Sadly the French media did not have much on the Launch Show, but I did detect people slagging off my Pasha from across the Channel…
Hello! Here I am, moderately tanned (only on one side of my face), very aware that my GCSE French has now pretty much just devolved down to only nouns, trying to forget just how much better continental ice-creams (and bread, and fish, and waiters) are than ours, and ready to crack my knuckles and begin on a new series of Strictly. I have had in fact only one pre-series dream this year, which suggests that either my mental health is getting better, or the line-up this year isn’t the most inspiring. (Said dream involved all the pros doing a jazz based routine to “Man Down” by Rihanna, as choreographed by Mandy Moore. Kirstina’s hair was fluffed out to Hulk Hogan volumes, and for some reason Tina O’Brien had been given another chance TO SHINE.)
We open with this shot :
which really bodes well. I am taking bets on whether they’ve cropped off a “Not the” from the beginning or a “for the manufacturers of Tenalady” from the end. (BECAUSE ALL THE WOMEN ARE REALLY OLD, GEDDIT?) Anyway, this lie is followed up by lots of really really fast jump shots of newspaper articles that have Jason Donovan in them overlaid with a load of BBC presenters saying “BEST STRICTLY EVER IT IS POSSIBLY, MAYBE…ERM…THEY’VE GOT EDWINA CURRIE ON!”. The annual bombardment of our senses to convince us that everything is AMAZING is officially on. This will no doubt culminate in Bloody Lulu getting a 40 for a week 7 foxtrot definitely because it is the most beautiful dance the show has ever seen, not at all because she’s not getting the votes to stay in.
This re-education, where Dermot O’Leary’s is spliced into madness, saying that Simon Cowell is a big doo-doo head and he wishes he could be Tess, is followed by red carpet shots of all the celebs arriving at the dead hollow shell of Television Centre. And speaking of dead hollow shells :
here’s Bruce! I think he’s actually technically dead in this picture. I think Bruce has in fact made a deal with the devil, where he is clinically dead for alternating seconds, and therefore he can live twice as long as the rest of us mortals. It would explain a lot. Although not that woman losing control of her ovaries over him in the background. Oooh look
Len’s here as well. That’s him imagining how big Audley Harrison’s penis must be. SPORTSMAN HEAVEN! THE BEST SPORT IS PUNCHING PEOPLE IN THE FACE, CAUSE IT IS THE LEAST AIRY-FAIRY! Craig says “classy, classy, classy” hoping, Candyman style, that if he says it three times, it might actually magically appear. Unlikely, Craig. Bruno reaches into his bag of things Bruno says, this
pairing is already making me dribble at the orifices a bit, this
is already making all my orifices dry back up again, Anita says that the whole thing is LIKE HOLLYWOOD HAS COME TO LONDON (to put its bins out) and is already looking a bit
“into it”, James
gets his tits out, Alex Jones reminisces about how she used to have a poster up of Jason Donovan on her wall as a child, Rory Bremner’s already doing his sodding Brucie/Dale Winton/Anthea Turner/Who The Fuck Knows impressions, a totally spontaneous “GO BRUCIE!”, or possibly “BRUCIE GO!” chant starts up from the crowd… let’s get on with it.
Maybe not like that…
We open, as one always should, with a professional dancers group number. This
is officially the first hat of the series. I have to admit, it’s not doing as much for me as I hoped it would. Those of you familiar with Anton du Beke (and let’s face it, we all are by this point, far more intimately than any of us would wish, even that half-Japanese girlfriend that means he definitely isn’t racist) will know this is not his usual “Mr Showbiz” face. This is him trying to look louche and degenerate and Cabaret-filthy. That’s because they’ve got him dancing to Born This Way. By Lady Gaga. That’s right, Anton du Beke is flicking his legs about to “DON’T BE A DRAG! JUST BE A QUEEN!”. I mean…they all are, but for some reason it’s funniest with him. Well…him and Brenda. Who
is currently being checked out by Natalie, just to make sure he’s not in fact been living the transgender life all this time.
Yes, everyone’s got sexy canes and they’re vamping them – twirling them around and pretend-spanking with them and dragging one-another around with them. Erin very defiantly uses hers as though she’s in a very glamorous 1930s film, la la la, this is definitely not going up anybody’s bum, Fred n Ginge Erin, just think Fred n Ginge and everything will be ALL RIGHT.
Kristina on the other hand…
This hot jazz action, along with the fact that they’re dancing to a 1980s soundtrack (ie “Express Yourself”) leads me to believe that this is one of the much-vaunted Mandy Moore choreographed routines. There’s even a little ballroom dancing in there, which is more than I was expecting. At the end, everyone lines up and mugs for the camera, and we close like this
Yes, James is standing above everyone else, and yes Ola’s hand is right in his crown jewels. Never be any less macho, James. Oh and Natalie totally falls down the stairs as well. Amazing. I really hope she totally lets herself go this series now that she’s not got a contender. Stops dyeing her hair, puts on 2 stone, turns up in trackies every week…
LOOK WHO WAS HIDING BEHIND THE PROS ALL ALONG! Yes, it’s Subruce Forsythe and the other one. Do we think Tess will be damed?
Oops, sorry, should have read “damned”.
Yes, Bruce has now been knighted. This may be mentioned a few more times during the series. Maybe. Just a bit. Occasionally. A tad. All the judges bow and scrape, Tess makes a joke, the only person not expressing any sort of deference is my new favourite member of the Strictly Band :
emogirl82. I think she may be the new Man In The Hat, bringing an edge of irony and Daria-esque cynicism to every show. Bruce then makes a joke about his knighthood. The audience laugh after every line, in lieu of trying to work out where the punch-line was supposed to be. In these troubled economic times, we all have to choose wisely where we can afford to spend our valuable time. Bruce then does a dance.
They can take those knighthood things back you know.
