Yes, I realise this makes me a middle-aged woman – but isn’t Strictly good? The last few years I’ve only caught bits of it because I was usually working Saturday nights so this year is the first time I’ve sat down from the beginning and I’m really impressed with the show as a whole.
I think these reality shows are at their best when they are taking people and developing them and challenging them in an interesting way – it’s one of the many reason I won’t be watching X Factor as it’s more about ridiculing and pointing and laughing at people than genuinely trying to improve talent. Also I’m not the biggest fan of the “Celebrity” led trend in TV we have but to see faces we all know being pushed and taught a real skill it is interesting TV.
The one big thorn in the show was gone tonight – Brucie was off ill. Listen Sir Bruce, I love you and respect your amazing career, but Tess and Claudia are a great partnership and “Winkie” is so naturally funny with the dancers that leaving the two of them as the full-time presenters would make a huge improvement to the show. It’s not an ageist thing to want a younger, less forgetful and competent presenter – rather than one more interested with themselves than the show. Christmas Cracker makers would reject his material. Time to walk away from this one I’m afraid Mr Forsyth.
Anyway back to the dancers and I was amazed by Sophie Ellis Bextor’s Charleston – so much so I actually rewound it to watch it again. That was something else and deserved the high score and standing ovation it received. Even Vanessa Feltz (who I see as a human equivalent of tooth ache) was good tonight. I think being able to dance properly is a much underrated skill these days and I’d love to be able to move like those professionals – even some of the amateur celebs! There is a real pleasure in watching people like Mark Benton, Deborah Meaden and Patrick Robinson improve and learn these new skills.
My two favourites though are “Hairy Biker” Dave who is so positive and determined to enjoy himself that you just cannot not root for him to be there longer – it’d be great for him to be there for several weeks so he can develop the skills even further. The other is my secret crush Suzanna Reid – she is a bit easy on the eye to say the least and she can dance too. She’s a beautiful woman who has a good screen presence – well anyone that can survive Bill Turnbull deserves a medal. Rachel Riley and Abbie Clancy are obviously there to keep the males interested but give me Suzanna any day. Clancy seems to take herself too seriously and Riley just looks awkward on the dance floor so I’m definitely in Team Reid.
I’m not a fan of watching dancing as a show, but because this is about people learning and improving it really pulls you in as a viewer. I know I’m coming late to this whole thing, well ten years late, but there is so much to enjoy about it. Also I have to mention the live band, they are outstanding. To play fifteen new songs each week plus playing for the professional’s dance too is a big challenge. Their professionalism and talent rounds the show off perfectly. You know how good they are when you forget they are there – that is a compliment because it sounds so good you forget it’s live music. Great singers, great musicians.
Looking forward to following the progress of this year’s intake – predictions for this year’s final three would be Ashley from Hollyoaks, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Suzanna. The only reason I’m not including Corrie’s Natalie is that she trained as a dancer in her teens and I’d rather see these ‘non-dancers’ improve further and compete for the trophy.