Tag Archives: Anton du Beke

Strictly Come Dancing: Scary stuff

Ooh, Miss Jones

It was Halloween Special on Strictly. I must confess I’m of an age when I’m not sure Halloween, as an event, merits a special of anything(apart from Psychoville). Far too much fuss made of it these days. When I was a kid, you might have a bit of enforced apple bobbing and a pumpkin in the window, but that was it. Now, we have a whole Saturday night’s light entertainment on both channels devoted to it.

In keeping with the theme, the show starts with a mildly embarrassing Addams family group dance, before a terrifying wizened member of the living dead appears – oh, hang on – it was Brucie, making the traditional weekly grab for Tess’s upper thigh.

Like Velocity Girl, in last week’s review, I must confess to getting a bit fed up with all the padding in Strictly at the moment. The show is plenty long enough without all the quirky videos. It’s fine to see a bit of training, but all this; “Alex was told by the judges last week that she needed to be sexier, so I decided to take her to a live sex show” is wearing a bit thin. We had Chelsee and Pasha visiting a school, Alex and James abseiling (yeah, yeah – it wasn’t really a sex show, but you get my drift), Harry and Aliona poncing about in the London Dungeon, and a horrific dream sequence for Jason featuring Ann Widdecombe of which the least said about, the better. In the words of Len, please stop all this messing about. A bit of training, and just do the bloody dance. For the last couple of weeks, we’ve recorded Strictly, which means you can whizz through all the extraneous nonsense and save a good half hour. I’d recommend it.   Continue reading


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Strictly Come Dancing – It’s time to meet the Muppets…

Look, Strictly started it with Craig and Len doing their Statler and Waldorf impersonations. If they don’t want to draw our attention to the performers who are all startled expressions, fluff and jerky performances they shouldn’t lampshade them.

I’ll admit my heart sank at the concept of Broadway night. For one thing every night is pantomime night on the Strictly dancefloor, especially when it comes to the judges. Unlike the hair-trigger audience who appear to have been stuffed full of ’70s orange squash and pre-health and safety Smarties, my favourite of the judges is resident ‘villain’ Craig. He seems to me to be the only one judging dancing as opposed to national treasure status. And the day he finally loses it and punches Bruce on the nose for one of his homophobic comments will be Fab-u-lous.

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Strictly Come Dancing: Chilly willies & warm lap dances

I confess to getting a bit distracted at the beginning of this because I spotted Paul ‘Silver fox of the Great British Bake Off’ Hollywood in the audience and started thinking about cakes. But that’s no bad thing. It allowed the Brucie drivel to wash over me in a not unpleasant, bun-scented reverie.

Several things struck me this week:

  • Brucie really shouldn’t be allowed to mention Audley’s ‘rhythm’ without a useful aide (and I’d volunteer) quietly wrapping Nancy’s boa around his neck & doing a little bit of constricting to shut him up
  • Audley comes across as a lovely bloke: he won’t win, but I like him a lot
  • With Len Goodman talking about things getting a bit ‘chilly around his willy’ and Bruno’s pantomime letching, it can get too much like a Carry on film at times, and not in a good way
  • The show is currently far too long for someone with my attention span – which actually makes me pleased couples will be voted off from now onwards
  • Others on Twitter may mock (Our Man in the South, I’m looking at you. ‘Bertie Bassett’ indeed) but I thought Anita Dobson looked fantastic in her Carmen Miranda salsa outfit, and she danced beautifully too
  • Less keen on Dan Lobb   Continue reading


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Strictly Come Dancing – Amazing Jase and the Boa-Constricted

Following on from OMITS’ sterling work, it is now my turn to take my rightful place in the Shadow of the Glitterball. From the safety of my laptop, you understand – me on a dancefloor is the sort of occasion that court orders were invented for.

Nothing unusual to report on the first bit, same as ever i.e. Bruce making the sort of jokes found on the floor of a Christmas cracker factory whilst Tess vacantly looks on in a dress that gives her that whole “toilet roll holder they forgot to finish” vibe. Has the show taken a leaf out of X-Factor and started theming? If so, this week must be Ghastly Novelty Fancy Dress week.

