Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Italian Shetland

Oh Strictly Come Dancing. My beloved Strictly, what have they done to you? I am cradling your broken form in my arms. Over these past few months, I've watched as the fire in your eyes faded to glowing embers. I've prayed for the day that you would rally.

That day = not today.

We knew the budget cuts were biting. We knew this. We knew that Bruce Forsyth's salary had been cut by 25% and that somewhere in Surrey there is a golf caddy facing up to a chill winter of redundancy. But vraiment, this is Thrifty Come Dancing. This year, more than any other, you would be met by an awful lot of blank faces if you went vox-popping in a shopping centre (vox pops must always happen in a shopping centre, it is the Law Of Vox Pops) with the contestants' photos and held them up in front of the Great British Public. My own Strictly-watching cabal, as media-literate and TV-savvy as they are, could only respond with an indignant WHO? (their caps) to about 40% of the celebrities on The List.

In the past, I may have asserted that the line-up of Strictly is not that important. It is all about the soap opera, and the appropriate shapes simply slot into the gaps in the puzzle. Someone is always Sue-Ellen Ewing. Someone is always Kirby Colby. Now I'm not so sure. God, Strictly, I'm tired. I'm just. So. Tired.

It makes me tired to think of these things:

[Deep sigh] Footballers' Wives actresses Leila Rouass and Zoe Lucker pitched against each other in some clumsily orchestrated Battle Of The Bitches.

[Weary voice, but still getting off on it a little bit] Rav Wilding and Ricky Whittle having their own battle – of the Blandly Buff Physiques; kissing their 'guns'; making pistol hands at each other through the camera lens.

[Definitely not getting off at all on this] Tess Daly leering long and loud over RW & RW (above).

[Unattractive smart-assness] How long is it before Rav or Ricky waggishly incorporates 'the caterpillar' into a dance routine and their partners have to paint on a smile and say 'He really wanted to have an input into the routine so he bought in one of his own moves. WHICH I HATE.'

[Lazy grumble] The tireless stream of police puns pouring forth when Rav is being introduced. I can't even bring myself to think of any.

[Unpleasantly supercilious piece of premature judgement] Ali Bastian is this year's Rachel Stevens. Sweet, highly competent but…

[Whiney carping] If they wanted to avoid another John Sargeant scenario, they should maybe have thought twice about booking Phil Tufnell.

[Tennis-related griping] Martina Hingis is in it. Monica Seles did Dancing With The Stars. She didn't stay in long, but it was properly touching to see her getting excited about putting on ludicrous dresses and attempting to recreate a sense of the Prom, which she had never been to in her school days, since she was probably playing in the final of the US Open, and anyway she had spent about 85% of her life in sportswear. For lots of reasons, Martina Hingis is not Monica Seles.

[Lamely misfiring wordplay] One of the contestants is, like, practically called Jaded.

But wait. Wait. Who is that riding over the Saturday teatime hill to save us? Oh, it's just a child on a Shetland pony. NO IT ISN'T. It's pocket rocket Vincent Simone! And Good Egg (in the Jones Egg Box, at least) Natalie Cassidy. And Vincent's eyebrows!

Look! Just look! He has either spent two thirds of 2009 in a home gym intensively working out those facial muscles, surrounded by inspiring pictures of Roger Moore, with sweat pouring off his face like the end of Airplane! – or he has had some kind of pioneering eyebrowplasty. Either way, he is magnifico.

This blog is not done with Vincent's eyebrows. Not nearly.


Anonymous said...

Sigh (and chortle) of relief. Strictly just got a whole lot better. You should be the new Claudia - how can the Beeb afford her [Louboutins] in these straightened times?

Anonymous said...

You've forgotten to mention the horror of sacking Arlene in favour of pretty and successful(ish) Alesha Dixon. She can't know anything about the waltz or the cha cha cha that wasn't taught to her by Arlene?!? Lx