Tag Archives: Blackpool

Strictly Come Dancing: Dear Strictly

It’s more than 12 hours after my once-beloved SCD finished last night. I am still in shock. So much so that this blog is going to be a different kettle of fish to previous missives on the subject. You’ll have to forgive me, dear reader – it has, as they say, Been Emotional.

Dear Strictly,

We’ve had some wonderful times, you and me. When we first met, I hated Saturday Night Telly, with its mix of gaudy gameshows, Dad’s Army, dry documentaries about Cholera and Noel Bloody Edmonds. I knew nothing about dancing and you were much derided for being a throw-back to a dying era. People (hi Mum!) said we would never work.

You came, with your random mix of people off the telly, off the Olympics and quite often off their heads. Your sequins sparkled. Your judges were daring but fair, caring only about the dancing and not about themselves. You had a slightly-neglected old-school host whom everyone was delighted to see again, who was merely grateful to regain his rightful place on primetime telly. More than anything else, you were characterized by your good humour. Sure, people were called “contestants”, but they were participants rather than competitors. They were encouraged to do well and by and large did so, or at least had a ball. Who knew that woman who got bashed about by Phil Mitchell on Eastenders would be so good? That Julian Clary would be so bad? Who even knew who Kara Tointon was?

I loved you, Strictly. But more to the point, everybody loved you. Which meant everybody wanted a piece of you and everybody wanted to be like you. ITV looked longingly at your ratings success as you tore up Saturday Nights. They came up with this thing called X Factor. It was just a tired old rehash of its previous entries into the class that I like to handily term Pop Factory Crap. How could it ever trouble you, Strictly? You were a class apart, you didn’t need all that. You had series after series of Feelgood Glory, where it was simply about the Dancing rather than the ridiculous sideshows.

But tragically, people lapped up the Pop Factory Crap in their millions. And you got scared, Strictly, You thought that every person that watched that wouldn’t want you anymore and that THIS was the future.

So you changed, Strictly. Firstly, you ditched one of your original judges for being Too Old. She was in fact younger than the oldest judge who was a man, but somehow that didn’t seem to matter to you.


Despite this, we were ok for a while. You still had lots of good dancers and did laudable things like going to Blackpool (BLACKPOOL!). It wasn’t quite like the olden days, but it looked like you were going to get your spark back. 

Where It All Started Going Wrong

Then you got a gift, Strictly. Ann Widdecombe. She couldn’t dance and didn’t care. People were split in their Marmite-style camps. But it was impossible not to have an opinion, so everyone did. Everybody was talking about you, writing about you, watching you again. It felt GOOD.

But it went to your head, Strictly. And look at you now. Bloated and self-satisfied. 100 minutes long! Even my patience is exhausted by the end, so it’s no wonder even the participants have apparently well and truly had enough. Sitting through endless smug jokes by Sir Brucie, who continues to think people watch the show simply for his grandstanding, tired old nonsense. Through puerile VTs prior to each dance designed simply to fill time with stupid, children’s tv-style antics? Through look-at-me use of props that add nothing to the dancing (except for Artem and Holly’s number, which was clever and beautifully choreographed)? Continue reading


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Lustbox: Matt Smith

My little crush on Matt Smith has snuck up on me to be honest.

I was smitten with his predecessor in the TARDIS, David Tennant, from the first time I saw him in Blackpool (that’s the excellent Peter Bowker drama, not the actual seaside resort), but it’s taken a little longer for me to start having impure thoughts about Mr Smith.

Clearly he has buckets of charisma. I was convinced I’d be mourning the loss of David Tennant from Doctor Who for months – but Matt Smith had won me over within minutes of his first episode. Still this new love was very much a platonic one.

What on earth has started me thinking much earthier thoughts about this young man? (I’m trying not to dwell on the nine-year age gap by the way). I suspect that press shot at the top of this page from Christopher and His Kind started the hormones going and from there onward it’s been all downhill (in a good way).

So now it’s his politeness, intelligence, posh-in-the-right-way-ness, talent, geekiness and charm (not to mention great hair, excellent cheekbones and a fabulous smile) that have me a wee bit hot under the collar. He can share that mysterious TARDIS swimming pool with me any day – Alex Kingston is a lucky lady (though not as lucky as his real girlfriend)!

Posted by Jo the Hat

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Single Father: A gurn-free zone

If I was asking the TV gods for the equivalent of a golden fleece and they were feeling beneficent, Single Father would surely be their celestial gift of choice.

It has David Tennant using his natural accent and totally inhabiting the role of a grieving father of four kids. And if that doesn’t float your boat, it also has a beautifully understated script and a lovely supporting cast (even the kids are great).

The good news is that David Tennant is doing the lovely, natural acting that made me fall in love with him back in 2004 (Blackpool – also highly recommended viewing). He’s reunited with the equally charming Laura Fraser (Casanova) as his screen wife Rita – although not for long, as a police car slams into her and her bicycle, widowing Dave and devastating their children.

Mick Ford’s script beautifully captures both the chaos of family life and the harrowing multitude of emotions that slam into you when a loved one dies. I wasn’t quite so keen on the psychic echo thing as Rita fell to her death on the tarmac, but I’ll forgive them that when everything else was so good.

That includes Rita’s tart sister Anna and her much nicer husband Robin, and, of course, Suranne Jones as Rita’s friend Sarah. She’s brilliant as the grieving friend and had me so deeply sucked into the drama that it’s only writing this, right this second, that I’m consumed with jealousy that she’s kissed David Tennant on a bathroom floor and I never will.

If, like me, you couldn’t watch this on Sunday night, then catch-up RIGHT NOW on i-Player. You probably won’t need a tissue, but you may find the back of your sleeve a little damp before the end…

Posted by Jo the Hat

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