Once Bruce’s done re-distributing all the dust inside his body, Tess reminds us that the point of this show (yes, there is one) is to pair up all the celebrities with their pro-dancers so she can start writing her fan-fiction :
We’re also going to have exciting professional routines, Dolly Parton, and finally a group routine featuring this year’s crop of 14 celebrities. Note I did not say “group dance”. This menu of delights thus unveiled, Tess feels that familiar unwelcome bump pressing into the small of her back for the first time this year, as it’s time to meet THE STARS OF OUR SHOW! Who are, complete with their “stair-dismounting” form, which I find is always the best guide to likely dancing ability :
“Stage And Screen Superstar” Jason Donovan (a little mincey, don’t sue Jason!)
“Waterloo Road’s Straight-Talking Starlet” Chelsee Healey (flapping her arms around like a sexed-up penguin)
“Comedian & Impressionist” Rory Bremner (fair skipping down the stairs)
“Singing Legend” Lulu (running down like she’s in the Grannylypmics)
“Olympic Gold Medallist, Boxer” Audley Harrison (does stairs about as much as Mariah Carey does)
“Former MP & Novellist” Edwina Currie (glares at the stairs, like they are her implacable, possibly Communist, foe)
“Boyband McFly’s” Harry Judd (already trying a bit of cha-cha action)
“The One Show’s” Alex Jones (bland, servicable stairwork)
“Astrologer to the stars” Russell Grant (taking his sweet time)
“Actress and Pop Princess” Holly Valance (waving like she’s in the credits for Miranda, which is probably a reliable carer-goal from this show, possibly a love-rival?)
“TV Presenter” Dan Lobb (trying to work out if he should use the banister or not)
“Leading Lady And Queen Of The Soaps” Anita Dobson (I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP MR DEMILLE!)
“Premiership Football’s” Robbie Savage (hating every second)
“Italian Siren” Nancy Dell’Olio (knows everyone has dreamed about this moment, seeing her walk down the stairs, since they were little children)
Once safely (mostly) down the stairs, all our stars are stood awkwardly, wondering how best to dance in a cool manner to the theme tune. Harry Judd picks some sort of awkward nightclub bop, Audley steps awkwardly from one foot to the other, Russell jiggles like he’s trying to dislodge a tricky trouser situation, Bloody Lulu throws herself into it, Eggwina just does that thing people do where they over-react to the last few beats. Once they’re done, Lulu immediately
leaps at Chelsee, trying to absorb her life-force/ask her where she got her boobs done.
Bruce jokes that you won’t need to be an astrologer to work out where the laughs are going to be coming from this series :
I’m choosing to take that as a choice burn on Rory Bremner. Bruce further hoots that it must have been about 40 years since he and Russell last worked together. Given that Russell Grant didn’t appear on tv until 1979, that seems unlikely. Oh Bruce. Tess explains that once the celebs are partnered off, they’ll have three weeks training before the first live show, unless they’re Harry, who is only getting two weeks practice, like Kara did last year. Because some sorts of dirty ringerism are dirtier than others.
Time now to say hello to the judges. Bruce jokes that he has missed them all except Craig.
A-LOL! A series of jokes in this vein awaits us. Len is asked if he thinks this is the best line-up they’ve ever had. Len replies that he thinks this is the best line-up they’ve ever had. Much like every line-up apart from Series 7. Nancy claps fulsomely, because she knows he means her, she is the best line-up ever, the second most famous woman in the Northern Hemisphere after Clara Bow. Apparently at Len’s age, it takes a lot to get him to act this excited, so this is a true compliment. Probably to whoever decided how much he was going to be paid this year. Len is particularly keen to highlight that they’ve got an Olympic gold-medallist on, in the shape of Audley Harrison. I am very sad that Denise is no longer the only person to be able to say that with relation to this show.
Alesha is told she is beautiful, as dictated by the terms of her contract, and is asked how the celebs will be feeling, as she will know as, lest we forget, SHE HAS BEEN HERE AND DONE THIS. She says they will be scared, nervous and petrified, before Bruno wrenches her thesaurus off her and she branches out to say that they just need to get on with it, and try to bond with their partners as quickly as they can.
It looks like Alesha maybe should have bonded a bit quicker with her hairdresser than she actually did.
Bruno is next,
pulling the sort of faces Bruno usually pulls. He’s hoping for wild romances, bitter rivalries, and LOTS OF FUN! But that’s enough about his nights out in Taboo, these guys just have to turn up and do a port de bras and he’ll scream at them all like he’s having multiple orgasms. Don’t worry about it. Craig to close, and he’s asked who he’d choose to be paired with out of all the celebs. Surely any of them has to be a step up on how he currently spends the 8 Non-Strictly months of the year (or, as I call them, The Dark Times) : as Widdy’s hag-fag? He chooses Dan, on the grounds that he is both tall and fit, and
Bloody Lulu laughs like her soul is leaving her body. Dan meanwhile is
Craig would also not mind “chucking Little Harry about” (which I feel may still, in some way, be referring to Dan) and Harry also reacts bashfully.
He’s not used to this sort of attention, being in McFly and all, who have in no way accrued a giant army of homosexual perverts as their fanbase, some in female shells. Oh and Craig would also like to partner Nancy, because she is mental. It’s nice that Craig and I are in general agreement early this year.
First up on the slab for distribution are Robbie Savage, Dan Lobb, and Harry Judd.
Here’s Harry Judd :
After years of debate, we’ve all settled on how he’s the best looking one out of McFly yes? I know that there was a small band of Dougie partisans holding out, like those Japanese soldiers ten years after the war had actually ended, but we ground them down eventually. Tess tells us that McFly have 7 number 1s, 1 Brit Award, and a place in pop history (being the Cretaceous Period to Busted’s Jurassic). Oh and also they were the youngest band ever to debut at number 1 with their debut album in a month beginning with J upside-down with a tea-towel on their heads.
Oooh, Becki Seddiki. There’s a blast from the past. Anyway, Harry is the drummer
and tells us that Tom (the David Cameron of McFly) has told him that his Saturday Night entertainment is sorted for the next week. Then it’s back to the biscuit game. Harry mugs that he does have experience of the show, because he danced with Ola for Sport Relief, and he is supposed to have rhythm, being a drummer with drummers arms and drummers shoulders and drummers back muscl…sorry where was I? Anyway, that may be a benefit, but the other universal truths of drummers are probably working against him. Ah well Harry, at least you’re not a bassist.
