Strictly Come Dancing 10 – Launch Show

10 series of Strictly…10 series of rumbas, ruffles and rivalries. Chris vs Natasha. Jill vs Denise. Dawson vs Rampantpants. Matt vs Kara. Lisa vs The Dance Off. Logans vs Jordanzzzzzzz. Alesha vs The Internet. Nancy vs Dignity. Colin vs The Dummies. And now…to top off a DECADE OF DANCE DUELS.

Mandy Dingle vs Soapy Dick

Sadly, we are missing the usual whirl of headlines to begin this year’s series of Strictly. I always enjoyed the little 15 second spritz we used to get to freshen us up before starting. Spinning word-jumbles saying things like “BEST LINE-UP EVER!” and “JOE CALZAGHE TO LIGHT UP STRICTLY DANCE FLOOR!” and “BRUCE : I PROBABLY DEFINITELY WON’T DIE THIS YEAR, MUCH!”. Getting ever faster and more frantic and more inane until we BURST INTO the series proper with the requisite shot of James Jordan flashing his tiny nipples at hormonal middle-aged women. Instead we just get


the BBC car-park. If you look closely, you can just make out Lisa Snowdon trying to hop the fence yelling “I WANT TO PLAY!”. Some things though…

worp worp worp worp

remain ever the same. Put them away James, before Pac Man comes and bites them off (WAKKA WAKKA WAKKA). I don’t care how much fun your game of erotic leapfrog with Artem is, it’s time to focus. Because it’s time for the Red Carpet Preview, a now yearly event where the year’s celebrities, judges, presenters and pros all go and walk up and down BBC Television Centre Car-Park for a bit, and all in attendance wonder why they didn’t get tickets for the actual Launch Show instead.

And here they come! Fern Britton blethers that the whole thing is so exciting that she can’t quite believe she’s here! Denise van Outen gushes that the whole thing is like an ESSEX GIRLS DREAM! She’s got sequins, lashes, big ear-rings, a kebab and a yeast infection! What more could a girl ask for?! She turns to the attendant paps and


begins rehearsing the relationship she will have with the show’s female audience already, with a handy bystander as prop. Colin Salmon struts forwards straight into Tess


getting reacquainted with what a camera is. “THIS MAKES ME BE ON TV!”. Yes Tess, yes it does. Colin says that he’s done many premieres before, but this beats them all. Well yes, because you’re not making the sandwiches at this one.

Tracy Beaker sighs sadly that Jerry Hall’s legs are taller than she is, as Jerry preens and says she hopes to inspire drag queens all over the world, before


working that polyester weave like it’s Pink Friday at Ku Bar and she is lip-syncing for her life.

Richard Arnold shows up randomly and grins “from Jerry Hall to Johnny Ball…you’ve got them all!”. Which I guess shows the level of Daybreak’s budget if their Showbiz Editor is getting excited at the thought of The Maths Guy From The 80s. Johnny Ball himself meanwhile


is old, a fact I hadn’t been expecting to confront for a while yet, so THANKS A LOT TV. Kimberly Walsh meanwhile


…is on Erin Island? Well this is an odd development. Maybe Erin leases out timeshares in the off-season? She is a property developer now after all. Anyway, Kimberly says she’s been Strictlified, whatever that means, I think it might involve her bikini line. Speaking of yelling, Darcey bounds in all




SHE’S SO ALIVE! Maybe because that piece of paper tells her just how much less money she’s on than Alesha was. She promises she will “crack the whip” (oi, that’s Erin job! Or it used to be…) Len calls her “Classy Darcey”, which I will imagine will happen a lot this series. Unfortunately.

Bruce meanwhile says it’s great to have a new judge, but why only one?


Then someone explains to him that only one judge left and then he starts asking what happened to Arlene and didn’t Rosemary Ford used to be a judge and why are there two gay judges there only used to be one gay person per show in Bruce’s day and they always had to wear a hat so you knew.

Happily this bright bouncy youth is here to

So amazing

brag about how he and Victoria Pendleton are naturally more competitive and athletic and talented and just BETTER than all these mortals and they will crush them all beneath their mighty medal winning fists. Or something like that. Pendleton meanwhile is all


“FEAST ON MAH MEDALS, PEONS!” to the cheering crowds. OLYMPIC VILLAINS, I know I’m excited.

At this point we briefly, terrifyingly


fall down a wormhole to 1998. When Johnny Ball wasn’t so old AND NEITHER WAS I. Anyway, snufflers for Strictly Romance will notice Lisa and Richard there in the background, just saying.

The first parps of the theme tune strike up and Ola pulls


a better surprised face than any of the pros will do when they receive their SURPRISE partners who they definitely did not know about beforehand oh no. Either that or the sound system’s parked down her knickers. The parps? Mean that it’s time for the Pros to do the OPENING NUMBER OF THE SERIES!!!!

Oh. It’s not to Born This Way. Then who cares?

