WHEN Strictly Come Dancing returned to supper-time BBC1 at the weekend, not only the late Sir Bruce Forsyth was missing. So too was Strictly pro and mentor Natalie Lowe.

Instead, she was to be found at York Barbican, having a fabulous time in Rip It Up, the Fifties song-and-dance extravaganza she has co-created on leaving Strictly with a "heavy heart" after seven years.

It must be said the heavy heart was not being worn too heavily on her glittering sleeve on Sunday night. The 37-year-old ballroom queen from Sydney, Australia, was palpably enjoying herself in the company of former Strictly champions Louis Smith, the gymnast with the Little Richard haircut, and Jay McGuiness, The Wanted's rather charming singer, whose jive was the talk of the 2015 series.

Natalie's preference is to perform on stage, she told exuberant host, saxophonist and BBC Radio 2 band leader Leo Green, in one of three quickfire interviews with the show's stars in the second half.

Add singers Jill Marie Cooper and Oliver Darling and some fine supporting dancers, plus judicious use of a video screen for batty Fifties adverts, introductions, backdrops and credits, and Rip It Up truly ripped it up in a night that took in Buddy Holly, Elvis, Little Richard and Rat Pack songs, allied to swing, bop, jitterbug, lindy hop, jive, ballroom and Latin moves.

Smith smouldered; McGuiness sang and danced elegantly; Lowe had ridiculously high energy levels to go with wow-factor costumes that made her missing her interview with The Press for a fitting entirely forgivable!