This is Dan Lobb :
he is a presenter and a sports reporter. We see a picture of him on Daybreak. It looks every bit as exciting and engaging and stimulating a show as I’d imagined. He tells us that he had a dream where he won Strictly. He also
taught Diversity how to do the Shopping Trolley. He’s really nervous about being on the show, and is in fact even sweating in interview.
I still feel a bit like one of my dad’s rugby mates is on the show by mistake. I only really knew my dad’s rugby-mates by their hilarious surname based nicknames, so it’s entirely a possibility. If this is true, I wish I’d gone to see him play slightly more often…
bad boy of football, Charlie Dimmock. Remember that one time he got sent off for inappropriate use of his water feature? Hilarity. They show lots of pictures of him
jabbing various folk with his fingers, as he brags that he’s the most booked football player OF ALL TIME. Booking’s for wusses Savage, get sent off or go home. We’re also told that people call him the “Marmite Man”, because he’s not known outside this country and he comes in jars. Or, more cliched-ly, because people either love him or hate him. Or like me, they’ve given him very little thought up til this point, and to be honest can’t see things progressing in any other fashion moving forwards either. He wants to train every day from 8am to 8pm, with a beautiful woman, in his own house. Oh and his hair and his teeth are the most important things in his life.
It’s not really Gavbot is it?
Back to the studio now, and Robbie is about to be served up on a plate. Bruce jokes that he told Len that one of the celebs this year was a feisty blonde who loved football, and now he’s found out it’s Robbie Savage, Len’s all disappointed. Pavel Nedved is more his type I guess. Personally I was hoping that was going to be an Ulrika reference, and she was going to be swapped in last minute for NANCY VS ULRIKA shenanigans, but hey ho. Anyway, Robbie is paired with
Ola. She remains amongst the best at pretend excitement of all the pros. She twirls across screaming “OH MY GOD! YES!” in paroxisms of delight, as Robbie just stands there grinning looking awkward.
True love already. Ola jokes that James will be jealous and she’s a very lucky girl. Bruce has apparently shifted off calling her “Oh-Lar” and is now full on calling her “Orla”. Oh dear.
Dan Lobb next, and Bruce
reminds us of all the disasters the show’s had with GMTV presenters. Fiona Phillips, Kate Garraway, Andrew Castle after we stopped pretending he was any good, sadly never Penny Smith… Will a Daybreak person be any better? I feel that Blankley already ruined that crossover comparison. Unshiftable mediocrity it is! His partner is
Katya. Her surprise face is……I like her ear-rings anyway. Once she’s twirled over he whipsers “this is like Blind Date” in his ear. At least we don’t have to sit through Anton answering “What type of 14th century Prussian Warlord would YOU be?” with an intolerable string of sexual innuendo. Katya recounts this line to Bruce, who stumbles over repeating it to the audience, so she corrects him firmly. I love that people think Katya is the pro with no personality. Bruce tells Dan he has struck oil, and Dan jokes that he wasn’t even digging. Bruce grunts that Katya will definitely make him dig a bit, and I feel a bit queasy.
Last up to be paired off then, is Harry.
Bruce whispers conspiratorially that last year, Alesha had a hit single with a song called “I Need A Drummer Boy”, so Harry better WATCH OUT. Oh Bruce, that’s not really accurate. That song was never a hit. Anyway, his partner is
Aliona! Harry is
thrilled! Apparently she’s already been saying on twitter that she is going to choreograph him as a gangsta vampire. Cannot WAIT. Like a nice English boy, Harry’s first words are “very nice to meet you”. How civilised. NOW GANGSTA IT! Bruce gets them to hug and promises Harry that Aliona will shag him senseless. In so many words. Off they pop, as Tom
looks about as excited as I am for another series of Aliona’s choreography.
Up on the Tessanine, and she’s already interrogating the new couples, like Barbara Walters in
canary yellow bell-bottoms. You can tell Aliona’s resisting yelling “CUSTARD!” and then licking her vigorously. Tess asks if everyone’s happy with their partners (Robbie, Dan, Ola, Aliona, Katya : “YES!”, Harry : “yes”) and then says that Robbie and “Oh-La” look like a great couple with the fake tans and the blonde hair. And that’s just Robbie! LOLLERSKATES!
Back to the judges, and Len is asked if he thinks these couples are the BEST COUPLES EVER TO HAVE BEEN ON STRICTLY, BETTER THAN RAMPS AND KAREN AND MATT AND FLAVIA AND LISA AND BRENDAN AND ESTHER AND ANTON?! Len agrees that they are. He hopes that Robbie brings his aggression onto the dancefloor (and punches Ola in the tit?), and that Dan…hunky dunky donut muscly dunky hunk chunky spunky muscly phwoar gur’tcha yeah DAN
I guess that tells you how low a sportsman can go and still activate Len’s SPORTSMANBONER!, rendering him utterly insensible. 18th in the tennis rankings. The BRITISH tennis rankings. Oh and he hopes Harry brings his great (albeit, not natural, he is white) rhythm to the floor as the great drummer he is. Yes Len, he’s Keith Moon.
Bruce groans “we all have our fantasies Len”, and then Len stars pawing at Alesha’s shoulders. I have no idea what this is meant to have to do with anything, unless it’s tacit admission of Len’s hovering around waiting until Dan needs to use the loo and then deciding that he also definitely needs to go to the urinal at the exact same time, what a coincidence, probably me prostate, something, something. I hope it is.
Back to the Tessanine now, and Tess tells us that with a new series of Strictly (unless it’s Series 5), there always comes a new pro. And this year’s new pro is PASHA! He’s going to be introduced, even hazed if you will, into the Strictly fraternity by having all the girls whirl around him dressed as 1950s flight attendants to some Seahaguilera. “Aint No Other Man” even.
Look at them FLOUNCE. It’s a cha-cha based routine, and not a particularly great one, and I do wish that my heralding of Pasha (PASHA!) was initiated by something a bit…better? I do enjoy that, for all they’ve sold him as some sort of purring masculine Siberian sex-tiger, he’s mincing and grinning and gurning and smiling as much as he always does in the party-dances. With the departure of Wiggy, Twiggy, and Matthew Cutler, this show has been missing this sort of campery
and been overburdened with growling, brooding, defiantly macho, shouting “HA!” every other phrase like they’re WAPPING their TESTICLES out onto the DINNERTABLE, Muscle Mary “butchness”. HOORAY FOR PASHA!
