Tag Archives: Darcey Bussell

Strictly: Murder off the dance floor

I'm killing off that bloody Forsyth and no one can stop me

I’m killing off that bloody Forsyth and no one can stop me

Yes, I’m sure it’s the presence of Sophie ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ Ellis-Bextor, especially in her flapper dress last night, that’s making me think that every year, Strictly gets more like an Agatha Christie ensemble piece. You’ve got all the stock characters. The pretty young things, the old rogues, the ageing glamour pusses, the screechy Welshmen and comic Geordies. Then there are all the Johnny Foreigner dancers. Ruskies and damn commie bastards. They may shake a fine leg at the old cha cha cha, but you can’t trust any of them. 

The thing about Strictly is that everyone is outwardly chummy and charming when we all know they’re all actually enormously competitive. Plus they’re stuck under hot lights in a sweaty, enclosed space wearing uncomfortable clothing. I, for one, would have very little difficulty imagining Anton du Beke as a murderous gigolo. Brucie was “missing” last night, and a girl could dream someone had bumped him off, his body lying unnoticed inside a tanning booth backstage for the fifteen hours it seemed to take to get through all the dances. The facade was that he had “flu” of course. But Tess and Claudia have been after the top compering job for years, I’m sure of it.

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Strictly: the final furlong

Bruce-articleTwo weeks to go. Two dances per couple tonight. It strikes me, this year more than most for some reason, that, much as I love it, Strictly is almost identical year after year. Watching a clip of Brucie’s “jokes”, I’d defy anyone to guess which year we were in. Or decade, come to that. He and Len have missed the post-Savile memo about how cringingly inappropriate lecherous remarks  by old men to young women are (ditto casual homophobia, but at least in that regard Craig and Bruno can hold their own, as it were).

There’s a change in the celebrities obviously, and some of the professional dancers. The female member of the judging panel has varied (Arlene/Alesha/Darcey). But the male judges, Dave Arch and his orchestra, the set, dances, make-up, props and costumes remain reliably, comfortably the same.

The producers tried something new last week with the dance style mash-up, which was fine, by and large, but just as at the end of every episode of the Simpsons, all was back to normal afterwards.

The thing that makes me smile most of all are the slips-of-the-tongues over the “Sunday show” (that’s actually filmed straight after the Saturday one). Zoe Ball saying to Alfie Boe on Friday night It Takes Two “So we’ll see you performing on the results show tomorrow. Er, Sunday.” Far too expensive and time-consuming to dress and do full make-up on all the celebs and pro-dancers two nights in a row.

Obviously Tess and Darcey change their dresses between shows. But my hairdresser Helen pointed out that their hair styles change too (it’s put into an up-do if it was down or vice-versa). It must be a frantic half hour backstage for the stylists whilst the phone vote’s going on.

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Strictly: A bit too Special

I like Strictly. It’s the comfort food of Saturday night telly. A glitzy, sequined, orange spray-tanned shepherds pie of a programme. Many people have put a huge amount of physical effort into training for it, but all you need to do as a viewer is watch. Slouching on your sofa, drink in hand, taking the piss. And bitching with other Twitter folk about how much the wardrobe department must hate Tess.

This year, we’re all keeping an eye on Darcey Bussell as the new judge. She’s undoubtedly knowledgeable on dance but her first appearance was marred by (presumably nerve-driven) repetitions of a horsey “Yah?” to every contestant, but that have fortunately stopped now. Perhaps because Craig is sticking pins into her leg under the table.

In the order of things, he and Len have been separated by the Bussell this year, which means Len is the person who gets slapped in the face by Bruno’s histrionic arm movements (which is actually pretty funny). Darcey can be as harsh a marker as Craig, and frankly I’ve got my eye on her after she marked the delightful Lisa Riley much lower than everyone else last week – I don’t trust ballet dancers to be well-balanced around bigger women, and in my (entirely ill-informed) opinion, Riley is top-notch in every respect.

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Strictly: everyone loves a tryer

So the last woman celebrity, Ali Bastian, is out of Strictly, despite she and Brian scoring full marks on their American Smooth. They are a couple both on and off the dance floor, and I’ve been obsessing all series about what would happen if they split up in real life but had to keep on wrapping their arms around each other in the dance studio for ten hours a day. It could have been murder on the dancefloor had Ali not seemed an entirely calm sort.

Nothing was going to knock the phenomenally popular duo of Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan out of the final, even dancing better. I had wondered if Ricky Whittle would go, because although patently the best dancer since the beginning, he seems to have become less popular with the public since the running-over-the photographer (allegedly) incident. I think there is something behind the eyes that comes across as rather too smooth. Mind you, I’m always suspicious of people who seem just a little too good looking, and I suppose that’s not his fault.

Despite inelegant hands and not being as good a dancer as Ali (or Zoe Lucker, or Jade Johnson), Chris has had more of a ‘journey’ (I had to clench my teeth to write that). All it means is he’s improved more over time. And ‘Strictly’ is an apt term for this ‘journey’ since Ola has taught him by means of vicious nipple twisting. Anyway, he has the Jack Russell look of a plucky little tryer about him and the voting members of the nation have very much taken him to their hearts, so it was no surprise that he found himself in the final.  

But my favourite dance of the evening was when the lovely Darcey Bussell took to the floor with the adorable Ian Waite. That woman bends in ways that frankly make my eyes water.

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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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