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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 Come Dancing: Comfort And Joy

Well, hullo. I really didn’t expect to be back here after last time. Me and Strictly were finished. The love had died, it was trying too hard and I discovered a new Saturday Night Chippy (The Blue Dolphin in Hastings, in case you’re interested – half-price gherkins if you mention PLA. Probably)

Anyway, thanks to The Quirks of Fate*(*The Blogging Rota) here I am for The Final! So, Strictly, can you win my love back? You feelin’ lucky?

Following the handy rundown of previous weeks and their themes – Broadway = Good, Halloween = Bad, Wembley = Ugly and Movies = Yawn – we now find ourselves at The Final in BLACKPOOL! It’s just like Old BLACKPOOL Times! After the Wembley Dancing Disaster 2011 (for all you Bee Gees fans out there),Blackpool actually works brilliantly for the final. It’s exciting, atmospheric, spacious yet doesn’t have that Bloody Awful Echo (…Bloody Awful Echo) (Sorry).

I Saw Three Chariots Come Strutting By

And the Opening Number. Oh My God. The dancers come out dressed as Gladiators to LIVING ON A PRAYER. Despite the fact that Artem really does still look far too nice to leave anybody off his Christmas Card list never mind kill them, they do damn well. And just when you think it can’t get any better: a) there is That Key Change (still The Greatest Moment In Rock in my opinion) and b) At the key change the finalists come in on giant foam Chariots! Bonus points to Chelsee Healey for belting the song out like she’s on a Hen Night. It’s camp, hysterical, entirely unnecessary and possibly the best thing I’ve seen on telly all year (take that, jumper-toting Swedish lady!).  Continue reading

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Strictly: Time to talk about the norks

It’s time for this blog to readdress the balance of discussion. No socio-political analysis this week. Time to talk about the norks. And the outfits.

This week is Movie Night! We can tell this because the dancers come out dressed up in immediately obvious outfits. Harry is Clint Eastwood. Robbie and Ola are The Blues Brothers. Jason and Kristina are Bonnie and Clyde; James and Alex are doing James Bond. First we get a bit of jiving to Saturday Night at the Movies by the professionals, which is the only time we get to see Flavia and her beautiful cheekbones. We need more of Flavia and less of Vincent’s eyebrows. In fact, none at all of Vincent’s eyebrows.

Bruce’s intros are particularly dreadful and he fluffs his first lines. When will the BBC learn that the novelty value of having an old duffer in his eighties shuffling around on stage and mumbling utter rubbish has gone? They’ve got Tess right this week though – lovely culotte jumpsuit (MaxMara), red lips, Rita Hayworth waterfall hair. It’s always such a relief when they’ve remembered to give her a supportive undergarment and I don’t have to spend the Tess’s Nest bits averting my eyes as her boobs slowly descend waistwards.

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Strictly: Back where it belongs.

Russell Grant fired from Wembley

I’m going to sound a bit of a grump, I know, and I hate to spoil the atmosphere and all that, but last week’s Strictly was, I thought, the worst I’d ever seen. Wembley Arena was a rubbish venue for the average TV viewer. It might have been enjoyable for those actually there, which is why the dancers and Brucie seemed genuinely so excited about it all, but sitting at home, it just looked and sounded completely wrong. I haven’t spoken to anyone this week who thought it worked well at Wembley. Anyway, the long and short of it is I was glad to see things back in the studio this week.

They seemed to give the show an X-Factor style intro, with Tess giving the stats from last week’s show, and recounting the celebs meeting the Doochess of Cornwall. This week was a two-dance week, with the couples performing a ‘swingathon’ as well as the usual ballroom or latin effort. I always find the thought of a swingathon mildly disturbing, with images of a 70s style keys-on–the-table party flitting through my mind, but then we do live in Crowborough where that sort of thing happened all the time, so I’m told. (Note to self – remove the Pampas grass from the front garden).  Continue reading

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