Tag Archives: Strictly

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 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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Downton Abbey: Maggie may

As the talented Julian (Gosford Park) Fellowes obviously knows well, the British pre WW1 country house, complete with rigid crinolines, even more rigid class hierarchies, housemaids on their knees, hugely complicated sexual/social dynamics, stiff upper lips and Maggie Smith as a Dowager Countess, is a brilliant place to set a drama. Really, what more could a girl want? After I had a log delivery for the new woodburner, I snuggled down on the sofa and capitulated to the arrival of Autumn, largely thanks to Downton Abbey, a bloody marvellous new ITV drama. I had a seasonal televisual false start of good post-summer viewing with Strictly pretending to begin, then faltering for several weeks (bad move BBC, you pissed me off with that, dangling the promise of a dancing Ann Widdicombe then ripping it out of my grasp) and I’m no longer loyal. ITV is my new best telly friend. But all is well. Downtown Abbey looks set to be terrific and Strictly is on Saturdays anyway, so if they beg for my viewing, I may patronise them if I’m not too busy looking at my woodburner crackling away merrily.

When British period drama has several famous faces on the go, it can go horribly wrong (anything Poirot), but Fellowes avoids all that somehow. I guess it’s down to good writing and direction, but you get pulled right into the story from the get-go. Male primogeniture, deaths of heirs on Titanic, evil plotting by servants and toffs alike. I really think I’m going to enjoy this.

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Strictly: The hobbit pips the hare to the post

Was that a great surprise? Cute plucky little Chris Hollins and perky pretty Ola Jordan winning the public vote to win the 2009 Strictly Come Dancing? No, of course it wasn’t. They haven’t been in a single dance-off for the whole series. The voting public adore short, happy people. Tall, better looking, confident and naturally more talented people will never be that popular. It’s not about who dances best, which is fine, except the programme has consistently fudged what the criteria is for winning.

Although in fairness, Chris did dance very well in all four of his dances last night. He and Ola did better than Ricky and Natalie in the side-by-side Lindy-hop. Perhaps benefiting from being closer to the ground in a bouncy, hoppy number since ‘bouncy and hoppy’ is what epitomises Chris and Ola. And boy have they practised over the months. Hundreds of hours of hard slog. For that reason, I’m pleased that they won. Without a shadow of a doubt, Chris has improved vastly more than Ricky because he really wasn’t great when he started. Not that Ricky hasn’t improved too, he has, but the fool made it look too easy, and that didn’t endear him to people. Expert after expert tried to tell us how extraordinary his technical achievement has been. ‘Amazing musicality, great finish’. Ricky’s hands-free spinning shoulder lift last night (I’m not using the correct technical term obviously) was ‘incredible’, said Bruno. ‘Takes years to learn’. He might as well have been speaking Finnish. The pain never showed, Ricky was too cool for school. And Natalie didn’t help by being long, lithe, blonde and wearing very little. At one point last night she seemed to be dancing in a swimming costume, inexplicably. I think, deep down, we resent people for being that damn good. Why would we want to reward that?

People saw nice looking but ordinary Chris dancing week after week with pretty Ola and thought ‘I could do that!’ (although I have noticed how much leaner and fitter he has become over the weeks). Ola is married to someone we know and quite like (who sports a silly haircut so is never too cool for any school). Chris has a steady girlfriend we hardly ever see and lives with his mum and dad. He and Ola are sweet but very unsexual, and their sincerely affectionate friendship is in itself fascinating. In what other forum could two heterosexual people kiss, cuddle and become so incredibly intimate and yet we readily believe they are not having sex? I did wonder if Ali and Brian (and Ricky and Natalie?) had to lose for being too bloody obviously happy together on and off screen. Their intimacy beyond the dances may have made viewers feel excluded.

Anyhoo. What I’d like the programme makers to do now is sit down with the judges and decide clearly what the criteria is for winning the glitter ball trophy. If it’s entertainment, fine. Improvement over time? Also fine. Just make sure the way it is judged allows that to happen. Then people will know what they are spending their money on for those phone votes.

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