It’s instead to the Strictly Come Dancing theme tune, which apparently causes all the Strictly pros to Pied Piper their way into the studio, after a lengthy jaunt around Television Centre. They pirouette through the lobby, shimmy through the canteen, body-pop all the way down the lifts, trek for three weeks across the Jeremy Clarkson Dressing Room and Leisure Complex and wind up finally wining their waists across some leafy bit before entering the studio. Anton is


at the back throughout, like that nice Indian lady who accidentally wandered into the athletes parade.

Just before we get inside there’s a really bizarre bit where CLASSY DARCEY emerges CLASSILY


from a taxi (CLASSY!) when we’ve already established that she was out mixing with hoi polloi not two minutes ago. Why did all the judges pile back in the taxi again? Did Bruno forget his…sweets? The important thing is that someone slams the door on Craig’s nob or something because


ha ha Craig, and stuff.

Finally, FINALLY we get to the studio, where we learn, to my horror, that the theme tune has now been given lyrics, beyond the lyrics it already had, which were the best lyrics, because they were just yelling “HO!”. From what I can make out, the lyrics are :


Lyrics? Or a tape given in evidence at the trial of Lindsay Lohan? Only you can decide.


Look at them all huddling together for support. It’s alright guys, we’re never ever ever ever going to hear those lyrics ever again.

Initial wiggle over with, it’s time to reintroduce ourselves to Bruce and Tess. Happily he’s still doing the velociraptor shuffle across the stage to enter, although this year in a SHOCKING TWIST Tess is the one to receive his knee into her nethers. Although given that he struggles to get it up the first time (Poor Wilnelia) and the eventual succesful attempt is this


masterpiece of grace, I doubt we’ll be seeing it again. Everyone is in the middle of a standing ovation so Bruce tells them to sit down, as there will be plenty of time for that over the next three months, when Tracy Beaker will get a standing ovation every time she manages to climb up the stairs without pulling herself up on her elbows. He then tells Tess in wonder that they were stuck there, like this


like zombies. Like there was a gun being pointed at them by an errant producer you mean? Hmm… Hey, Joe Calzaghe’s in the audience, maybe it was a tribute to his jive. Bruce welcomes us to the show’s “premiere” and then


pulls this face. Yeah, get ready to see a lot of that one. Fortunately this is just a PRETEND FORGET (*phew*) as Bruce is pretending to have forgotten his catchphrase. No, not that on. Or that one. No, that one was Arthur Askey. It’s the one about how it’s nice to see us, to see us nice. That one. Hooray. Tess asks how his summer went and he says he was very busy training the Olympic athletes in the art of


light-entertainment pointing. I hope this means that Usain Bolt is being groomed to take over Bruce’s job, rather than Anton like everyone assumes (/used to assume before he said that bad word to Laila Rouass).

Everyone having applauded, we’re filled in on the course of events for this evening. The crux of the show is to pair up this year’s 11.7 celebrities with their 14 professional partners, but don’t worry we’re going to jam it full of pointless filler, including everyone’s favourite BBC Saturday Night reality show filler Mika. Let’s hope the promo provided by this show will guide his single to higher heights than his appearance on So You Think You Can Dance UK did for his last one, which is to say, number 72.

Now? It’s time for everyone to walk down the stairs, alone, for the very first time. Oh yeah, and also it’s time for this


erotic as always.

Anyway, highlights of the stair-walking include :

*swivvel swivvel*


Fern Britton almost going arse over tit on the first show.

Louis Smith shimmying like a sexual dynamo

Sid Owen shimmying like he’s got a trapped nerve

Jesus Christ

Victoria Pendleton’s TERRIFYING ABS!


Denise catching a glimpse of naked Anton, hiding under the stairs.



Johnny Ball having to stop halfway down the stairs to let the band catch up because he practically ran down them


“Hollywood Star Colin Salmon” which even he looks less than convinced by

dah dun


Once they’re all in place, Bruce tells them all that if they feel like they’re going to break down, or if they need a sympathetic ear, or if they just generally feel like talking to someone who can understand them and shore them up, then Dr Hamela will be on hand with her leeches and her ECT machine to provide the psychological after-care this show is renowned for. ANYONE FOR A TREPANNING?

Bruce then starts mumbling on about speed dating and nobody knows why and everyone just laughs until he shuts up. First of many, people. First of many. Once Tess gets him to stop by repeatedly stamping on his foot, he tells us that it’s time to meet our judges! Bloody Len,


currently sprawled across the desk like a saucy bandolero in a 1972 copy of Playgirl but mercifully with his clothes on, Irrelevant Bruno, and Panto Craig. Bruce tells us that we may have noticed a new face on the panel. That’s right, Craig’s had some more work done.


It’s like Norma Desmond never died isn’t it? Also Darcey is here. Apparently she was the Queen of the Royal Ballet, but now she’s the Princess Of Strictly. Yes, it’s fairly clear she’s only about 5th in line to being the most prominent Queen on this show. Bruce tells Darcey that he’s always enjoyed “that step” in ballet when they’re up on the tip of their toes. Darcey tells him that “that step” is called being “en pointe”. Bruce then, of course, yells “AND WHAT DO POINTS MAKE?!” but it’s been so long since there was one on this show that the audience have all forgotten, the end.

