News: Half time on Strictly

Tuesday 18 November 2014 by Vikki Jane Vile

Judy Murray & Anton Du Beke Photographer: Guy Levy, courtesy BBC.

Blackpool week on BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing means only one thing, writes our all things Strictly obsessed contributor Vikki Jane Vile. Yes, through all that over marking, general excitability and those bizarre concepts (professional Iveta Lukosuite opening the show by dancing with her eight year old self, whilst belting out ABBA’s greatest hits, anyone?), ladies and gentlemen we have finally waltzed to the halfway point.

This series so far has all seemed a little too giddy for my taste. There’s been Movie Week, Halloween Week, Blackpool, Guest Judges, Guest Presenters and 10s flung around like sweets. I fear I’m getting old but it’s all left me craving a nice sedate Foxtrot danced to a bit of Frank Sinatra with no props met by polite applause. So if you haven’t yet dipped your toe into Strictly’s sequinned waters this season, here is what you’ve missed so far:

The Good:
Frankie Bridge and Pixie Lott going from strength to strength. Highlights include Frankie’s Wicked inspired Tango (A Tango to Defying Gravity … don’t get me started) and Pixie’s wartime Foxtrot.
Of course, every year there is ‘a journey’ and this year’s ‘rollercoaster’ comes curtesy of Mark Wright, who, after a rather hopeless start is now hot on the heels of the pop starlets, the highlight coming in the form of his energetic Quickstep.

The Bad:
A few years ago Dirty Dancing’s Jennifer Grey filled a guest judge slot and everyone agreed at the time that no one could have done any worse. If only we’d known the horror that Donny Osmond would inflict on us all for Movie Week. Here was a man who gave Scott Mills a 7, began every sentence with “When I won Dancing with the Stars … “ and awarded Frankie Bridge the first 10 of the series. This was not in the script. When Frankie earned a real 10 several weeks later, this was referred to as the first “proper” 10. Burn, Donny, burn.

The Ugly:
The weekend signalled the departure of the last remaining comedy act in the form of Judy Murray, a shame in a competition that’s sadly lacking in contestants who can laugh at themselves. Judy was delightfully self-deprecating and didn’t take criticism to heart. She is now added to the list of our dearly departed that now including DJ Scott Mills, Tim Wonnacott and Thom Evans, who with his chiselled good looks, buff body and hint of a showmance with his partner looked like a certainty for the final.

Other moments of interest:
Zoe [Ball] ably standing in for a much missed Claudia [Winkleman], both ladies highlighting the ineptitude of Tess [Daly], her ill-fitting frocks and robotic anchoring. Time for a switch up please, BBC. Iveta’s departing speech where she described her relationship with Thom as ‘butter to her heart’. Give the girl her own show. Len Goodman dropping an f-bomb (allegedly) and Middle England (apparently) choking on its toasted cashews.

So there we have it, what can we expect from the next six weeks? With the surely imminent departure of Casualty’s Sunetra Sarker and Wildlife expert Steve Backshall, the real competition will start. Caroline Flack and Simon Webbe will need to rally some public support having survived appearances in the bottom two. Clearly there’s only so much horrifically wooden acting the public can take from Caroline’s partner Pasha and Kristina manically wrapping her thighs around Simon like a woman possessed. Family entertainment! Frankie, Pixie and Mark seem like safe bets for the final and if I had to call it I’d back Frankie for the glitterball.

Catch up on all the Strictly action on the BBC iplayer and with Vikki Jane on Twitter where she’ll almost certainly be active every Saturday evening in the Strictly season!

Photo: Judy Murray & Anton Du Beke bow out, 16 November 2014. Guy Levy, courtesy BBC

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