*pre-emptive hate to whichever lucky cow draws Pasha*
Alex Jones : Now, The One Show is an unknown televisual hinterland for me. Any time I’ve chanced upon it’s seemed a bit like some sort of post-nuclear fallout compilation of clips scraped together from old Pebble Millss and BBC daytime regional-news end-of-broadcast items, as some sort of Light Entertainment Frankenstein designed to distract the UKs survivors from their ails. That boil on your arm looking like it’s developing into a second head, with hair and teeth? Never mind, here’s a feature about 19th century herons presented by Tim Vincent. And to hold all this together, it takes a special kind of presence, and Alex Jones certainly appears to be that. I’m not saying you can hear the wind whistling through her ears or anything, but there’s definitely a faint peep. My favourite part of her website intro is when she declares that her secret special power is being really good at smelling things. This is of course no bar to her being succesful on the show – you don’t need to be particularly smart to be a great dancer. Just look at (*insert name of your least favourite pro here*). And certainly alumni of The One Show have done reasonably well on the show, with Matt Baker coming within a gnat’s chuff, or some other delightful Northern saying, of winning last year, and Christine Bleakley (aka the human stem-cell that Alex Jones was cloned from, a la Dolly The Sheep) somehow managing to beat Jodie Kiss into 5th, not that we talk about that on this blog, no we don’t. Some thing are just too painful to remember. Let’s just make another joke about Lisa Snowdon’s showdance and move on. So anyway, there could be big things in Alex Jones’ future, although I have to admit that I’m hoping all the hinting by Len that she’ll end up with my beloved Pasha was just a load of baloney. Stick her with Vincent instead.
Pre-Series Bookies Prediction : 3rd place
Anita Dobson : I knew a gay at University who could tell you every landlord and landlady of both The Queen Vic and The Roevrs Return and their dates of tenure, right from the beginning of each programme. Some gays are very much like that. I haven’t spoken to him for a while, so I wonder whether the chopping and changing of recent years has left him impotent on that score. I think Wellard was landlord at one point just before he died wasn’t he? Anyway the point is, before said chopping and changing, Angie Watts was the undisputed Queen Of The Vic, pulling pints and breaking up fights and pretending she had cancer for some reason or another. I don’t know, it was very much before my Eastenders time, obviously. I don’t know that she’ll be able to match up to the performance of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth to her Anne Bolyn, Letita “I’M 40 TODAY!” Dean, but she does have a theatrical background, so it’s entirely possible she will turn out to be the Pamela Stevenson of this year’s crop, and not just because her husband will be in the audience every week and Bruce and Len and Tess will all hint heavily that he will be definitely doing the series next year (Clue : no he bloody won’t). What I’m mostly taking away from Anita Dobson’s website tape is her fabulous shock of Lady MacBeth hair, and also the fact that she’s clearly not been in an environment when anyone’s told her to stop talking for a very very very long time. Which can only be a good thing, because Lord knows we all love a tragic old luvvie. In terms of dance partner clearly she needs a Dirty Den to her Tragic Ange, so the answer can only conceivably be Brenda or James. Probably James, as only he has the cultural knowledge to do a dance on the Christmas Special where he serves her divorce papers at the end and calls her “my sweet” (Has To Happen)
Pre-Series Bookies Prediction : 9th place
Chelsee Healey : In stark contrast to Anita Dobson, who rambles on for nearly two minutes in her website video about this and that and what an amazing old ham she is, Chelsee Healey’s is done in a crisp 50 seconds or so, and she clearly has to be torn away from one-word answers like Karen Hardy’s fingernails had to be torn away from the Strictly Mirrorball Trophy in time for Series 5. She does however have quite a spectacular confection welded to her bonce in her head-shot that makes her look like the Cowardly Lion, so it’s swings and roundabouts really. I do wonder how Chelsee Healey might mix with the BBC One Saturday Teatime audience, given that she’s kind of gobby and inarticulate and cheap lipglossy and has a name that ends in a double-e. On the other hand she is part of the cast of Waterloo Road (and I’m glad that Waterloo Road has now reached the pantheon of BBC dramas that’s mined for this show, although they might have wanted to start with…possibly one of the people might have heard of), and as fans of Doctor Who and Sherlock (and Shameless, if there are any of those left) know, it never pays to under-estimate the strength of the Waterloo Road power-voting army, given that it somehow won the NTA for Best British drama this year. Apparently Chelsee plays the school-secretary-cum-teenage-mother who gave birth in the school toilets. Which never happened at my school. I think the most exciting thing that happened in my school toilets was a Pogs tournament. I do hope that, in tribute to Waterloo Road;s latest nonsensical twist, she turns up in Week 5 dressed in a kilt and sporran talking in a strong Weegie accent, and never explains why. And then gets attacked by a member of the PTA driving a JCB. In terms of pros? Let’s say Anton. The culture clash would be hilarious if nothing else.