And for Natalie’s terrifying expressions of sexual desire. Ola pulls Pasha’s top down, although not quite all the way to the nipple, so it doesn’t count.
Next up in line and, per Tess, all hoping to be paired with Pasha, are Anita Dobson, Chelsee Healey, and Bloody Lulu.
This is Bloody Lulu.
She’s singing the first few bars of Shout, and vomitting out gold ticker-tape as she does so. Tess gushes that you know you’re a legend when you can be identified by one noise. Is that noise “fuckoffLulu?”. Or is she just a really distinctive farter? Lulu tells us she started working when she was 15
smuggling exotic wildlife into the country inside her hair-helmet. She then went on to smuggle other…substances for Elton John, The Beatles and David Bowie
(now, how many drugs is he on in that picture? Then again, wouldn’t you have to be?) and occasionally do offensively bad covers of their songs that the writer will never ever forgive her for (or for making him call himself “the writer”). She also
stood near The Rolling Stones once. In the 90s she shagged Jason Orange. She says that she’s done so much in her career that she can’t remember half of it. And neither can anybody else.
This, apparently is Chelsee Healey
I spend most of her interview looking at her mouth.
I’m not sure it was her surgeon’s intention to make her look like a special guest slutty lady-duck in an episode of Ducktales. (WOO-OOO!). She played somebody called Janeece in Waterloo Road. Maybe she changed her name to Chelsee in devotion to Lee Strasberg’s Method technique of acting? Anyway, per Chelsee, Janeece went to school every year until she didn’t, and then she became the school secretary. Oooh look
Amanda Burton. I wish she was on this show. They could do a routine based on Silent Witness. It’s be like when Dr Hammy did Dr Beat, but with James on a slab with a hook up his nose and his brain half-exposed. Anyway, Chelsee is really looking forward to having someone else drive the JCB that applies her make-up for a change, and also to being paired with a “hungy” male dancer (I’m guessing that means “hung and hunky and also a bit hungry”. Or at least it does now.) Woo.
This is Anita Dobson
I think she might not be well. Tess announces her as “queen of the soaps and rock-star husband”. I know they’ve got hair of a similar volume Tess, but they’re not actually the same person. Anita tells us that we will best know her for playing Angie Watts in Eastenders, and then starts honking
“DON’T WIND ME UP, COZ I WIW LOSE IT!” right down the camera lens. It’s a bit like when you’re chatting with a tramp at a bus-stop and then suddenly discover their other personality. Multiple Personality Disorder Ange FOR THE WIN! She tells us all next that the scene everyone talks about is the “iconic” divorce papers scene. Bonus Strictly Points for unnecessary use of the word “iconic” there Anita. That’ll get you an automatic spot in the quarters at least.
She’s also married to Brian May. From Erasure.
This is them. Be warned, I’m just going to pretend she’s married to Billy Connelly. Anita then starts cackling and clenching her hips that she CAN’T BELIEVE SHE’S MARRIED TO BRIAN MAY! Yeah, what a hottie! Apparently when she told Brian she was doing Strictly he went pale, but then told her he was going to support her 100% through it because he knows it’s something she’s always wanted to do. It sounds a bit like something you’d say when someone starts a new type of medication.
I think it actually might be.
To the studio, and Anita is stuck with
Tess doing her pairing up. I think they keep Tess away from the male celebs as long as possible. Just to spread out the process of drawing up new restraining orders every year. Who knows, they might not even have to get one on behalf of Russell Grant if they play their cards right. Apparently Anita told Tess that she couldn’t believe she was on the show, and then Anita yells “I’M IN DENIAL!” Save it for your therapist Anita. Tess asks her what she looks for in a leading man, and she that she wants someone who is gentle and can encourage her. At this
James and Brenda pointedly look the other way. All the other pros except Pasha guard their crotches. They’ll learn. Anyway, Angita is partnered with…
Robin! Anita gives her best
Eastenders reaction shot, and Robin can’t keep his tongue in his head, as per usual. He slides across to her on his knees. Given that Robin never saw a routine he couldn’t make about some gay icon or other, I’m really hoping for some synergy with Anita involving her recent run in the West End as Joan Crawford. I want her rumba to end with her screaming “NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!” then twatting Len in the face with one. Billy Connolly
is pleased. Robin’s probably more
worried that she might bite. He drones “This is going to be amazing!” and to his credit I can’t tell if he means it or not.
Next up, Chelsee’s
erm…personalities. Chelsee tells Tess that she is more than a likkle excited to be paired up tonight, because she is SINGLE and…(*wait for it*) READY TO MINGLE! She’s also HOT and looking to FROT, AVAILABLE and very NAILABLE, as well as RANDY and a fan of JESSICA TANDY particularly in DRIVING MISS DAISY which was VERY MOVING and made her think a lot about RACE ISSUES. She’s subsequently told that (duh) she’s getting Pasha
and she readies her talons, one of which has already fallen off in anticipation. Pasha twirls towards her, and picks her up and looks
thrilled and ready for lots of the sex with Chelsea. Maybe he will even get to meet her dad and ask him about the Monica Lewinsky yes? He grins that Chelsee certainly is ready to mingle, and then Chelsee drags him off by the arm hooting “ONLY JOKING!”. She bloody isn’t.
Pasha seems to realise this.
Bloody Lulu is of course next,
already looking at Daly like she’s the shit on her shoe. Daly then warrants this by uttering the sentence “you’ve performed with some of the greats, from Take That to The Beatles”. Anyway, James starts
doing some sort of bizarre sex face at her. Poor Ola. Bloody Lulu cackles “WHAT IS HE LIKE, HE’S MARRIED AND EVERYTHING!”. What he may be like Lulu is “looking for attention”. Anyway, Lulu’s partner is
Brenda. There’s a whole (even more) panto bit where she
crosses her fingers at him and screams “NO, NO, NOT BRENDA!” and it surprises me that even after 9 series of Brenda Cole soap-opera who will tame him/storming off/bad-tempered Brenda drama, people still apparently take stuff like this seriously. I’m 99% sure that this is a “bit”. Brenda then
takes her over his shoulder and carries her off and…I don’t know, spanks her a bit or something. They might as well be playing the Benny Hill music.
