A Farewell To Katya


OK, I have to admit, between Arsey Fusshole, the looming spectre of such amazing contestants as Ricky Butcher, Michael Vaughan, the boring one out of Westlife and some cycle bint (YOU AIN’T NEVER GOING TO BE REBECCA ROMERO, SO DON’T EVEN TRY) I was already struggling to summon up enthusiasm for the upcoming run of Strictly. And now Katya’s been cut? For shame. As memorial to her glamazing ways, here, in no particular order, are my own ten personal favourite Katya Virshilas moments.

The Pen Javelin: Katya was just the latest in a long line of Eastern European female pros who were portrayed as dominatrixes in the training room (never let it be said that this show ever missed an opportunity to stereotype by nationality). But Katya took it all one step further when partnered with Phil “Tuffers” Tuffnell when, in between shoving around his wheelchair and playing nursemaid, she seemed determined to actually cause him injury. Shoving him around, yelling, and in one glorious moment, hurling a pen at his leg. Even Miss Whiplash was never literally true.

Never ever ever letting go of Len voting to save Ricky Groves over Phil Tuffnell EVER : At the time of her elimination in her first series she pulled a spectacularly sour face. The next day on It Takes Two she took up pretty much the entire episode explaining why the judges were in fact wrong to eliminate Phil Tuffnell, and diagramming out exactly how the dance-off was woefully misconceived and unfairly implemented. When I saw her and Pasha on tour three years later she was still banging on about it. In this complete inability to let long-settled grudges go, Katya revealed herself to be truly One Of Us, the Strictly Faithful.

The Hat:


Nuff said.

The Kiss Heard Around The Ballroom: Many have been the moments on these dance shows, where a pro has choreographed in particularly nauseating “romantic moment” between themselves and their celebrity. They brandish a rose, they hold hands sadly, they kiss chastely in a shipper-baiter sort of way. I guess it plays well with the Mills & Boon audience, but obviously I personally prefer when a pro choreographs in a moment where their celebrity roughly grabs a judge by the head and rams their tongue down his throat. Truly the most classically romantic moment ever choreographed on Strictly. Klaus is a lucky man.

“I Seen You Doin’ A Little Cha Cha”: Judge-bickering is a flavour of Strictly drama that has become fairly tired in recent series, as the show’s desperate attempts to make it seem like James Jordan was ever even remotely in danger of not getting rehired demonstrate. But Katya managed to carry off her own low-key brand of judge-bickering with aplomb, mostly because everyone concerned seemed determined to pretend it wasn’t happening. Katya would stand there, constantly pulling shocked, appalled, disbelieving faces, and the judges would ignore it, where one eye-roll from Aliona would provoke a month-long sulk from Len. Katya’s greatest moment of judge-snipery was bringing up the cha-cha that Craig had done during a Christmas Special that had just filmed, and then kissing her teeth like a gangsta. So ghetto-fabulous. So Katya.

“I’m Thinking Sexy Thoughts”: Gavin & Katya’s relationship in Series 8 was a joy to behold. Whether she was mocking his ab-worship, or if he was wondering if she was feeling hot because the air-con was broken, or she was screaming “DON’T REVEAL MY WEIGHT ON NATIONAL TELEVISION!” or he was muttering that it was only Week 2 leave him alone, or they were both bonding over his hate of jive and all related arts, their low-key bickering brother & sister vibe was a delight in the fairly overwrought final stages of Series 8 (“The rumours are true! We are in love!”, “SCREW YOU ALESHA, MY AMERICAN SMOOTH WAS A WORK OF CONTEMPORARY ART!”, “Oooh James, I’ve accidentally come to training without my KNICKERS on again, won’t Ola be JEALOUS?!” *bends herself over potters wheel and cues up “Unchained Melody”*). Also there was that amazing week where they both ganged up Scott Maslen because Gavin had beaten him by about 2 points, once. But I digress. Really the whole Katya-Gavbot relationship can be best summed up by the legendary exchange :

Katya : I’m thinking sexy thoughts
Gavin : Good for you

The Satanic Devirgining: Series 8 Hallowe’en was, in general, a triumph of high-concept. Leaving aside briefly Tiny Tina being dressed up as Olivia Newton John (after being struck by lightning) and Flavia the Sharted Hamster, the costumes were actually fairly creative. Vincent & Felicity as some sort of Illuminati/Medici hybrid. Artem and Katya as the Phantom and his Christine. And of course TIMEWARP! But trust Katya to turn the whole affair into some sort of wanton spookhouse porno, with her a virgin ravished and ravaged by the devil. Aliona may have got modern and art-school with her performances on occasion, but did she ever try to recreate a hymen breaking via the MEDIUM OF DAHNCE? No, no she did not. That I’m aware.

