Tag Archives: Kara Tointon

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.

BLACKPOOL!

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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Strictly Week 9 Results – Ding, Dong, The Wid’s Not Dead!

Firstly, confession time – I HATE the results show (so much so I’ve lapsed into capitals AGANE). However, as promised, here it is. And to be fair, the whole experience wasn’t as intolerable as I thought it would be.

Firstly, hooray for the showdance! Purpley, whirly, jivey, chairy, close up on Brendan Coley (well, you can’t have it all). Quite long but the audience went nuts at the end so who am I to quibble?

Then we had some very interesting judges chat. Worth it simply for the spectacle of Bruno attempting to demonstrate the Argentine Tango with Craig, who looked far less alarmed than he should have done, frankly. The judges took the proverbial out of Gavin with various unflattering impressions. I managed to have sympathy for Gavin for the whole 5 seconds before he opened his mouth and revealed himself to be a vain, self-aggrandising bore again. Sigh.

Bye bye Patsy, Patsy bye bye...

Results stage one revealed that the general public (yeah, those animals) had saved Matt and Aliona (I don’t particularly like him but fair enough, he is good), Pamela and James (SQUEAL!) and Ann and Anton (I’m sure my flat screen telly will recover from this news one day). In the drop zone were Patsy and Robin. Bye bye, flat screen telly, the times we shared together were good ones.

I would comment on the lovely showdance James and Ola did at this point, but the sight of Ann Widdecombe dressed up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz to trail next week’s “Movie Week” afterwards pretty much rendered everything else insignificant. As a friend of mine put it via text message, “honestly, it’s like the BBC are begging the gay rights lobby to send them letter bombs”.

Results stage two revealed that the general public (to whom I am resolutely not speaking from now on) had finally struggled to their senses and saved Kara and Artem and Scott and Natalie. People who can actually dance. I know, how novel! Leaving Gavin and Katya to sit through the sub-Snow Patrol drivel of James Blunt before learning that…. PATSY = GONE!

To be fair, me liking any woman on Strictly is enough to put the mockers on her – so long Carol Smillie, tata Letitia Dean, au revoir Zoe Ball. But still, Patsy was amazingly gracious considering and even thanked the make-up staff. The judges shook their heads, the Strictly band managed not to murder Crying by Roy Orbison and we were told once again to KEEEEEEEP DANCING!

Which is more than Ann Widdecombe can seem to be bothered to manage. Gragh.

For previous Strictly blogs, click here

Typed in a trashed front room by a particularly grumpy Velocity Girl

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Strictly – The Good, The Bad and The Widdy

It’s time for Strictly Come Dancing, Week 9! DA-da-da-da-DA-da-DA-DA! Etc!

Last week took place in BLACKPOOL. Though you would hardly know that it took place in BLACKPOOL, as hardly anybody mentioned BLACKPOOL at all. Within seven seconds we learned that this week wasn’t taking place in BLACKPOOL, even though last week did take place in BLACKPOOL. The rest of this week’s non-BLACKPOOL based programme was presumably accompanied by the gentle weeping of the Lancashire and Blackpool (or should that be BLACKPOOL) Tourist Board.

This week’s BLACKPOOL equivalent was the fact that there are only 7 contestants left in the competition. Why, that makes them the Magnificent Seven! Do you see, DO YOU SEE? 75 minutes of Stetsons, bargain basement gunshot graphics and witless cowboy impressions later, anybody not wailing into the carpet in existentialist despair probably did just about pick up on this (life’s a riot at VG Towers, you can be sure of that).

Pamela Stephenson - this week's Top of the Trots (sorry)

Kara and Artem’s VT begins in a hail of icepacks (that’s enough cold weather puns now – Ed.). Fortunately, the magic of live television soon fixes Artem’s shoulder and their Jive is a lot of fun. Sure, parts of it were a bit jerky and the ending is pretty haphazard, but Kara is a joyful dancer and even the judges find this infectious.

Ann and Anton next – and isn’t Widdy full of it? Having tired of her ridiculous antics long ago, her self-important, arrogant VT (“we are a democracy!”) filled me with hope that eventually enough others will be suitably revolted to finally do the decent thing. In the meantime, Ann and Anton’s Rhumba to “My Heart Will Go On” soon returned me sobbing into the shagpile. Really, can this not stop now?

Ann’s dive in likeability during the series is highlighted even further by Patsy Kensit. Having been no fan of hers at the beginning, she’s coming across beautifully now – self-deprecating, funny and a real worker. And her Argentine Tango puts me in the previously deeply-unlikely position of agreeing with Aleesha Dixon (I know). Whilst it was a bit careful in places, her intensity was utterly compelling and she was unlucky not to score higher.

Scott and Natalie’s VT can be neatly summed up in three words – SCOTT IS TIRED. Continue reading

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Kara Tointon: Don’t Call Me Stupid – Dyslexia and Yoof TV

Ah, BBC3. Its target audience is largely those aged from 16-34 years old. It’s the Radio 1 of the telly world. Your correspondent is 26 years old. However, your correspondent would rather eat a cement sandwich than watch pretty much anything on this “television channel” (the majority of its output means those quotation marks are thoroughly deserved, the fabulous Being Human excepted).

This makes me cross. True, there may not be that many serious documentary-loving twenty-somethings. However, if you’re going to insist on having a channel that is meant to be somewhat more “yoof”-orientated in its outlook, you should try and cater for all of your target audience. I admire the BBC in this respect – BBC3 may have once been BBC Choice but it had a similar yoof (yes, I’m sticking with this, however annoying) programming remit and began in 1998, 3 years ahead of the allegedly more trendy and hip Channel 4’s equivalent E4, which then didn’t move over to Freeview until mid-2005. The BBC have given itself not just a T4-style slot but a whole channel for yoof – surely there must be somewhere to accommodate young persons who don’t feel particularly enthused by “Snog, Marry or Avoid?” (shudder)?

Thank goodness, then, for “Kara Tointon – Don’t Call Me Stupid”. Ignore the typically hysterical documentary title. Although, yes, it is basically “Her From Strictly is Dyslexic – Oh DEAR”. But this very thoughtful little programme is also far more than that. Despite its annoyingly-repetitive pop soundtrack (unlike the BBC music and sound folk, as much as I like Corinne Bailey Rae’s excellent second album The Sea I also have other CDs in my house), the show is surprisingly grown-up. We learn that whilst Tointon was relatively fortunate in that she was diagnosed with dyslexia whilst at the early stage of primary school, her dyslexia still profoundly affects her life on many levels. Continue reading

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