Tess turns to the judges pretty much saying “what are they like?!” on an infinite loop, before knocking herself out of it and asking Bruno if he can feel the heat. Bruno says that he can indeed feel the heat. First of all, there’s Anita Dobson, the first and best Queen of Albert Square. She and Robin do rather have a look of those old-style royal dynasties about them.
You know, the ones that went mental with all the in-breeding? Next there’s Chelsee, the “hot crumpet” (/burnt tart) and the Sizzling Siberian Pasha. Pasha does my two favourite Pasha faces in response : gap-tooth delight
and sexy cartoon eyebrow
Yes I have favourite Pasha faces. LEAVE IT OR I WIW LOSE IT!
Finally there’s Lulu and Brenda, who will be more explosive than nitro-glycerine. Already he can tell that Lulu is FUMING to be stuck with him. Cut to Lulu screaming “NO, NO, IT’S NOT LIKE THAT! THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT! OH NO! OH DEAR! HOW COULD YOU…OH THIS HAS ALL COME ACROSS TERRIBLY WRONG?” repeatedly and laughing. I can’t wait for the “explanation” on the first performance show. I did think it might be related to “Just The Two Of Us” (Oblig Best Thing Ever link.) but apparently they were on different series.
Next up : a brief training montage, showing how the celebs got on in training for their group dance. I don’t anticipate anything topping Jared sidling up to Ann like an awkward boy-scout and calling her ma’am.
A rainy day in London, and the celebs are pulling up to GIANT LADY’s house for rehearsals. Vincent tells us that it’s the first day of group rehearsals, and Robin says that some of these celebrities will never have danced in their lives before (Did Dan Lobb just come out of a coma? Is that his actual claim-to-fame?). Anita pulls up, looking as
sane as ever, and Holly grins that it’s like the first day at school. I wish Giant Lady had been one of my teachers. Screw that, I wish Giant Lady had been all of my teachers. And dinner-ladies. And grounds-staff.
Rehearsals start and Bloody Lulu, looking like a GANGSTA straight out of Compton
BELIEVE, says that she’s all hot and bothered already, and she’s only been here 5 minutes. Dan Lobb admires both Jason Donovan and Holly Valance’s form, and Harry says it’s all like a very weird dream. Then Katya turns into a giant fluffy green walrus being ridden by Doctor Who and offers to share her space-yoghurt with Harry.
Yes, it turns out Aliona’s choreographing (LOL NOT REALLY)
Incidentally, talking of dreams…
Flavia : You can’t tell me not to try to lift Russell, YOU AIN’T MY MUVVA!
Nancy Dell’Olive Oil : …YES I AAAAAAAAM!
Has to happen.
Chelsee complains that she’s sweating her head off, Anita worries about how fast the whole thing is, Rory natters away happily to Kristina. Such harmony. Alex tells us all that everyone’s wondering who they’re paired with as Harry, so GALANT gossips with Robbie about how there’s four “hot babes” amongst the female pros. I wouldn’t be so rude as to speculate about who he’s talking about.
Katya flirts with Harry, Robbie flirts with Natalie, Anton flirts with Nancy, Chelsee flirts with Brenda, Anita flirts with Robin by walking up to him and just stroking his arms and hissing at himlike an asthmatic swan, Eggwina,
lies on her back and thinks of Audley, Dan flirts with me through my tv screen yes he does, Holly guffaws that she loves sweaty men then rolls her eyes and says “oh great, that’s the line they’re going to use”. I’m sure all her other lines were discussing Wittgenstein. This is it for the “flirting” section of the montage.
Next is the “banter” portion. Robbie calls Audley a crap boxer, Rory calls Robbie a crap footballer, Robbie throws a football at Jason’s head, everyone makes fun of Jason for rehearsing off in a corner on his own not talking to anyone (per Jason : “fail to prepare and you prepare to fail”). This is how straight men flirt with one another, bless them. Alex closes by saying that doing it in a small room is one thing, but doing it in an auditorium of thousands is another. She’s probably talking about the dance, but it could easily be walking in a straight line, or remembering not to wet yourself.
Back to the studio now, and up in the Tessanine, Tess asks them all who’s suddenly thinking “what have I let myself in for?”.
I guess he’s just seen the Michaelangelo outfit he’ll be wearing for their Cha-Cha to “Turtle Power”. Swing those nunchuks Harry! Tess makes a crack about how Lulu is obviously regretting being with Brenda in particular, so of course
Bloody Lulu cracks up and screeches “OH NO, NO IT’S NOT LIKE THAT!” over and over again. Bloody Lulu. Jason is asked how he feels, and he’s very earnest and says he’s just going to try his best. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we really have found our nerd/suck-up for the series. Russell is asked if he’s regretting signing up and he says no! He’s just been back to theatre and lost 10 stone in weight (is this a gastric-band operation sort of “theatre”?) and he’s really looking forward to toning up and getting fit! Tess tells him he looked great in rehearsal. I’m sure. She then does some bizarre “hope you’re wearing shin pads!” routine with Robbie, that doesn’t make any sense at all really. Oh well.
Next up, it’s time for a performance. Yes, she’s interrupting her World Tour just for the show (although not so much this wasn’t filmed about 10 hours before the rest of the show)…it’s DOLLY PARTON!
I spend the whole song hoping this is a last-minute surprise, and someone’s going to walk on at the end and pair her up as a contestant with Vincent. This does not happen.
WORST SERIES EVER!
(I saw Dolly Parton in concert once. Her very presence walking out onto stage at the start of her set stopped a pitched battle between two sisters in the seats in front of me over one trying to steal the others husband. They stopped their fighting and swearing and name-calling and huffing, stuck their arms around one another’s shoulders, and sang “Smoky Mountain Memories” in unison. She had one stripper/dancer who doubled as both Elvis and a horny farmboy. She made very charming remarks about Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Love You” that let you know, in a very Southern charmer sort of way that she considered the woman a wart on Satan’s anus, then pwned the hell out of the song. Her banter was so slick and professionally delivered that she could easily make a late-stage career flip into the RSC. The woman has POWER and will one day be the first female president of the USA, even if it is as a brain in a jar inside a robot titanium shell.)
