News: Dashing Sergeant

Thursday 20 November 2008

“There was a real danger I could win the show. Even for me that would be a joke too far.”
said political broadcaster John Sergeant as he left BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing yesterday.

For nine weeks 64 year old John Sergeant got consistently low scores and increasingly cutting comments (“Dads Army does the tango” ) from the judges of BBC1’s Saturday night flagship programme Strictly Come Dancing – but each week the public, who’s telephone votes made up 50% of the final score, saved him from the ‘dance off’ required of the two lowest scoring couples and therefore kept him in the competition.

Not so very different from the second series of Strictly, when Julian Clary, also very far from the judges favourite, made it all the way to the final, but John Sergeant has attracted some heavy weight attention – including a leader comment in the Times and support from Labour peer Peter Mandelson. “John Sergeant should not bow out. He has become the people’s John Travolta and he should be a fighter, not a quitter.”

Making his announcement yesterday at a press conference when Jeremy Paxman asked him ‘if he were a man or a mouse’ he said: “We had fun dancing, and dancing is a wonderfully enjoyable thing, but if the joke wears thin – if people begin to take things very seriously, and if people are getting so wound up that it is very difficult to carry on the joke – then it is time to go.”

Sergeant will dance one last time with partner Kristina Rihanoff on Saturday’s show, possibly to the song Murder on the Dance Floor. Meanwhile check out one of John’s Strictly highlights, his version of the cha cha cha

BBC2’s Newsnight report

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