Katya Plays Rugby: I’m almost put off including this, just because of the sad attempt to recapture the magic with “Tennis With Dan” (number of Dan Lobb related Katya moments on this list : 0), but Katya randomly deciding she was going to play rugby one week was just inspired. And by “play rugby”, I mean “roll around on the grass squealing”


So glam. So dignified.

Team Ka$ha vs Team Bratalie : Whilst Series 9 was…not the best for Katya generally, it did see the formation of the Strictly Power-Couple that was Team Ka$ha. Where before I’d never really noticed Katya in non-celeb performance, she just seemed to work with Pasha, producing firstly a notable jive around Caro Emerald, and then even more memorably this. I’m genuinely sad we will never see the likes again.

The Gav-Waltz: In all seriousness though, I’m sad that Katya never got a chance to truly shine (and no, being forced to do a naff Xmas themed dance with him from Blue is not a chance to truly shine) with a talented partner. As it was I think she got the best she could of the three semi-duffers she got landed with. And the moment that best shows this is Gavin Henson’s waltz. Flashback to the opening group dance of the launch show, and Gavbot could barely walk in time with the music. And yet, a month later, on the first Performance Show, he produced a waltz so competent you’d think that Erin had been involved with it somewhere. His dancing never really got all that much better from there (particularly in Latin) but it’s one of the most marked improvement we’ve ever seen on the show. And it was to “You Light Up My Life” as well, which…gaymazing. Gaymazing indeed.

48 thoughts on “A Farewell To Katya

  1. great big Ian fan, come back, come back........

    I feel bereft. Katya was so epicmazing, so ‘chuh, yeah, right’. Loved her with Tuffers and the ‘mid off, mid on, two slips, a gully, backward point, deep square leg, deep mid wicket, one fielder out in cow corner’ approach to dancing. I know sod all about cricket, but I do know that Katya (not ‘Catcher’ Tess are you listening?) was the ultimate in kicking arse. Loved the quickstep(?) she did with Gav where she made a motif of shoving his face in the right direction, as though it was fun and not at all compleeeetely necessary.

    1. monkseal Post author

      That was indeed the quickstep. I have no idea what story she was trying to tell with that dance, but whatever it was, I liked it.

  2. BuddyB

    I’m gutted, not because Katya has been dropped as I don’t mind pro changes these days :p, but because she’s the only one to be dropped. She wasn’t even an echo of an echo of a bleep on my radar for the boot.

    I never thought I’d see the day where if I had to choose between SCD and DWTS, I’d choose DWTS but that day has arrived.

    I KNOW that Aliona is going to rack me off big time because they didn’t getting rid of her, so she’ll keep on breaking the rules now because they’ve asked her back AGAIN.

    Maybe this is the year I watch the show on iPlayer.

    1. Left Feet

      She’s the current Champ there were never going to get rid of her after this year, besides she is the sort rebel with/without a cause who is there to make Len blow his top. Her and Ola (Dads fave) are the safest female pros I reckon,

    2. monkseal Post author

      I’d still go with Strictly. Twice a year is too much for me – makes each series feel less important. (You know, as much as any reality show feels important).

  3. Left Feet

    Have the Beeb confirmed that she is not coming back? The dancer lineup has not been offically announced has it?
    Anyway if gone I think perhaps the last series with “Mr Lobb” proably gave the Beeb an excuse, I had always found her a sparky character among the lady pros who actually gave the judges (well Craig really) as good as she got, most of the others either giggle or say nothing not the Kat’s style. None of her parthnership really gelled for me Tuffers too lazy, Gavbot too gormless, Lobb too smug. Not her fault.
    Don’t worry I’m sure Strictly 10 will be OK not sure how Arsey (Darcey) will work out just hope that Craig will not look too smug sitting next to her as it seemed to me that he played a part in getting the Beeb to get her. Celebs still a long way to go no good woman have been rummoured, its only June.

  4. min

    I’m preferring to think that it’s because she is getting married in the summer and so she’s not wanting to do it. It’s working a little bit.

  5. Carl

    Ever since you (I think it was you) said that one some panel show or game show she was the pro no one knew, I thought that this might happen.

    These shows are all about assembly lines, and Katya has never been able to fit into the easy role. The only other person who doesn’t is Natalie, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s next on their list to go.

    I remember her jive with Pasha, which I just loved, and how the audience erupted into huge cheers when they saw her. She was sitting on the judges’ table, fanning herself, and she was playing up the joke so brilliantly you just loved it even more. I don’t think I’ll be watching that again for a while.

    1. stevenperkins

      I worried about Natalie too, but I think the fact that she managed to last so long with Audley who a) couldn’t dance and b) didn’t have much of a compatible fanbase going in suggests that she’s developing some support of her own. I hope they compensate for the absence of Katya by giving Natalie the ringiest ringer that ever ringed this year and giving her a long-overdue win.