Next to be shunted into the pro-slaughterhouse are the rest of the men : Jason, Rory, Audley, and Russell.
This is Russell Grant
Tess tells us he is “astrology’s biggest star” :
and that his powers have brought him into contact with the Queen Mother. He recounts how he was the first astrologer to be introduced to the royal family, and he did a reading for the Queen Mother and…I don’t know, told her that it was not a good day for Princess Di to travel, or some nonsense. And then when he went away the Queen Mother was heard to remark “who was that tubby little poof?”. Anyway, this big break led to him appearing on Breakfast tv looking like
a boiled sweet that had accumulated fluff under the sofa for a good twenty years. Russell looks back and cringes at his awful fashion sense, and not at all that he made his living making up a load of old tut about the dangers of Cancer being in Uranus.
I particularly love that his “look at me with the stars” picture is of him with GAYLE TUESDAY. Did he not stand near Keith Richards once, like Lulu did? (Yes yes, or shag Jason Orange). He insists that he’s not going to get a spray-tan, because it would involve tiny pants, and he really hopes that his dance partner is a Pisces. (SPOILER : Flavia is in fact a Pisces) (DISCLAIMER : It is very definite that these people are not told ahead of time who they are partnered with, this is just SPOOKY FATE, LIKE ALL ASTROLOGY!)
This is Audley Harrison.
He won a gold medal once. He says that people will know him best for being the first boxer to win a gold medal for Britain (or indeed, any country other than Cuba) (probably) for 32 years. And definitely not any of the stuff that happened afterwards. Look
Look how young and potent he was! Such potential! He says that to be a professional boxer you have to get into a mean mode and be very serious and threaten to rape your opponents baby whilst its still in his girlfriends womb, and you know, occasionally hit people, and he’s not really that way inclined. He will make an exception for the judges though. Being Carribbean, he has decided that he has natural rhythm, presumably before Len decides it for him. He does see his ridiculous size as being a disadvantage though. Well quite. He’s worried he might trample his professional partner. I…would not worry about that Audley. So much. I don’t think Natalie is particularly trample-able.
This is Rory Bremner.
Tess honks that he’s always keen to make a “GOOD IMPRESSION” with all the deftness of comic touch we’ve come to expect from her. Because Rory Bremner is an impressionist! Do you get it? Here’s his
Roger Moore impression. It looks like Donald Trump and sounds like a small earthquake. This is his
John Major impression. It sounds like Colin Hunt. This is his Tony Blair.
It looks like Pob and sounds like…well Pob. This is his Bruce
it looks and sounds like death. Just like the real Brucie. He says that he doesn’t follow the show religiously, but once he gets his skates on and gets out onto the ice, he’ll be fine. OH HA HA FUNNY.
This is Jason Donovan, as though you need telling.
He was a heart-throb in the 80s and then…not so much in the next two decades. And even the 80s was mostly in the UK (it is one of my favourite things how Neighbours actors are almost invariably more famous in this country than in Australia. It’s a bit like finding out that in Canada everyone goes bonkers for the cast of Doctors). But anyway, yes, definitely a heart-throb in the 80s! Look!
Here he is as a (half-arsed) sexy Santa! Tess tells us all that he was everyone’s favourite Neighbour. Whatever Tess, my favourite Neighbour will forever be slutty diabetic minx Danni Stark, and nothing you say will ever change my mind. Jason talks a bit about his time on the show, particularly his “iconic” (automatic quarter-final slot!) wedding to Kylie Minogue.
ICONIC! He says that everyone was really fascinated by their raw sexual chemistry. The 80s was a funny old time wasn’t it? The thought of any woman in denim dungarees having raw sexual chemistry with anything these days is an impossibility. He says that his singing career began as an extension of his tv career, but blossomed outwards from there. Sort of. Anyway, he was always a singer (as he does not prove with an ear-splitting rendition of “Too Many Broken Hearts” that sounds like it should be followed with a *plop* and a *flush*) and never a dancer, as proved by his need to
cling to a guitar in his videos. (SPOILER : Jason should probably get used to being placed in the artificial chasm between two improbably sized features, given his pro partner)
TO THE DANCE-FLOOR, and said partner is revealed, after a really odd
moment where Bruce basically declares Jason to be his hero, who he’s so glad to meet, it’s such an honour, etc etc, to be
Kristina, who has some sort of ecstatic moment of divine revelation. I don’t really see much reason to think he’ll be any better than Goldie was, but at least some people might actually vote for him. She charges across the floor and hurls herself at him like a face-hugger,
and then it gets…
more so. And then even
worse. Calm down Kristina, you’ll break him before you’ve even started. Jason and Bruce talk about how happy Kristina is, like she’s not stood 2ft away from them, and Jason drags Kristina off to be his sex-slave forever. From the audience, Calsaggy, who has come as General Zod/a doughy Zorro is all :
“hurr hurr, pretty lady make happy with Scott From Neighbour”.
Rory is next, he does his Brucie impersonation, his partner is Erin,
I wish I could explain my antipathy to all impressionists, but I just can’t.
This leaves us with the following twosome
with the two pros left being Natalie and Flavia. The thought of sticking Audley with Flavia, and her dancing every dance whilst standing on a cake trolley, is somehow appealing. As is the idea of sticking Natalie with Russell. Sadly, if the producers are sane than this is not to b…actually, scratch that thought, it could definitely happen. Flavia looks like she’s
willing to give it a try anyway. Audley is called down from the dias, and
Bruce starts to take his jacket off. I have no idea. I think he’s threatening to start a fight. I wouldn’t mind see that either, comedy-wise. Anyway, he tells Audley that he can have any partner he wants, and Audley points out that there’s only two of them left. Bruce chides him, and tells him that they’re not “only” – they’re Natalie and Flavia! Oh and the partner he will be “sparring” with (to which comment Natalie starts
doing some sort of weird kangaroo/foxy boxing hybrid dance) is…
Natalie! Those boobs are reacting more than her face ever could. Which leaves Flavia with
Russell. Bruce asks him how short he is, and he says that he once played the Mayor Of The Munchkins in The Wizard Of Oz. I was once Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire Russell, and he’s supposed to be over 6ft and over 200lbs. The MAGIC OF THE THEATRE can hide a lot. Anyway, men munchkin height is apparently all that Flavia can expect these days. Ah well, it’s not going to stop me erroneously predicting her for the win next year anyway. Bruce sends them off to prepare for the group dance, and tells them to leave in an “orderly/Audley” fashion. HO HO.
