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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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Celebrity Restaurant in My Living Room: Feltz v Costa

It was only a matter of time before the Restaurant in My Living Room format wheeled out a celebrity version. For charidee, of course.

Talk radio queen Vanessa Feltz and her fiance Ben Ofoedu pitched their culinary and hosting skills against Antony Costa from Blue (as he’ll always be known) and his mum. Each couple would open their home to around 30 diners for one evening only, and attempt to earn the most money.

Vanessa’s house is absolutely gorgeous, a cute mock-Gothic oddity nestling in “leafy” St Johns Wood. The perfect setting for Vanessa’s family-cooking-themed night. The Costas, meanwhile, had a less spectacular home, but some spectacularly nice friends and relatives who all pitched in with providing components for the meze Antony was serving on his Greek-themed night. An auntie made several dishes, a friend of Ant’s dad turned up with wine.

There weren’t any real disasters: Vanessa’s soup was a bit cold, some of Antony’s guests didn’t get their main course very speedily. Possibly the only hide-behind-the-cushion moment came when Ben entertained the diners with a rendition of ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ dedicated to Vanessa. Meanwhile, Antony was dedicating ‘Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone’ to the late Jade Goody. As the event was raising money for cervical cancer charity Jo’s Trust, this was both apt and poignant (or “slightly miserable,” according to PLA Jr). And he’s a much better singer than Ben.

However, it wasn’t the singing that determined the winner. It wasn’t even the cooking. It was the generosity of the guests, and Vanessa’s proved to have the deeper pockets (she had Esther Rantzen on her team, for heaven’s sake) as she won.

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