      I’d kick Ola off, given the choice. Nothing against her, but she’s probably the weakest choreographer of all the female pros, she’s already won, and with any luck James would throw a huff and resign in solidarity. Everybody wins.

      1. Carl

        I could never figure out if they were trying to ease Natalie into taking Erin’s place, as no one else has managed to hide the flaws of a weak dancer as successfully as they each did. This was probably just a cool-down period after two controversial partners. Hopefully next series she’ll have a contender and they won’t become some flashpoint.

        I’d also get rid of Ola, because she just has her partners do the minimum of work and this devolves into a depressing faux-populist WE’LL SHOW YOU ELITIST DANCE-DOING PEOPLE WE R ENTERTAINMENT poutfest, but I always assume she’s very very popular with the casual viewer, or the people who think she’s sexy, Since the show is moving more and more toward the casual viewer, I think her job will be safe, unless James finally dropkicks a judge or they decide they want a younger model (I won’t be too surprised if that’s Katya’s replacement).

      2. Left Feet

        Sorry but the BBC don’t really care if a pro is overdue or not a win.If that was the case then Anton and Erin would be more overdue wouldn’t you think? This is their 10th series this year. Flavia, Vincent and James are doing therir 7th series and Kristina her 5th all more overdue then Natalie. And they dumped Ian Waite before he won.

    2. Allgrownup

      My defining Katya moment was in the “Here come the girls” group dance when she did those batucadas at full speed and winked at someone in the audience. That was when she was a “keeper” for me.

      1. Allgrownup

        And then after that even more epicmazingly she blows Brendan a kiss. Brilliant! 😀

      2. monkseal Post author

        a) MY EARS

        b) Ah back when they let Katya be blonde, before Evil Moira Ross forced her to dye her hair because she thought it confused people.

        c) I know this is a fairly unpopular opinion, but Jesus Christ every time I watch Matthew & Aliona together I’m reminded they have less chemistry than me and my 4th year Biology teacher.

    3. monkseal Post author

      It was Pointless. Going by them, Lulu was the most memorable contestant of the last series. I despair of the people who answer the Pointless surveys sometimes.

  6. Marcela

    The moment I read the news I remembered of you… This is so unfair.

    Kasha was best pro partnership (bar Vincent and Flavia). Not only they are amazing dancers but they had good chemistry together which cannot be said of many pro couples, even the married ones -ahem, Jordans.

    Who’s is going to carry on with the great hat tradition now? *sighs*

  7. seminaranalyse


  8. Jja1987

    I’m… Actually not that bothered by Katya going so much as I’m bothered who’s staying. I didn’t really have an opinion either way of Katya, but I would have preferred to see Anton, Aliona, James and Ola leave before she did.

    1. Carl

      She was in the SYTYCD series right after I started watching. I’d wondered if they might want to go for sex appeal and all that, since the only one of the current women who seems to be sold based on sex is Ola.

      1. monkseal Post author

        She wasn’t bad – got stuck with an awkward partner, started off strong, then was constantly in the bottom 3 girls and saved by the judges, until she seemed to give up. I think she also got divorced in the middle of the series, which didn’t help her popularity. I think people thought she’d ditched her hubby because she wanted to be a star, which made no sense AT ALL, but such are reality show popularity contests.

    2. monkseal Post author

      *cue speculation they’re going to introduce mambo as a competition dance, for the 4th series in a row*

  9. Jenny

    Oh no! I’d missed that news…what with this and taking on Darcy and Len being a dick and Craig increasingly being a dick (knowing he has the casting vote) I’m not sure if I will be able to stomach another series of Strictly.

    For my sanity you will have to stop re-capping it …

    Oh god, I’ve just realised that Bruno (BRUNO) is my main motivation now for tuning in.

      1. Left Feet

        Craig mentioned in an interview that Darcey will most probably sit next to him where Arlene used to sit. So Craig, Darcey,Len, Bruno order. Thats where she sat as a guest judge.

      2. monkseal Post author

        I doubt the presence of a human blocking his way will stop Bruno if he’s feeling sufficiently molesty.

  10. Nikki

    Katya was the only SCD pro I followed on twitter. Says it all… 😦 I will miss team Ka$ha – they made SCD series 9 for me.

  11. Stormy

    *just sits and seethes as Aliona is STILL there* Well, %&@# me.

    Then again, I’m not sure there will ever be a pairing so perfect for Katya (celebrity-wise) than Gavbot. That was a magic you just can’t duplicate. I have a feeling that if she’d stayed, it would be Dan Lobb-level of lack-of-chemistry year after year. 😦 I’ll miss her, though.


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