Natalie’s sense of humour is ever evolving. I remember when she didn’t get any of Bruce’s jokes. Those were the good old days.
To the judges, and Craig is asked if he’s feeling the chemistry between the four couples they just saw enjoined. Bruce tells him that he appears to have his “pensive” face on, and Bruce likes it. Craig says he also has a pen, although sadly not a sieve. Possibly to sift through the show’s script to find the bits that make sense? He’s used this pen to give the partnerships ticks. Jason & Kristina get three ticks. I hope they don’t lay eggs, otherwise that could be itchy. Erin & Rory get two ticks, and we don’t hear what ticks the others get. Probably for the best. Craig says he’s really going to miss Flavia’s Argentine Tango, given that she’s not going to get to perform it during the series, because Russell is a big RUBBISH. Oh Craig, she’s only done it once before anyway, and it wasn’t great then.
Alesha protests “WE HAVEN’T SEEN HIM DANCE YET!” and her hands flap around in OUTRAGE that someone might suggest that Russell might not be AMAZING. SPOILERS Alesha – he’s going to be rubbish. Bruce jokes that Russell is very quick on his feet, which I almost thought was a LOLGAY joke, but then Bruce clarifies that a landlady of Russell’s told him that once. Such slander.
Up to the Tessanine now, and Tess announces our next pro routine, as Natalie nonchalantly straddles Brenda’s nipples in the background.
For a brief, happy moment, I think Brenda might have gone mad and demanded he be allowed to do Lisa Snowdon’s showdance again but RIGHT this time, but sadly it is not to be. Instead it’s a group paso to “Sweet Child O Mine”, and thankfully the Guns N Roses version, not any of the tweecore versions that have been floating around recently. Anyway, Natalie flutters around like a drowning moth, and we see the
WORLD’S BIGGEST CAPE! IT’S HUGE! It’s like those PE lessons where you used to all just crawl around under a giant parachute. I really don’t see how the rest of the routine can be expected to live up to this!
It doesn’t really. I don’t know, there’s chairs and fans and Vincent & Flavia up on the stage doing Argentine Tango legs, but…WORLD’S BIGGEST CAPE! It’s both a spectacle in its own right, and also a handy preview as to what the female celebrities dresses are going to be made out of this series (female pros as ever will be made out of two toothpicks and a cocktail napkin each).
Next up to the plate, swinging for an Ian Waite but possibly ending up hitting only a Paul Killick, are Alex Jones and Eggwina Currie.
This is Eggwina Currie.
Tess reminds us she used to be an MP, but now she’s a “broadcaster” (which is the politest term I’ve heard for it in a while) who occasionally turns out bonkbusters. Tess also jokes that more than anyone else, she’ll be worried about being left with egg on her face. Such a shame that, given that Week 1 is now “Gimmick Week”, she’s going to be doing the foxtrot dressed as a fried one. To this. Of course this lasting oviphobia is as a result of this
incident, which of course Edwina spins in the best possible light for herself she can, as a politician. Unfortunately she also uses the “Eggwina” nickname for herself, which leaves me conflicted as to whether I can cont…oh whatever, of course I can, doing otherwise would involve being genuinely creative.
She also asked John Major to
smell her finger once. This did not end well for those of us with weak stomachs. She tells us that she’s been yelled at by Margaret Thatcher, so any of these so-called “professionals” hold no fear for her, and she’ll certainly be telling them off if they want to push her in a position she’s uncomfortable with, such as one involving elegance, dignity, and not showing her knickers. In many ways, she is very much the other side to the same coin that Widdy was on. I hope this means she actually bothers trying. It’s kind of depressing that actually trying will almost certainly get her eliminated earlier than Widdy was. Only “kind of” though because…it’s still Eggwina.
This is Alex Jones
She greets us with “lllgyryllb Alex Jones bllybbgylltipopptiping Strictly”. This apparently means “My name is Alex Jones, and here I am on Strictly.” I never would have guessed. She reminds us all that Matt Baker exists, and that he did the show last series, and did quite well.
Quite. So apparently, in the spirit of competition, he encouraged her to do the show, as did all the rest of The One Show Crew. Apart from Dominic Littlewood. He just muttered something about how Penny Lancaster was a stuck-up bitch and how Matt Di Angelo definitely made more mistakes then him before kicking a garden chair into the water-cooler and running off crying. Apparently they’ve also said that she has to do better than Matt, and she worries this might be a tall order, given as how he nearly won. Eh, Alex, you don’t have to win, just don’t do an interpretive vampire dance to “HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOH NEW YORK!” and you will already, in a way, have done better.
To close, she reminisces about the time she once held the glitterball trophy, and how maybe this was a sign.
Please to note that she is holding it at the same time as Chris Evans is holding the trophy for Sports Personality Of The Year.
Out to the studio and
Alex’s naked puppyish enthusiasm for this whole stupid show is making me warm to her. A bit. You can just her thinking “I’m doing the bit where I get my partner now! Hee hee hee!”. Bruce tells them that even though there’s 4 men and 2 women, they’re not going to get 2 partners each. Eggwina says “oh shame!” clearly hoping this means she’s getting 3 and the Welsh bint’s getting 1.
OK, so this is the worst bit of the show, and therefore my favourite. Apparently now Strictly thinks it’s X Factor, and wants to do play pretend twists. So Tess tells James and Artem to step forward, and Vincent and Anton to step back, because they’ll be getting their partners later. Alex is up first, and she’s got
James! Yes she has, he’s just jumping, that’s not Ola sucking him up in some sort of giant Dr Robotnik-esque hover-bike/hoover, so he doesn’t get the One Show popularity-vote candidate. He runs over and gives Alex a big hug, and Eggwina starts wobbling over to Artem. BUT WAIT!