Bruce asks Len what he thinks of the line-up. Does anyone want to guess? Say it with me in unison. IT’S THE BEST LINE-UP THEY’VE EVER HAD. It’s the first time he’s personally heard of every celebrity on the show. That’s definitely my criteria for casting sorted then. Who would a septuagenarian who lives in America for half the year know?

Anyone want to guess who Bruno is wetting his diamante-crusted thong over? Yes, it’s all the most sexually attractive female contestants. Can’t wait for him to have to save them all in the dance-off, repeatedly. Craig…I dunno sneers and makes fun of Richard and Darcey says there’s an amazing variety of people and she’s really excited most of all by Jerry Hall because she has legs.


Thanks Darcey!

Our usual last stop in the preamble? Davearch, Lance Ellington, emogirl82, the rest of the Strictly Orchestra and, of course


THE MAN IN THE HAT! Oh I have missed you most of all, oh Man In The Hat.

Anybody want to get some couples going? I know I do.


Oh no, wait, I’ve changed my mind. Anyway, this is Fern Britton. The Christmas Specials these days are so amazing that I’d forgotten if I’d recapped last year’s (I had) and also if she’d been on it (she hadn’t) so I’ll just reiterate what I would have said on there about her, which is the same as everyone else thinks about her, which is that Fern went weird with the gastric band surgery and now she scares me.

Fern tells us that she’s been in television since 1980 as her younger


saner self peers out from Regional News. Fern tells us that this makes this her 33rd year in showbiz, which is odd because she’s only 24! In this universe, Johnny Ball is still only in his mid 40s so I’m happy to play along with Fern if that’s what she wants. She tells us that she and Phillip Schofield used to corpse up all the time on This Morning, in contrast to her replacement, Holly Willoughby, who only reacts at all to anything if she accidentally burns herself on a studio light and even then half her arm’s melted off before her face registers anything. LOOK!







is Tracy Beaker, who notionally is called “Dani Harmer” but I think that’s her Witness Protection Name from a previous life or something. Tess tells us all that if we don’t know her, then our kids definitely will. All the bitter Strictly Singletons at this point emptied their Haagen Dazs over their tv sets. Tracy tells us that she first became Tracy at the age of 12

Hiya Trace!

when she was exactly the same height as she is now. Also, hasn’t camera technology advanced so much since then? Tracy says that if Tracy knew that Tracy was doing Strictly Come Dancing, she’d say

Multiple Tracy Disorder

“BOG OFF!”. I think life in the Witness Protection Programme has left Tracey a bit…confused. Identity wise.

Tracy also assures us that she’s not JUST Tracy Beaker, oh no, she’s also done five series of Dani’s House, which is a shambolic sit com for kids. Whatever Tracy, this one’s been running for ten.


Yeah, Pasha wore that outfit last year on this show as well. In a non-toddler size, obviously. Tracy closes by saying that she’s really nervous and excited about doing Strictly, because she’s never done ballroom dancing before.


Stage school what now?


fahckin meduls!

is Victoria Pendleton and her FAHCKIN MEDALS. Just her ones from London you understand, her one from Beijing is still in the wash. I mostly love Victoria Pendleton for being an uncontrollable, un-media trained force of incredibly talented hysteria – to whit, exactly the sort of person who should be doing this show. She tells us that winning gold at the London Olympics was the greatest experience of her whole life and the come-down has left her hollow, empty, and purposeless. And so a natural fit for Strictly! She says that when people picture her, the first thing they see, other than her


FAHCKIN MEDALS THAT SHE WON FOR BEING THE BEST, is her crying her eyes out. Constantly. She then Mirandas to camera


“I do get quite emotional” and even this is said in a tone that brings to mind Hanna or Carrie or X Men or The Exorcist or Emma Bunton in the Too Much video or anything where hyper-hormonal teen girls levitate knives at your face with the power of their SUDDENLY HYPER-ACTIVE OVARIES. (This also, incidentally, is how voting for this show works, as any of you who have ever been around women will be aware. Nicky Byrne smiles and then the phone goes “BEEP BOOP BEEP BEEP BOOP!” all by itself). She tells us that the press have called her “Queen Victoria” on several occasions, because they’re dull like that. She doesn’t think she’ll be Queen of The Dancefloor (ha ha ha she so does) but she’s sure to give it a good go.

TO THE STUDIO! Fern already gets on my nerves by genuflecting and calling Bruce “Sir Bruce” out of nowhere for no reason. At least she’s not kissing his ring yet. Bruce responds by going “oh yes right” in that way he has when someone tries to make him wander even further off script than his sleepwalking can manage alone, and tells her that his gardening book says a fern will do well if it’s given plenty of manure. Well there’s the first week prop sorted out anyway.

Bruce points out all the show’s hunks to her as they line up.

Oh dear

And yes, we will be getting to Pasha’s hair later, don’t worry. Artem’s reaction to it there will do generally for the moment though. Speaking of which her partner is indeed


Artem Chigvintsev. Woo indeed. He capers across the floor like Old Man Steptoe and then Fern glues herself to him.


