dancefloor and a run-through of the event. This was our first opportunity to see the routines our team-mates had been learning and they were all terrific.

I honestly believe none of us would have looked out of place in tonight’s final but similar can be said about Team Friday. Everyone brought their best and of those who advanced, I wouldn’t count anyone out, which makes this year’s cohort not only one of the strongest in terms of fundraising - more than £250,000 collectively - but also one of the strongest in terms of depth in standard of performance that I can remember.

The four couples who made it through to the final from Friday's semi final: Stefan Robertson, Lesley Clark, Ailsa Campbell, Neil Pirritt, Clare MacDonald, Craig Watson, Angela Urquhart and Ryan Bell. Picture: Callum Mackay.
The four couples who made it through to the final from Friday's semi final: Stefan Robertson, Lesley Clark, Ailsa Campbell, Neil Pirritt, Clare MacDonald, Craig Watson, Angela Urquhart and Ryan Bell. Picture: Callum Mackay.

I hope none of them put a foot wrong (or make any other movement out of place) and deliver the characters and story-telling their routines require to get top marks.

We can all take pride from what we’ve done but only one dance couple will take the top prize. Who will it be?

Keep an eye on our website for results and pictures.


Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More