YES WAIT! THERE’S A TWIST!
Erm…Eggwina’s going to have to wait for the next bit to find out her partner. Because there’s a twist! They comically led you to believe something was going to happen that was going to be funny (sexy Artem with the randy old she-goat!) and then it didn’t, and thus the humour and fun arose! It’s a complete shambles. I’ve seen Artem slagged for looking disappointed to “get” Eggwina,
but really I think he’s more ashamed to take part in this whole segment, less clearly delineated than a novelty event at a schools sports day where half the kids pick up their hula hoop and run off to the spooky mound where some kid definitely found a dead body once, because they don’t get the rules.
Or at least that’s what happened at my school.
Anyway, that twist was less well-executed with Mary Queen Of Scots (it took 17 whacks, they had to saw the last bit of neck off, then her dog ran out from underneath her skirt. HISTORICAL COMEDY!), let’s move on.
Ahem. This (THIS!)
is Nancy Doo’Lallio. Per Tess, she is a glamorous lawyer and the ex first lady of football. I really don’t like that England Football Manger is apparently now a position that warrants a “First Lady”. This would be the current incumbent. She’s no SamCam is she? Anyway, Nancy says that her interest in football began 10 years ago, when she started shagging Sven Goran Erikson. How convenient. She claims they were a very glamorous and unusual couple (half right, and even then if you’re using “unusual” as a euphemism) and that she is the second most famous Italian in the UK. After Sofia Loren.
List of Italians more famous in the UK than Nancy Dell’Olive Oil :
That one who killed Mozart
Most of the Popes
The funny one who walked on all the seats at the Oscars
Those two ones who are friends with Jamie Oliver and do the cooking
That Blind Singer One
Roberto from Big Brother 6
Robert De Niro
Most of the other emperors
The Dolmio Family
The Go Compare Man
The Medicis feat. Jeremy Irons
All them artists what were named after the ninja turtles
Whichever of the Tenors, wasn’t one of them Italian? The fat one.
Super Mario Brothers
And probably many more.
This is Holly Valance
They play “State Of Mind” in the background, which is my wishlist for her run on this series completed already. Sated so soon. This is unusual. Tess tells us all that Holly Valance played a schoolgirl on Neighbours, and Holly sighs that she could probably fit a leg into the costume nowadays, and no more.
Yes, what a hog. She then runs us through the rest of her rollercoaster career – she had a number 1 hit with Kiss Kiss, then moved to Hollywood, where she mostly pissed a load of American women off by dating that fit one from Hawaii 5-0, but also occasionally did some acting in Prison Break and CSI : New York and all them shows like that. She finishes by bemoaning that she doesn’t rank highly enough in the “World’s Sexiest” polls once more. 57 UK? WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THAT?!
In this, Holly displays the misguided attempts at the particular type of “pretend cartoon-diva as attempt to be self-deprecating, gets read as actually passive aggressive bigging herself up” humour that is a hallmark of all my favourite doomed female reality show contestants.
Back in the studio now, and Bruce asks Holly “if my name were in this envelope, what would you say?”. Holly’s face reads
“Too…Many…Punchlines” and settles on “I’m a lucky girl”. Bruce grins and says “really?!” and Holly deadpans “no”. Bruce of course doesn’t notice this and gets his Generation Game pad out and writes “likes…older…men” down anyway. I love Holly a little more. Her partner is…
Artem. He looks so mortified every time he’s partnered with a sexy lady. With this stroke, the three pre-series favourites have been partnered with the three finalists from last year. At least it’ll be a chance for them to redeem themselves from the GODAWFUL showdances they all served up. Of course, classy as ever, Bruce tells Holly that if she feels two eyes burning with a fiery passion into the back of her skull, those will be those of Kara Tointon.
Don’t be so presumptuous Bruce. They’ve only been going out 8 months – I don’t know if they’re ready for those sorts of threesomes yet.
After Artem has escorted her up the stairs like a gentleman, we return to Nancy fixing her eye-bogies. THE GLAMOUR. She is partnered with
ANTON! I wonder if she’s too delusional to know that this means she’s the comedy contestant? Probably. Vincent meanwhile has the glazed look of someone who is
I guess…marginally gladder that the bag of dog-turds just delivered to his doorstep isn’t the one on fire? He gives Nancy a big hug, until Tess hauls her off him like she’s damp, awkward laundry, then he charges straight at Eggwina as she lurches at him like
Count von Count. Meanwhile Nancy is babbling about how Anton has been dreaming of her vagina since he was very small boy, or similar. It’s going to be a long series.
Speaking of which, Len is now asked if any of the pairings stand out as being more amazing and bestest ever than any of the others, and he replies that no, they are all equally amazing, choosing would be like Sophie’s Choice SQUARED. Alesha reminds us all that she has BEEN HERE AND DONE THIS again. Bruno hypes up how BLOODY HILARIOUS Russell Grant is going to be, like the TARDIS or dementia. Craig is asked who’s going to suck, and he says Russell, and Lulu, and that Brendan and Lulu are sure to have many non-contrived fights that weren’t at all suggested by production.
To top us all off (and you can read that either way you like), it’s time for the PRE-SERIES GROUP DANCE!
It’s to “Can You Feel It?” and if the “it” is “a cold sensation in the spine” then yes, yes I can. Not that you can really tell anything lasting or meaningful, but Dan Lobb looks horrific, Jason Donovan is trying far too hard, Anita Dobson is t-minus 4 away from being identified as a ringer, Russell is dancing entirely with his face (which is probably for the best), Chelsee’s just skipping around, Eggwina’s utterly lost, Alex dances everything like she’s being sexually harassed in the work place, Rory looks terrified, Holly’s fine, Audley’s not, Robbie is…there, Nancy’s not so much for acknowleging other people or the space they take up physically, Lulu and Harry are solid enough to last a while…I think that’s it? That’s everyone?
I think Natalie’s face says it all with regard to her chances. Oh well. At least he’s enjoying himself.
See you in October!