OMG JELUS KARA WILL BE FURIUS etc etc. You can tell Artem’s considering clutching his back dramatically and sneaking in an early round of Injury Porn. Ferm drums her fingers across his ribcage and grins


“IT’S LIKE CHRISTMAS!”. Yes, you didn’t win then either. Bruce tells Fern that she can’t take Artem home with her, that has to wait for the Week 4 comedy VT when he saves her from a Home Invasion carried out by Craig and his army of Minipops, dressed as Errol Flynn. SAVE HER ARTEM, SAVE HER SO SHE CAN…I DUNNO, WALTZ OR SOMETHING. Fern grins in response that she’ll treat Artem like a library book – just checking him out occasionally. Yeah, even then his front is marked with Kara’s inky stamp Fern, and some people say that Robin’s probably had a good thumb of his corners as well…

Next up, it’s Tracy Beaker. Bruce puts his hand on her back, then asks if it’s too cold for her and then puts it


flat on the top of her head. Add a pint of Baileys a bit of downwards pressure and you’ve got a lot of memories of Friday Nights at University for me there. Tracy is paired with Vincent, duh, and he makes


very sure not to put his hands anywhere Bruce just touched. The smells of Vicks is MURDER to get out, after all. They hug for a bit, and then Bruce tells her that she’s a “lovely little sweetheart”. I can sense Tina O’Brien and Chelsee Healey getting their “We’re Not Actually 12!” Support Group invitations ready already.

Pendleton and her


terrifying abs are next. I hope she and Erin have an ab-off at some point. Imagine the carnage. Everyone gives Pendlebitch a big round of applause and then Bruce actually gushes to her “see how FAMOUS you are!”. Yes Bruce, I’m sure that was the goal all along. He yells some more about how she won gold and Pendleton meanwhile just glares benignly at him as if to say


“touch my FAHCKIN MEDALS old man and it’s the last thing you’ll do.” Bruce tells her that she’s going to make a fortune now she’s retired and she just says “cool” and shrugs. I love her so much already. Bruce tells her to look along the line-up at her potential suitors, but the camera notably doesn’t pan to Brenda, because I guarantee you he is wearing a massive shit-eating grin already. Because he is


her partner. He slides down the bannister as Bruce snorfles “you’ve got trouble there”. He flaps merrily along to Victoria and grins to Bruce “I bet I’m the luckiest man in Great Britain right now”. Victoria grins happily at him, and it’s a much cheerier affair than last year, when Bloody Lulu screamed “NO NO NO NO” and called him an Aussie c*ntbag and quit the show and they had to wait 30 minutes whilst Ian went up a ladder and prised her out of the rafters with a crowbar.

Brenda and Victoria safely dispatched to plot world domination, Bruce asks Len what he thinks of the first three couples. Guess what? He thinks they’re the BEST FIRST THREE COUPLES EVER. Fern can really SHAKE IT. Vincent and Tracy are like MUNCHKINS! Brenda and Victoria will be riding their tandem SERENELY INTO THE STRICTLY FINAL! The thought of Victoria and Brenda on a tandem amuses me greatly. She’d be pedalling so much faster I think she’d snap his legs off at the shins. SERENELY INTO THE FINAL!

Next up, we get to see all the celebs meeting up for the first time. You will all know, if you follow the tabloids, that in order to throw off the press, they all went in disguise with Bruce Forsythe masks in order to throw off the press. You will also all know, if you follow the tabloids, that this did not work, as they were all identified and named within 5 seconds of leaving their cabs, apart from Lisa Riley and Colin Salmon because NO ONE CURR. Still, this was still more elegant than the CRYPTIC CLUES used as hints on the show website which went something like :


Here they are, arriving at Giant Lady Studios.


It’s like they found a way to make Eyes Wide Shut even less erotic isn’t it? As all the celebrities pull up, Robin tells us that most of these people will have never danced in their lives (…) so it must be so intimidating for them to walk into a dance studio. Yes, I’m sure the Olympic athletes and Italian Vogue covermodels are really piddling themselves at the thought of doing 5 seconds of the Gay Gordons in a dance studio. Erin, of course, takes a more realistic line and says that they


should be bloody terrified given what she’s about to do to them. This is the only half hour she’s going to get all series to dance with anyone with any hip action whatsoever, so frankly she’s going to grind them until they fall off. All the celebs troop in, and remove their masks and the collective squinting and “who?”ing from the pros resembles an Owl Sanctuary on crystal meth. Everyone kiss-kisses hello and then starts nakedly eyeing up the competition. Victoria seems particularly excited by Jerry Hall and openly starts flapping “STAY COOL VICKY, STAY COOL!”. Such a star. Everyone says how nervous they are and hug one another closely in fear.


Can you imagine hugging Pendleton? Like hugging The Shard.

For no reason, everyone gathers in a circle and people do their talents. Victoria rides Brenda around like a bicycle (<3), Sid juggles, Louis does a backflip, Jerry shags a rock star in front of them all just because she can, one of Thin Lizzy, and Fern does this and


everyone pretends to be impressed. Jerry and Lisa bond over how neither of them are ever going to be doing flick flicks off the judges table directly onto their partner’s shoulders whilst he rides around on a unicycle juggling billy-clubs on fire, and then Richard and Johnny do likewise, plotting to get Louis down the pub and “on the ale”. I’m so sure Richard Arnold drinks ale. So sure.