Pre-Series Bookies Prediction : 6th place
Edwina Currie : OK, just to get it out of the way : what’s grey and smells of Curry? John Major’s penis. Just needed to exorcise that old favourite before we started. Yes, having first ram-raided the political establishment last year with the inclusion of The Widdinator, the producers have returned to the well of musty old Tory baggages and plucked out Eggwina to be the oldest member of the oldest female cast ever. Next year, Margaret Thatcher’s wheeled around in a giant black box like Captain Pike from Star Trek communicating only via beeps. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, remembering just how bright-eyed and optimistic about Widdy’s participation I was, but Edwina’s a) much wittier and b) far more competitive. Whilst Widdy was just happy to turn up and learn the dances (some of them. The ballroom ones. Except the tango. Too rude.), Eggwina’s going to pursue the win with a dead-eyed intensity, which is always good amongst the people who can’t really dance. Which I can’t imagine she can. Of all the contestants this year she’s probably got the most reality tv of all the contestants, having made appearances on Ant N Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Hell’s Kitchen (where Gordon Ramsay made the whole John Major thing even more disturbing to imagine by trying to have us believe imagine the positions they might have done it in), Celebrity Wife Swap and apparently, as per her website interview, a Stars In Their Eyes performance so bad they couldn’t even broadcast it. And they broadcast Carol Vorderman as Cher. I don’t know what it says about us as a nation that an ex Health Minister is the biggest fameho in the bunch, but there we are. In terms of partners, really she has to be put with the most combustable elemnt of all. Brenda and Edwina. A match made in stropping-off heaven.
Pre-Series Bookies Prediction : 12th place
Holly Valance : IMPROPTU SCULLY RANKING : Michelle > Felicity > Joe > Steph > Lyn. And, if we can’t have the spoilt princess of the family I guess we’ll have to have the…other spoilt princess. Yeah, Neighbours gender politics weren’t the great around the turn of the millennium. Anyway, ruining all of my spreadsheets at once, it’s modelSLASHactorSLASHpopstarSLASHadvertstarSLASHbusinessmansarmcandy Holly Valance. What sort of category am I supposed to put her in? I’ve already had to invent a new one just for Nancy Dell’Olio. I’m guessing probably not actress, given that the last film I saw her acting in was one based off a computer game. A computer game noted mostly for the quality of the jiggle in the boobs of its female participants. That had a beach-volleyball based spin-off. Not that Dead Or Alive was a BAD movie you understand. Any film where you get both Eric Roberts AND a supporting cast mostly made up of retired professional wrestlers can’t go entirely wrong. And probably not a pop star either, as sadly her last hit was this, which I thought for the longest time was by Dannii Minogue. And to be honest, I’m still not entirely sure it’s not. After the (amazing, series-defining, timewarping) debacle that was Michelle Williams last year, it’s easy to get drawn into no longer automatically assuming that every pretty young ex pop beeper is likely to be the series ringer, but looking around at the rest of the female cast…who else is it going to be? In terms of partners, really I have to put her with Pasha, because why else would you drag him halfway across the world? For Angie Watts? No fear.
Pre-Series Bookies Prediction : 2nd place
Lulu : Just as the John Major’s genitalia gag had to be gotten out of the way for Edwina, so this has to be flushed out from the loo of Lulu. I feel it’s only marginally less embarrassing for the UK as a democracy. Let’s hope that Lulu doesn’t decide to Superman a ho in the middle of the dancefloor. Or, if she does, that it’s Nancy. Really, can anybody hear the name “Lulu” without hearing Jennifer Saunders in character as Edwina Monsoon bellowing “BLOODY LULU!”? I know I’m supposed to come up with some sort of cod-witty toilet based insulting name for her, but who really can improve on “BLOODY LULU!”? Of the four members of the Buspass Brigade amongst the lady contestants this year, Lulu’s the most obvious ringer, being an experienced pop performer. I mean duh. Did you see her moves on that Let’s Drag Up For Comic Relief video? She was certainly (Soulja Boy) TELLIN’ EM! I am glad we’ve got a more mature/old variety of pop performer than the 30 somethings in the first flush of post-career desperation we normally get, although I am a bit sad that she’s reduced to saying that I might know her because she sang “Relight My Fire”. Because a) she had a whole career before that, including such hit songs as “Shout”, “To Sir With Love” and…erm…”Shout”, b) she didn’t sing it, Take That did, she just popped in at the end to crackle like a haemmoraging jackdaw, and c) it only serves to remind me of how she shagged Jason Orange. Partner wise I’m going to put her with Robin in my fantasy line-up, as I really feel his powers of bringing out the camp in Patsy last year could be replicated with Lulu, making her a gay icon for the new LizaMinnellium.
Pre-Series Bookies Prediction : 7th place
Nancy Dell’Olio : One of the big things that puts X Factor ahead of Strictly in the mind of the casual viewer is the tragic deluded auditions. We might not want to confront it as a culture, but most people like nothing more on a Saturday Night than to sit down and watch some poor factory worker honk their way through Bruno Mars then kick off at Louis Walsh when told they’re not talented. It’s never been my favourite thing, but it’s there. And Strictly’s never really had that. All the comedy contestants have known what they’re there for and, if some of them go off the deep end towards the end and start thinking they’re pioneering a new type of dancing that might not require as much TECHNICAL SKILL but which is JUST AS GOOD as what Scott Maslen or Tom Chambers or Rachel Stevens or Zoe Ball did, then it’s only a little bit depressing. The closest we’ve really got to a true deuldeanoid was Craig Kelly, and he was really too dappy and quiet to have the same impact as, say, Ablisa. But finally, with Nancy Doolallyo, we might just have it. What else can you realistically expect from a woman whose wikipedia page gives her age as “probably 50”? Her website interview is glorious word-salad, endless thoughts looping round one another and never completing themselves, she’s only here because of who she’s shagged, and I eagerly await her waffling on about glamour and poise and the fine arts and La Dolce Vita before indifferently shuffling around in a foxtrot to an acoustic version of “Blue” by Eiffel 65, then refusing to accept criticism and slapping Alesha about the mouth before being eliminated. Partner-wise, sadly, don’t hit me Kartemites, but really she has to go to Artem, just to see if he truly does have the patience of a saint.
Pre-Series Bookies Prediction : 11th place