First up, Harry Judd from McFly. He too seems to have embraced the Fancy Dress theme by coming as a darts player. Meanwhile, his partner Aliona looks a bit like that girl that murdered her dad in Coronation Street. Despite this inauspicious start, their Cha Cha Cha (or Cha cubed, for those of you as sad as me), to probably the most insanely catchy pop song of the last 5 years is a lot of fun. A bit jerky and uncertain, for sure. But he’s an enthusiastic performer and they do seem to have chemistry. The whole thing is very enjoyable right up until the point where Bruno starts talking about spunk. I of course missed the next bit whilst I threw up but apparently they scored quite well. I did however make it back in time to see the non-dancing celebrities awkwardly mingling in the background and was struck by the similarities between Robbie Savage’s grinny facial expression and that of Roland Rat. Has anybody ever seen them both in the same room? Postcards to the usual address.   Continue reading


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Strictly Christmas Dancing: Ho ho hum

Da-da-DA-da-(*insert jingling bells here*)-Da-da-DA-DA! (*insert more jingling bells here*).

Yes that’s right folks, it’s the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special! Only this year with a RADICAL new format, in that all 5 contestants have never appeared on the show before. Far out, man.

It all starts well enough. A pyjama-clad Matthew Cutler (provoking scenes of mass hysteria to the point where my ear is still ringing 15 hours later) leads the Professionals through a bizarre group dance number which climaxes in the contestants jumping out of cardboard boxes. Typical, isn’t it – all those things they must have had for Christmas, yet all they’re interested in is the box.

Vince Cable and Erin Boag. Photo from The Guardian.

Following this, everything else seems to be reassuringly the same. Bruce enters as flamboyantly as ever (“why has he just flashed that Christmas tree?” enquires an eagle-eyed Mama VG), plus Tess’s outfit is up (or should that be down) to the usual standard – which this week seems to be based on that of the Innovations Catalogue. It’s strapless, it’s strapped, it’s off the shoulder, it’s satin, it’s velour, it’s long, it’s short – I bet it probably opens jars, has a torch function and pumps up car tyres too, if pushed.

Anyway, time for the all-new shelebriddy contestants! And it’s John Barrowman! “Hey, Mom! Look what I found under the tree!” he shrieks, clutching a valiantly-grinning Kristina Rihanoff. “Still, I bet his mother’s pleased, given what he usually manages to find under the tree” snarks an increasingly-weary Mama VG. I sympathise re weariness– 30 seconds of listening to John Barrowman and I’m already revealing the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden to anyone who’ll listen. “I said I’d only do this if I was covered in bling!” squeals Barrowman. Unfortunately, the BBC costume department seemed to have stopped listening after the first letter and covered him in bubblewrap instead. An easy mistake to make, I’m sure you’ll agree. Anyway, they do a Quickstep, which to me just looks like a Panda Pops-addled infant racing around at a school disco. Still, the judges liked it a lot and the audience are “standing up!” (DRINK!)

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Strictly: new series high-kicks off

Well this is going to be fun. Viewers of every age, gender and sexual orientation should have something or someone to keep them entertained. The dancing celebs only got paired off last night, but I can tell already it’s going to be an amusing series.

What’s good so far?

  • Opinionated Tory Catholic Ann ‘I’m not actually holding a whip right now but I’ve got one in my bag if you don’t behave’ Widdicombe, who said of herself ‘I’m the pantomime act’. Clearly not planning to wear high heels, but sporting an excellent flicky new haircut. Seeing her paired off with Anton du Beke was priceless. That’ll teach him for Hole in the Wall and thoughtless racism
  • For the enjoyment of sports lovers – Peter bloody Shilton. And Gavin Henson, looking exactly like a Chippendale made into a Ken doll and wondering out loud if it’s all going to be ‘too arousing’
  • Paul Daniels partnered with the gorgeous Ola with (I’m guessing) the somewhat long suffering Debbie McGee watching
  • I’m not sure what to make of Pamela Stephenson deciding to be on it, but she’s gorgeous and since her lovely hubby Billy Connolly is watching, it’s double royalty as far as I’m concerned 
  • Seeing the woman with the most adored bottom of the 1970s, The Good Life’s Barbara, Felicity Kendal looking minxy as hell
  • Patsy Kensit!
  • The stupendous Craig Revel Horwood already sharpening his claws and getting his tongue ready to drip acid
  • Some rather hot new dancers have joined the mix, including one from High School Musical who is partnering Corrie’s Tina O’Brien

And we haven’t even mentioned Goldie, Michelle Williams and Matt Baker. The only downside so far, why isn’t the ever adorable Ian Waite partnering anyone this year?

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Strictly: my schoolgirl crush

Oh how bloody marvellous. The woman whose very name conjures up images of complicated Victorian undergarments, Darcey Bussell, has joined the judging panel for the last few show of Strictly Come Dancing. I know she’s had a staggeringly successful career as a prima ballerina, but since I don’t give a stuff about ballet, its not her pas de deux that impress me. It’s more that she seems a genuinely decent, down to earth sort. And for a beautiful, frighteningly bendy and really rather elegant woman, she’s not afraid to send herself up. She did this particularly divinely in French and Saunders a few years back. I find Bussell to be warm, straightforward and competent, and gorgeous too of course. Like the head girl we were all secretly in love with.