We return to the studio and it’s officially time for The One Bruce Joke That Made Me Laugh Of The Week as he tells us all that he plans to use the Bruce Mask to go out in public incognito.


What? I like it when Bruce is mildly surreal. WATCH OUT, EDDIE IZZARD!

He throws us up to the Tessanine, for our official first visit of the series.


Louis already looks bored doesn’t he? Don’t get ahead of yourself Louis, she hasn’t even started on your GUNS yet. Tess starts as she means to go on, telling us all that Tracy did a really funny thing when she found she got Vincent didn’t you Tracy? Didn’t you do a funny thing? Go on Tracy, do the funny thing you did when you found out when you got Vincent! It’ll make everyone laugh, it was SO FUNNY! Go on, do it in front of everyone! Everyone will laugh so hard!


Oh never mind, nobody laughed and now you look a bit silly oh well, RICHARD, I heard talk of tactics there, what are your tactics? Who’s your RIVAL?


Everyone leaves Dani stewing in her embarrassment (I think Jerry laughed. I like Jerry) so that Richard can fluster that he doesn’t really have any tactics and he’s sure nobody sees him as a rival, because he was saying to “Den” (so showbiz he only calls her by half her first name…he must know ALL THE STARS, like Madon and Rihan and Sinit) the other day that he was really looking forward to dancing the American Hot, and then Den told him that an American Hot is a PIZZA and the DANCE is called an AMERICAN SMOOTH, didn’t he say that Den? Oh how they LAUGHED.

I guess you had to be there.

Richard closes by saying he’s just pleased to be there with the mirrorball and a Malibu in hand. But you haven’t got a Malibu in your hand…oh he’s going to be exhausting isn’t he? Who hasn’t been trapped on holiday with people like Dick’n’Den? I envy you.

Tess then moves on to Victoria and asks her if she’s ready to move on rigorous training so soon after retiring from cycling? Yes, how will she cope with two hours a day of wafting a prop candy cane around and having to remember three whole waltz steps? We close on Fern being asked about the splits she just did in that VT there, and Fern demures that it was only a demi-split, because she couldn’t get all the way down. I’m sure Artem will be happy to give you the extra push next time Fern.

Now it’s time, says Tess, for the pros to really show us what they’re capable of. Happily for me, it appears what Artem is truly capable of doing is


posing for Gay Porn DVD covers. Given that it’s Artem, probably one of those ones where a college freshman has injured himself on the football field and then has to go for a full medical check-up…WITH SEXY RESULTS. You know, one of those ones…that you get. I’ve heard. Anyway, fortunately for heteronormativity


HERE’S KAREN. This pro-dance is to be a Latin showcase (just like every single dance this evening, SUCH VARIETY), and normally this is where they’d showcase Karen as the new pro, but apparently it’s far more important to show that your new judge can dance (even though we all know she can) than to show that the new person WHO WILL ACTUALLY BE DANCING EVERY WEEK can.

Seems logical.

The dance is being done to “On The Floor” by Jennifer Lopez ft Pitbull, although nobody does the Pitbull part, which is a shame. Personally I would nominte The Man In The Hat. Artem and Karen whirl about being SEXY for a bit whilst all the other pros hide behind the light-boxes and do some

Whiff waft

SEXY SHADOW PUPPETRY. I don’t know what that’s supposed to be. Maybe these are SEXY Rorschach ink-blots and you are supposed to view in them what your subconscious is most attuned to. Personally I’m seeing back problems. Once we’ve all had our ids probed, the pros emerge and waft around sexily and do lots of sexy lifts and that.


I’m not sure what’s happening with Karen there. Maybe she’s going for some sort of post-coital mid-air sprawl. Anyway, we learn in this routine that definitively the only new pairings of the series are Artem & Karen and Pasha & Aliona, despite all those internet rumours that he REFUSED to work with her because she said his mum was a pikey or whatever it was.


And what a handsome pairing they are. (THE HAIR, MY GOD THE HAIR)


The End

Tess tells us all that was very sexy, and asks us all to welcome out new dancer to the line-up this year, Karen Ha


…uer. You can bet she stood up out of her seat in the audience, just in anticipation. Oh well, Khoreography Korner for another year it is.

Time it is now to meet our first three male celebrities.

This is


Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffan…oh no, wait, it’s Sid Owen. Tess brazenly says that Sid Owen went from soap star to pop star. I don’t remember this happening. I mean…he had a song. Of course the most important thing to mention is that Sid played Ricky Butcher in Eastenders, a character notable solely for how a much better character said his name. That is to say


“RICKAY!”. Sid grumbles sadly that people yell “RICKAY!” at him at least five times a day, like going on this show isn’t going to make it ten times worse. I can’t wait for Bruce to get it going as a chant one week and then for Sid to have a psychotic break in the middle of the dancefloor a la Marnie.

