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BBC Strictly Come Dancing – The End of Audley


Audley Harrison


BBC  Strictly Come Dancing – The End of Audley

Call the Health and Safety Exec. We need a risk assessment. Otherwise Russell is in danger of being the first human being to spontaneously combust on live TV if he keeps getting through on Strictly. Laggy Len (Jet that is) in one of his better prepared off-the-cuff-remarks, put it well: “You are what you are; I am what I am; and that was what that was.”
Comedian Micky Flanagan on the Graham Norton Show doing his ‘out’ routine – “You can go out, be out, get found out. I’m going out but I’m not going out out.” Well it’s pretty clear that if anyone is out out it is our Russell. And his enthusiasm has already made him a national treasure. This week’s vaudevillian American Smooth proved yet again that when it comes to nippy feet and a unique limp-wristed line Russell is out and out the best in show.

However I think Russ’s finest hour is yet to come. Here surely is a Paggliacci to die for. With a body made for a clown’s suit and a cherubic, happy face with more than a hint of inner sadness and pathos, there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house.

The Cha Cha Cha finally brought the Audley House down. This was inevitable and further proves one of the Strictly lessons: sportsmen like boxers and swimmers whose sports are all upper-body dominant, struggle with dancing. But this immensely likeable guy I felt got less than his due this week when he actual let some of his upper-body coordination reach his hips and legs. Graciously hoping he went rather than the much better dancer Anita, Audley left with a reputation justifiably enhanced.

Whether it was a question of amnesia or just such a long time ago, Len sat unmoved through one of the sexiest Rumba’s of this or any night from Harry and Aliona and perhaps technically one of the most accomplished dances by any male celebrity ever on the show.  Chelsee continues to blossom and reveal a natural talent which she, charmingly, appears to be the only person not to see.  Alex’s jive was a perfect match of personality and dance, spoilt only according to Cruella de Craig, by floppy feet. Anita proves the other Strictly truism – that acting experience can go a long way to compensating for modest dancing skill. I do wish though that the judges were banned from using the words ‘sixty-two’. Jason appears to be taking himself a touch too seriously which is not the same as being professional. Relax man – chill a bit, you’ll be better.

Holly’s gone back to detached professionalism but could do no wrong this week having switched from Artem to Brendan because of Artem’s back injury. The new pairing did OK which is good because Brendan appears to spend much of the time when not dancing acting the fool and standing on presenter’s lines. Have a care Kiwi dear, the last bloke who stood on one of SirBee’s lines now walks with a limp. And don’t even ask – a limp what? Under the tutelage of one of the best choreographers and most experienced Pro’s on the show in Ola, Robbie is adding a bit of style to instinctively fast feet and a naturally balanced posture.

Sunday’s show had one moment of high drama – and I don’t mean Audley’s departure. This was Kristina and Robin in the ugliest, most ungraceful dance in the Strictly canon, which I believe is called a ‘Showdance.’ Bizarrely danced to a rather nice song Jar of Hearts by impressive newcomer Christina Perri, the fieriest woman dancer on the show was hauled about by the biggest bloke. The Show Dance is sort of a cross between Smithfield carcass-humping and Russian gymnast floor exercises. With her usual impeccable timing and impossible speed, Kristina at times spun so far and so fast that with the wrong pair of shoes she would have drilled a hole through the floor and made a surprise appearance on White City Underground platform. Then a little rest to stop her head spinning while Robin demonstrated a pretty impressive clean and snatch followed by a nifty Bench Press with the not inconsiderable Kristina made to look as light as a feather. Next came more ultra-high speed spinning this time recalling Tony Hancock’s RAF Pilot “don’t bother to open the hanger doors – I’ll go out through the fanlight.” With two high risk, highly unorthodox exits thus threatened, Kristina hurtled across the floor gymnast-style to fly through the air into Robin’s thankfully alert arms. One fraction of a second’s inattention at this point by her beefy partner and the ravishing Russian would have flown through the window into Wood Lane High Street.

Thankfully this somewhat grotesque dance came to a more sedate and conventional ending to stunned applause and a somewhat bemused Christina Perri wondering how her catchy little ditty had inspired such a frantic display of manic athleticism.

The other dances of the evening were more conventional, however the kitschy, singalong playing of Andre Rieu, musically a sort of Octogenarian Richard Clayderman with a fiddle made one forgive the excesses of the Show Dance.

So, banished to Wembley next week, by a yellow bear with a spotty eye-patch, we contemplate what whirling wonders our intrepid team may unveil. Certainly we’ve reached that annual Strictly watershed where the contradictions between entertainment and dancing ability begin to unsettle the sentimental spirit of the British public.

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