Sunday, 30 November 2008

The Bleakley Midwinter

I feel sad that Christine has been ejected from Strictly Come Dancing. Her Latin dancing was flaccid, it's true, but she seems like a genuinely nice person.

However, as sweet, committed and gracious as she was, there were stronger forces working against Christine this week. 

1) The acting coach. Strictly afficionados know that when this particular joker is played, a dramatic transformation can be expected from any previously wooden contestant. It worked an actual, true, pre-Christmas miracle for Gethin Jones last year, to the extent where I found myself squealing out loud to no one but myself when he started doing this. Poor old Christine must have felt that finally, finally she could be teetering on the brink of a breakthrough when the producers told her, 'We've got an actress in who's really going to help you invoke the drama, passion and aggression of the tango,' only to feel her anticipation sliding back down into her shoes when the studio door opened and Felicity Kendal walked in. She's a fine actress, of course, who could teach you lots of valuable things about working with a headscarf or how to convince when affectionately scolding your lovably eccentric partner, but this particular lesson may not have seen the perfect meeting of task and tutor. Lady C, whom I watched the show with, quite correctly remarked that this represented a gross missed opportunity to welcome Stephanie Beacham back after her criminally truncated stint on the last series. At the very least, they could have splashed out on Kate O'Mara. 

2) The 'look'. Christine Bleakley is a natural beauty. Who could argue with that? Except, perhaps, the BBC's hair and make-up department who had apparently flicked through their Big Book Of Perversely Unnecessary Makeovers and decided to give her 'the Sarah Brightman'. 

3) The 'pep talk'. I'm honestly surprised Christine had any strength at all to contest the dance-off, having been patronised to within an inch of her life by Tess Daly, who thought it was appropriate to communicate with Christine, her undoubted intellectual superior, in the way an over-eager care worker might encourage a frail but good-natured nonagenarian in a care home. 'Now Christine, my little darling, we love that smile. Don't ever stop smiling.'  I'm not even making that up. It's a direct quote. 

Perhaps they would like to give Tess's job to Lisa Snowdon next year. Just an idea. But a GREAT ONE.

So really, Christine never had a chance. Still, I loved her at the last for breaking into a spot of impromptu Riverdancing during her farewell dance with Matthew. This ritual normally starts as a kind of school-disco slow-dance, and breaks into a slightly fumbled series of lifts before the other contestants can bear the awkwardness no longer and swarm around the ejected pair. I would have liked to see more of Christine and Matthew larking about like two drunken bridesmaids at a wedding reception. Ironically, I can't help feeling that if Christine had shown some of that spark and abandon during the cut and thrust of the competition, she might be dancing next week. 

1 comment:

Stuart said...

"At the very least, they could have splashed out on Kate O'Mara."

Really, Miss Jones, I thought you were above such smut...