Sid goes on to call his one performance of his one song, one time on Top Of The Pops “iconic”. I can’t think of a less iconic Top Of The Pops performance. Maybe something by Mantronix? Tess eagerly tells us that Sid can clearly both sing and act, a statement only backed up by the following


Gaviscon advert, but then goes on to ask “CAN HE DANCE?”. Sid says that he’s going in with an open mind, because some Eastenders people have done the show (oh they’ve all done the show Sid. I’m not convinced some of them haven’t done it twice) and done really well. We cut to shots of Kara Tointon and Scott Maslen and not…say…Jessie Wallace, or Gillian Taylforth.

This is


Nicky Westlife. He’s from the band Westlife. He tells us all that Westlife had


FOURTEEN, that’s right, FOURTEEN number 1s. And they were all crap. Yes, yes, apart from Flying Without Wings. Nicky brags that in terms of all time Number 1s Westlife are only behind Elvis and The Beatles.

Nicky says that his dancing experience started when he entered Westlife, and consists pretty much solely of standing up off stools for key changes. ALL LIES! Such a secret ringer. Nicky does assure us that he was the best dancer in Westlife, which I suppose is a bit like being the most handsome one in the Backstreet Boys. He tells us that he thinks all the other guys in the band will be shocked that he’s doing the show, and hopes they’ve got their Saturday night schedules cleared to sit at home voting for him.

This is


Johnny Ball. Tess tells us that he’s been teaching the nation’s children Maths for “almost half a century” now. This despite only having an O Level in the subject. SOMEBODY CALL MICHAEL GOVE! (Incidentally, given that “Think Of A Number” piloted in 1977, I’m guessing none of those children were Tess). Johnny Ball tells us that he is most known for the shows “Think Of A Number!” and “Johnny Ball Reveals All!”


which I think was a spin-off from “Keith Chegwin’s Naked Jungle” or something. Johnny grins benignly and tells us that, at 74 years old, he will be the oldest man ever to have appeared on Strictly, in a non-presenting/rasping your way through Moon River like a blocked up Henry Hoover capacity. By my count it’d make him the oldest person ever to appear as a contestant full-stop, but I like to think that’s a little dig at the potential gap between certain lady-slebs given ages and reality.


He seems a cheeky sort.

Finally Johnny reminds us that his daughter competed on the show, and came third and this shot


means this show so has footage of all of Zoe’s dancers rattling around somewhere so PUT THEM ON YOUTUBE YOU UTTER BASTARDS. Anyway, Zoe made the last three and Johnny says he’ll do his best to match her achievement. Any way you slice it Johnny, I’ll bet you’re in fewer Bottom 2s than she was.

Back in the studio, and Tess is in charge of pairing up the male contestants. She’s with Sid to start and asks what he thinks of the show so far. Sid says he’s loving it, but it’s very scary. Tess tells Sid it’s only going to get better from here, and directs his eyes to the meat marke…


sorry, line-up of highly skilled professional dancers. Tess tells Sid that he’s about to find out which pro he’ll be sharing the Strictly drama with, and Flavia all but holds up a little sign saying


“LOL! IT’S NOT ME!”. Because it is in fact


Ola. That’s not even trying is it? Compare that to her reaction to Paul Daniels of all people.


Seriously, just doesn’t compare does it? Anyway, Ola realises she’s perhaps not given it her all halfway across the floor and


gives another disinterested arm-thrust. Sid on the other hand yells that he’s SO PLEASED and that he had a dream about this. I think Ola might have been wearing fewer clothes in it. And yes, I will get a scientist on discovering how that would be possible RIGHT AWAY.

Next up, Nicky, and you’ll notice that Tess is


right up in there from the off. I’d say I hoped her hands weren’t cold, but we all know they’ve been down her pants for the last ten minutes. (WHAT? SHE HAD A WEDGIE! IT WAS TOUGH TO FINAGLE OUT!). Tess tells Nicky that he’s got lots of fans in the audience tonight (/two Westlife ments waving a flag, screaming, and secretly wishing it was Shane instead). Tess says that we all know that Nicky can sing and “put a tune together”, but we’re all wondering if he can dance.



It’s time to find out who will be Nicky’s UPTOWN GIRL! IT’S


KAREN! Good, now she can stop shrugging and wrinkling up her nose and doing “Nicki Minaj Pretending To Be A Nerd” smile. I know she was disliked by the So You Think You Can Dance public for being “too sexy” but body-language wise she’s practically turned up in nerd glasses, with her hair tied back and paint-spattered overalls. Nicky looks


thrilled. Karen wiggles over, and Tess welcomes her to the Strictly family, telling her that she and Nicky look hot together. Karen then puts her hand on Nicky’s pec and tries to make a sizzling noise but it sounds like a cat hissing

*coughs up hairball*

and then she does a full-on “WERP!” face as she’s “dragged” off. Oh Karen…I think we might have a complicated relationship.

