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Strictly Come Dancing (1) – Carry On Camping

Wow!

Strictly Come Dancing (1) – Carry On Camping

My schadenfreude honed to a fine edge from 14 weeks of The Apprentice, I looked forward to exploring its cutting tendencies on the usual mixed bag of Strictly celebrities. It is a pain in the butt therefore when the people you don’t like, or don’t think you like, do well and vice versa. Frustrated schadenfreude turns inwards.

To whit: the fieriest, most passionate (though not for my money the best) dancer, Kristina plugged into Jason Donovan’s hard-working professionalism to produce the best performance of the night; Chelsee’s surprisingly graceful waltz went unbarracked; and the ignoble Savage looking like a hairy shark, posed his way through a char char char a liverish Craig perfectly described as ‘too Abercrombie and Fitch darling’.

I’d like to have been a fly on the wall when Nancy Oil confronted the evil genius in the Costume Department who decreed she should dance with a feathery Boa so long and wilfully recalcitrant one wondered whether they’d left the boa in it. Wrong song: should have been Tangled Up In Blue. One could almost hear Anton Du Berk mutter “3 months of Ann bloody Widdecombe – and now this?” A Strictly first though: the prop got better marks than the dancers.

There were some mysterious events: for instance why a not-half-bad Rory Bremner decided to essay a 3 minute wafty waltz with a witless Tony Blair grin on his face. I know he couldn’t do anything about the witless, but why do it at all? Edwina Currie, frustrated at being accessorised with a chandelier round her neck atop the frumpiest dress of the night, vouchsafed the nation with a gratuitous knicker-flash as unnecessary as it was unwanted. Watch out Vinci – this predatory politico may be after your fleckles. For her mantelpiece.

Harry Judd is a rarity, a rockstar with an appealing diffidence which he overcame to look like a contender. Alex invented a new bubble dance: trying to be bubbly while dancing. Forgiven simply because it’s hard to get noticed in the glare of James Jordan’s ego.

You get two kinds of boxers on Strictly: the kind the female dancers want to eat; and the gentle giants they’d take home to mum (for mum to eat). Audley is definitely in the latter category – with a touch of grace. And he has more to overcome – like size 17 feet for instance. The boxer thing does make one wonder how Muhammad Ali would have fared on Strictly. Now there was a mover.

Dan Lobb, looking like two blokes, one on the other’s shoulders, was blokily elegant; and Anita Dobson used her professional nous and natural fragility to good effect in an admired waltz. Jury’s out till she char char chars, but I bet her Rumba works. If you know what I mean. I started off knowing nothing about Holly and now know even less: except that she moves well, seems very controlled and professional and looks the part. Many celebs have gone onStrictly resolving to present only a public face but one of its fascinations is that the cumulative effect of the peer pressure around them and the stress of performing outside their usual comfort zones, always breaks them down in the end. Look forward to finding out what Holly’s like therefore.

The pairing of Lulu and Brendan must have been decided by the aforementioned devil in the costume department. Brendan is not so much passive-aggressive as passive-macho. One wonders whether he has troubled his trim little ar*e to find anything out about the tough, very professional little cookie he’s dealing with. Hell will freeze over before Lulu will respond to being slung over his neck like a sack of potatoes. The true professionals know their job is to bring the best out in their celeb not to look good themselves: brawny Bren doesn’t seem to have worked that out yet.

If Strictly is likened to a sumptuous, glitzy multi-course meal, then every week the ultimate, over sweet, over-creamy, over-sugared dessert will be Roly Poly Russell. In one of Strictly’s (in)famously sublime moments of high kitsch, our camp commander emerged from a glittery clam shell, bubbling with insouciant glee, clad in white pyjamas and sparkly mascara. This pearly queen, radiating bonfemmie looked on the beat and surprisingly fluid in movement as he was made to look even better by for me, best dancer on the show, the extraordinary Flavia Cacace. (Give me a moment dear reader while my heartbeat settles).

So we’re off and it looks like being fun. Maybe we should run a book. First faller next week? My money’s on Nancy Oil. Football fans are profoundly unforgiving.