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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A Strictly Come Dancing travesty prepares to unfold

I have been very restrained up to now and not mentioned Strictly Come Dancing, or The Apprentice ("what's that?") once.

But now that the glitter has settled on SCD, and we know who's good and who we like and don't like, I couldn't resist adding my two'pennorth.

Strictly Come Dancing, for the benefit of my US chums, is the TV show that led to what you call "Dancing with the Stars." The UK version includes two of the judges who grace your show, Len and Bruno, plus we have the acerbic Craig Revel-Horwood - "in three words, my darling, OMG" - and the foolish former contestant and Muttley impersonator Alesha Dixon - "you was brilliant."

This year the BBC changed the rules and the public decides who goes out each week. You will remember that previously there was a dance-off between the bottom two, and then the judges decided. The hapless John Sergeant managed to survive for quite a while with the public keeping him safe, but eventually quit when he realised there was a chance he might end up in the final.

This year the judges have no decision-making power, and so I am convinced that Ann Widdecombe, the Tory MP, will make, and possibly win, the final.

I don't deny that it is very entertaining seeing the routine that Anton Du Beke creates each week. Highlights have included Ann being lowered to the floor in a harness like a gigantic flapping Dumbo, and on Saturday, in a memorable paso doble, being hurled to the floor and then bouncing  like a scene from The Dam Buster, followed by Anton swinging her around like a sack of potatoes (pictured.)

It is, as Len said on It Takes Two, rather like a motorway crash when you're on the other side of the road but you can't help looking.

I'm sure the BBC changed the rules to encourage more votes to make more money. Many people are obviously keen to keep Ann in, and unlike John Sergeant, she doesn't seem abashed about not being very good.

But we need to remind ourselves this is a dance competition, and there are contestants who are fabulously good, and amaze us with their stunning routines each week. I don't think it will be fair if Widdecombe wins at the expense of Scott Maslen, Jimi Mistry, Pamela Stephenson or Matt Baker, all outstanding in my view. And bravo to Pamela for showing that women over the age of 60 can still be vibrant, sexy and fabulous.


Chris said...

Rather than people stressing themselves out over wether Gamu can sing better than Cher, or Ann can slide better than Scott can dance, just turn off from big brother, SCD, Xfactor, celebrity in a jungle thing, and any other reality tv show tosh. The world will be a better place without it. Surely after 10 years of this drivel it's run its course?!

Lynne said...

Bravo and well said..

What is worrying though is that Len made it quite clear on the chuck-one-off show on Sunday that it was an ENTERTAINMENT show, not a dancing show.

I think he was scripted in that, or at least briefed, to slap down the real dance fans. If Ann does go right through it will mean that each week from now a dancer who is not only better on the dance floor but is working much harder, will go out just to make the numbers.

I find the year on year dumbing down of something perfectly entertaining in its original format nothing short of heinous.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear Scott is still hanging in there. He's excellent.

Jaye said...

The show has simply reverted to how it used to be - the dance off only came in in series 5. It is an entertainment show - there's nothing at stake, unlike on XFactor.

SCD lost viewers because the dance off prevented them from choosing who won - had it not been for a cock up on the numbers front in series 6, the final would have been between the two least popular dancers out of the final 6!

John Sargent wouldn't have got through and neither will Ann Widdecombe. Series 1 was thought to be a one off, series 2-5 had shocks, but the right people made it to the semi final.

Dance purists had their shot with the original Come Dancing - it got shelved because of lack of viewers. The vast majority of viewers want to be entertained on a Saturday night and if Ann floats their boat, then so be it. Having said that, now SCD has got the country dancing, they could probably air a purist show and gain a decent audience on BBC2 :)

Maggie May said...

I do know exactly what you mean. Some of the dancers are very clever. However, I don't think it pays to take it too seriously.
In the beginning I gott annoyed that the BBC choose people that are obviously meant to be the clowns and who really don't stand a chance as regards being competent dancers. They stand out from the rest. This is what annoys me the most.
It is a compulsive show, though & I can't help but urge Ann on because she shows great pluck against all the odds.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Anonymous said...

SCD is one of the most entertaining things on TV - I have watched it faithfully from the start and it's got better and better in my view - b ut this 'public decides' format lacks punch and puts the judges in a no-win situation - who cares what they say any more? Even the usually gobby Brendan has hardly made any retorts to them this series - it's not right. I don't think Ann will go much further - though did hear the odds on her winning have been reduced today from 100-1 to 9-1. The bookies are clearly not so sure!!!