Last to be paired up is Johnny, who gives Tess a quick kiss kiss before she asks him if Zoe has given him any tips as to how to succeed on the show. I’m guessing Zoe’s advice would run more to the ‘don’t call me “Pookie-Face”, don’t tell Tess what you yell at the tv every time she appears, and for Christ’s Sake don’t do your “elephant impersonation” ‘ variety. Johnny tells Tess that Zoe didn’t even know he was doing the show – she found out only shortly before it was broken in the press. A fact that is mostly due to the fact that it was broken in the press by…Zoe blabbing it all over twitter. Tess asks Johnny what Zoe’s reaction to the news was, and Johnny says she was SO EXCITED. Tess looks confused at this, as only a woman whose family members are merely a constant source of public embarrassment (*cough*VERNON*cough*) can do. She then reveals he is to be paired off with


Aliona. Her mouth isn’t moving and yet somehow I’m still lip reading “well, whoopie fuck”. She whirls over and Johnny tells her she looks beautiful. The brief thought of an hilarious sitcom with Aliona Vilani as Zoe Balls’ new step-mum flashes through my mind, and I quash it.

Tess turns to Bruno, and asks what he thinks of the pairings so far. He says that he just loves the characters! He really thinks that Sid and Ola are going to be the


WEAK-EYE AND BYANKOH of Strictly Come Dancing. He thinks they’re going to have a stormy relationship based on…nothing. Maybe he’s seen this series scripts lying around already. He then says he hopes that Karen brings out the wild side of Westlife! Tess reaction to this particular line is brilliant. It’s hard to capture in a picture but… remember the car insurance ad where Michael Winner gets shunted by a lady-driver. That face. The face that he does when hit. She does that face. Then Bruno calls Aliona a “hot crumpet” and Johnny a “distinguished English Gentleman”.


Thanks Bruno.

Next up? It’s time for more footage of the celebrities meeting for the very first time.


MEETING GIANT LADY THAT IS! As usual, Giant Lady is a magnificent termagent and tells the celebs that they’re here to WORK and she fully intends to push them til they bleed in pursuit of a 2 minute comedy faff around that nobody will remember as soon as the show finishes. Everyone practices away merrily – Lisa is very impressed that Robin can lift her heft, Michael gets everything wrong and Kristina and Karen sit on the side cackling like hags about how they’re going to molest all the young good looking guys.


And Sid. Just because. Sadly James beats them to it as he


tries to spring this series’ homoerotic rumba on Nicky too early, without his consent. NO MEANS NO JAMES!

Kimberley and Erin both express their deepest romantic feelings for Colin Salmon, with Erin saying she’d love to be his pro partner (will she ever learn?), and then Richard…licks Michael’s face or something? Everyone seems to be getting along famously and treating it as a lark so of course Olympian

Louis sits at the side saying he sees everyone as competition and glowering at Colin’s lifts. Meanwhile Victoria sits in a corner pouting and calls herself a doughball and all but starts punching herself in the face. OLYMPIC VILLAINS 2012! MAKE IT SO!

Johnny jokes that the boys are much better than the girls so far, but he’s sure they’ll catch up, Jerry bosses Anton around like she already knows, and Tracy Beaker complains about just how sweaty she’s getting. To be fair, there’s only about a pint of water in that body in total, so she has to be careful.

Back to the Tessanine now, and Tess asks Denise if she’s surprised how tough her very first taste of Strictly training was. Denise says it was very hard, and now she’s “about 10” blisters on her feet, making it very hard for her to walk in high heels. Somewhere in Britain, Giant Lady yells “GET OVER IT!”. Tess then turns to Jerry and asks what she’s looking for in a partner. Jerry says she’s looking for someone tall, handsome and with


“lots of stamina”. Dirty old besom. Bereft of anything coherent to say, Tess just makes fun of Jerry’s accent, which she is in such a position to do.

Next up? Guess what, it’s time for another LATIN SHOWCASE. Tess calls it an “American Smooth” but it bloody isn’t. It’s bits of minced up paso anus, ground rumba eyeballs and goopy salsambcha entrails all squidged together in one dance sausage with


Ian Waite and Darcey Bussell serving as the refined casing. I think it’s the one thing I like about Darcey – the fact that whatever blasted corner of It Takes Two hell Ian is currently languishing in, Darcey always insists she dance with him rather than any of the pros who actually still exist. They’re both very good dancers, doing their best to hold the thing together


SEXY HEIMLICH and all. Cough up that pretzel Darcey, cough it up! You may know more about dance than Alesha, but you’ll never have her mastery of nibbles. It’s a lot of lifts and splits and whirling to “Set Fire To Lorraine (Anthem for Aled Jones)” by Adele. This bit reminds me of the scene in Friends when the removal men came to


remove the elegant porcelain animals from Joey’s apartment. SUCH LATIN DRAMA. Here’s an end-pose for you.


I don’t think Ian’s much enjoying the view.

Bruce totters out and tells Darcey that she’ll be very pleased to know that she’s passed the audition. I’m not loving what that implies about Ian’s role in that, given the next time we’ll be seeing him he’ll be drawing giant white circles around Jerry Hall’s arse and seething. I AM loving that that implies that Arlene and Len did that whole routine at some point in their lives. He tells her that she is now a fully-fledged judge of Strictly Come Dancing, well done her. Darcey grins inanely and secretly thanks her stars the rumours about all the things she’d have to do before Bruce would let het be a judge were untrue. Well, most of them.