So now she’s sitting pretty (and defusing a few handbags at dusk) on the judges’ desk between Craig Revel Horwood and Len Goodman. We got two shows last night. In the first, the remaining four couples performed two dances apiece for the first time, and in the later show, we got Bette Midler, Vincent and Flavia doing a thoroughly dirty and most excellent Argentine tango, a group dance that will for ever remind me of the Summer Time Specials of the 70s, all of which built up to the dance-off. Laila and Anton were going to be in it for sure, despite the most fabulous purple dress, they didn’t have a good night. The other couple should have been Chris and Ola, but they are so popular with the public, it wasn’t. It was Ricky Whittle, despite an almost flawless couple of dances. I guess the public were not keen on his extra curricular activities in the previous week.

So unless Ricky cocked it up massively, it was going to be farewell to Anton and Leila, and so it proved. They are an endearing, but also rather odd couple. There was the early ‘Paki-gate’ story, which they survived. Leila sprained her ankle one week. She is the most extraordinarily beautiful woman, who looks spectacular in every outfit, be it a tasselled cat suit, or an elegant red swirly number. Anton is an odd looking chap, who seems to have been beamed down from another planet. She asked him once if he sleeps in his tie. You don’t get the white hot sexuality off him that you get from Ricky, but Anton is very funny, and he and Leila seemed to have grown genuinely fond of each other.

But they were the right couple to go. Now we’re left with Ricky W, Chris Hollins and Ali Bastian. Everyone has had Ricky down to win from the beginning, but I’m rooting for Ali. I’m less keen on her partner, Brian, who seems rather controlling (it may just be that he’s American and so upfront about how competitive he is, I’m not sure) but she seems a decent, plucky sort, and she works her socks off every week, despite two injuries.

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Strictly Come Dancing: What a spectacle

Conga-mI didn’t bother blogging on Strictly last week, because it was all fairly pedestrian. But bloody hell did that change last night. Twistier than a drunken conga it was (not sure there has ever been a sober one), it began with Brucie’s absence due to ‘flu.

And so the surreal events began. It was like the ghost of Saturday Night past. Or half of it (not a size joke-I mean one half of a famous pair). Ronnie Corbett came down the stairs. A man who has not changed his style of eye-wear in forty years. And why should he? Flanked by two (apparently) very tall women, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, who was also drafted in to fit Brucie’s shoes. And she wears fabulous shoes, does Claudia. Anyway, it was a odd sensation looking at one of the two Ronnies, like the 70s had never gone away. I could feel hysterical laughter welling up inside me.

BRITAIN OLYMPICSThen when the couples came down the stairs, I spotted a bandage around the lower leg and ankle of Laila Rouass and wondered what that was about. Then the next bombshell. News that, gorgeous and normally fit as a freakishly fit fiddle, Jade Johnson, my favourite celebrity dancer, paired with my favourite professional dancer, Ian Waite, had knackered her knee in dress rehearsals. It upset me that, instead of rushing her to hospital in her lovely orange and black dress, she had to endure an interview about what had happened. As I understand it, if she is fit enough to dance next week, she will not be kicked off  the show (the rules state that, if you can’t dance under medical advice, you can skip a week only). 

But that wasn’t the end of the drama. When Laila and Anton came out to dance, we hear that she sprained her ankle, and her face looks rigid with pain. Dancing in heels on a sprained ankle? Really, it’s bloody madness and not surprisingly, she can’t make it to the end of the dance. Anton carries her over the judges, and Craig Revel Horwood gives her a score of 3. I felt sorry for the judges actually, what on earth are you supposed to do under those circumstances? She should not have been made/allowed to dance, but the reason she did was that, however painful (and stupid, some might say) dancing on a sprain does not apparently increase the damage, according to medical advice.

After the nightmare week of Ali Bastian being made to perform in the dance-off with a broken/bruised toe, the voting public kept Leila and Anton out of the bottom two. This left Ricky Groves (in specs for the first time, which I rather liked, being a specs wearer myself -you don’t see them on TV that much) and Phil Tufnell. Ricky got more votes (although it was a close run thing-Len Goodman had the deciding vote), so Tuffers is out. He damaged his knee a few weeks ago, which required an op,  and the knee had been playing up in rehearsals this week. I couldn’t help but wonder if Len went for the man less likely to be stretchered off in the last few weeks of the show.

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