Strictly Come Dancing 3/4: 25th-26th September
A weekend of small pleasures on Strictly: Alesha’s unpompous likeability proceeds neck and neck with the bland inanity of her judicial comments such as – “I like the way you move across the floor”; “you really tried, I commend you for trying hard”; “that really was a beautiful choice of song”, and her contribution to the patronising choral treacle being poured over Marianne Faithful look-alike Jo Wood “you’re so sweet, so adorable, you have a great attitude”. At times one wonders whether Alesha might be a David Coleman love-child. For those of you not chronologically talented like me, Coleman was the sports commentator of his generation given to Dixonian tautologies like “If he could only have swum a little faster – he might have won.” Come to think of it the spirit of Coleman haunts Strictly with many of ‘prudy’ goody-goody Lenny G’s (it’s the dancin’ bro’ innit?) unintentionally filthy innuendoes recalling the Coleman classic on unbeatable Cuban quarter-miler Aberto Juanterena in an Olympic race: “so Juanterena opens up his legs and shows us his class.” Ah me: sports commentaries, like ‘fings, ain’t what they used to be.
I’ll spare Alesha any personal opprobrium for “Ricky you look great” with eyes flashing like a tigress in heat, as this sentiment took on the logical status of a feminine necessary truth along with the universal adorability of the XY chromosomally endowed Mr. Johnny Depp to the XX members of the cosmos. Bruno definitively topped this: obviously overcome with what a friend of mind used to euphemistically call a ‘disturbance’ in the bat-on-lap area of his anatomy, following a steamy rumba from Ricky ‘Jet’ Whittle and much enamoured, and I mean enamoured, partner Natalie Lowe, Bruno “felt something growing.” This kind of comment, given the title of the programme, could drive Strictly way past the 9 o’clock watershed when only we over 20-year-old children could watch. Who said “and the rest?”
If what one judge called the chemistry between Ricky and Nats continues to precipitate at the current rate I have a feeling a show dance to and with ‘Lowe is in the Air’ looms. And Strictly fan Cilla Black will be shopping for hats again.
The Jo Wood phenomenon is intriguing. Not since Mrs Phil Collins reportedly got dumped by fax, have the fair-play British people coagulated so totally at their ‘there, there’ best behind the only ‘entrepreneur’ Strictly has ever acknowledged. This outpouring of sentiment is also definitively British. An exceptionally rich, apparently not especially talented but still attractive, once beautiful woman, has been dumped by her rock-faced rock hubby for a newer rock-chick model. Situation normal – among the rocking rich. I can’t help feeling that the real reason this has attracted so much attention, generated so much oleaginous sympathy among the Strictly crew is that Ronnie’s new bit of fluff is so young. Nothing we Brits like better than a bit of prurient, slightly jealous, outrage.
Seems to me Jo, who appears to be likeable in a slightly spaced out, trippy kind of way, is doing ok. To be a lively woman who has escaped the demands of being married to a guy about as animated as a Mount Rushmore President; who never has to work again; has a great extended family all around totally supporting her, a group now swollen by about 5 million Strictly viewers, doesn’t really need the cotton-woolling everyone on the Strictly gang is lumbering her with. And if as I suspect, there’s a strong dose of ‘own-back’ in her appearance on the show – good for you girl, right-on Jo. But can we please stop treating this I suspect pretty feisty, no pushover, mature woman like Bambi on the ice after his Mum got shot? Even when Cruella-da-Revel claims she dances like Bambi…on ice.
Jo has been taken to the people’s hearts. She may find like many before her, not least John Sargent, that it can be a pretty uncomfortable place to be. The tap of British sentimentality can often be switched off as fast and as brutally as any errant rock husband can manage. That said: Brendan was right – Craig’s remark was rude. But that’s a bit like being surprised that a Baboon’s bum is pink.
Elsewhere on Planet Strictly: Richard, definitely not ‘Dicky’, Dunwoody has galloped off in to the sunset; far too normal and straightforwardly likable ever to have felt at home on the pink planet even if he didn’t have strabismic (dictionary test) feet. If Richard leaves can Craig be far behind? Probably not. Especially as he appears to have been afflicted with this year’s Strictly epidemic: ‘Rickyitts’ (Groves not Whittle) – the involuntary opening and closing of the mouth during strenuous, especially passionate moments in dances. This new disease appears to be spreading even into the professional dancers. I sincerely hope it does not take on the pandemic awfulness of tennis ‘gruntitis’ which now makes it impossible for me to watch most women and even some men tennis players. It would be better for tennis if a release of internal pressure is absolutely essential, they could contrive to expel it at the other end – then shocked television networks would have to edit out the offending sound.
If the ‘Jet’ “cool boy – stay cool boy” Whittle is the one to beat, Zoe Lucker shows a lot of promise and Bruno’s love that dares speak its name for Laila is not misplaced – she also looks the part. Jo can do ‘raunchy’ and this along with her public sympathy might just overcome Len’s spinsterish horror at the idea that passion and sexuality expressed in a dance might even on occasion be a precursor to actual sex and passion. ‘Tuffers’, the very nickname tells you both why he won’t win and will never bring off Latin dances, still flatters to deceive; while if Anton can stop trying to upstage his dad Brucie and bring out the untapped best in Laila, we might have some competition for the hunk from Hollyoaks.
The circus rolls on to what looks like a marathon next week. Try to manage your addiction dear reader – don’t OD on Winky Winkleman in the meantime. And I do hope I haven’t left you with an image of fragrant, delightful, if a tad muscular, lady tennis-players that you could have done without.
Till the next time we say – would you like to dance?
Filed under: Television