Next up? Let’s meet some more lady-slebs.



is Kimberley Walsh. Tess tells us that she’s recently been “Shrek’s Ogre Princess” but she’s more commonly known as a Pop Princess in Girls Aloud. In the cast of her role in Girls Aloud, Pop’s Princess Margaret, standing at the back smoking a fag and barracking flunkies down the phone about how much she’s going to get paid. She has been my favourite Girls Aloud since I learnt she basically managed them single-handed after Louis Walsh abandoned them because they were icky girls ew. The rest of my Girls Aloud ranking goes Nadine > Sarah > Cheryl > Nicola.

Any questions? No? Good.

The show itself makes it perfectly obvious what its own personal Girls Aloud ranking is.


The desire for her to turn up and create “OMG TAKE THAT SIMON!” headlines just by sitting in the front row looking bored off her tits and texting all the time is transparent and delicious. I think Kimberley does appear occasionally herself, honest. At least long enough to brag that they’ve had 20 Top 10 hits, 6 platinum albums and a Brit Award. And all of them weren’t crap WESTLIFE (yes, alright, except Life Got Cold).



is Lisa Riley. She’s famous for playing Mandy Dingle in Emmerdale and also for being the 90s second most common “LOL SHE A FATTY!” punchline after Vanessa Feltz on shows like “They Think It’s All Over” (a show that was ostensibly about sport, not endless jokes about women who were too fat/too thin. Ostensibly. Oh the 90s). Lisa tells us that Mandy was “everyone’s friend”, “loved life” and was “well feisty”. Was she also “larger than life”, “bubbly”, and “the life and soul of the party” with a “big heart and a personality to match” and an “insataible hunger for life”? You may say it’s cruel to make Lisa’s weight the point of all the jokes about her so far but…

nom nom nom

if she will sit there munching a chipolata…

Lisa says that she did loads of exciting tv work after leaving Emmerdale, but her most exciting time was spent when she “got naked for two years, in Calender Girls”. Now there’s devotion to the Method for you. Lisa closes by saying that she’s proud to be representing larger women on the show, and she’s “doing it for all the chubbers”. In my school, “chubbers” meant “erections” so…fair enough motivation I guess.



is Jerry Hall. Tess says that, after 40 years of supermodel stardom, she’s now making the move from “runway to rumba”. And then back to runway again as Anton choreographs an airborn Charleston for “Modes Of Transport” Week. Jerry reminisces about her days modelling in Paris at the age of 16, when she shared a flat with Grace Jones. Speaking of amazing sitcom ideas. Can you imagine? The episode where Grace Jones has to cook dinner to impress Jerry’s new French fashion boutique boss despite NOT BEING VERY GOOD AT COOKING (!!!!) was a particular classic.

Jerry recounts her dating history and then “Moves Like Jagger” starts up on the soundtrack and I just about manage to hear that her daughter told her she was too lazy to do the show before I have to fast-forward through the predictability of it all.



THIS is Denise Van Outen. TV star, West End actress, and one of the original “ladettes” along with Zoe Ball, Sara Cox, Mel from Mel & Sue, Su Pollard and Norma Major. For those of you not tied to the 90s, The Ladettes were a terrifying pack of feral young women, who shamed the nation by doing things that ladies had never done in public before like drink alcohol, wear trousers and present crappy Sunday afternoon magazine shows. They SHOCKED the nation, particularly a young Bruce Forsythe who consigned them all to Room 101 for “shouting too much”.



Anyway, the threat of hanging (being a ladette being the last crime in the UK to carry a capital punishment, fact fans) straightened Denise out and she became a leading West End Star, such that she was a judge on hit Andrew Lord Eyebags reality show “I’d Do Joseph” (and she did), marking contestant on their singing, acting, and dancing. Of course to hear Denise speak of it all she did in Chicago was

Ooooh me hips

sit in a chair. She never done no dancing, honest. A nation scoffs in unison so hard and loud that I briefly think I’m in France. What ignoramuses you all are for not knowing that Denise in fact appeared in a modernist revisioning of Chicago set in an Old People’s Home, featuring songs “They Both Reached For The Zimmer”, “Nowadays (Bloody Kids)”, “All That Jam”, “I Can’t Do It Alone (Bathe)”, “Tenalady Tango” and “Hot Honey & Lemon On Toast”. Matron Mama Morton descended for her big number (“When You’re Good To Mama, She’ll Get The Scrabble Out And Listen To You Talking About The War”) on a Stanna stairlift. It was beautiful.

We close with Denise saying she’s going to dance in a way she never danced in the 90s (because she went to Sylvia Young in the 80s) and that she’s going to ESSEX the show up, as the theme tune to “The Only Way Is Essex” plays loudly behind her. Yes because I’m sure the crossover audience between the two shows is HUGE.

To the studio now, to round off our lady-pairings. First to get assigned is Kimberley. That extra “e” is going to cause me no end of problems, I’m telling you now. Bruce tells Kimberley that she’s in Girls Aloud, and says that’s also a sign that’s on his dressing room door. This is because Bruce’s Dressing Room used to be the womens toilets for Top Of The Pops. Tess’ says “Boyzone”. I wonder who got the disabled toilets after Evil Moira Ross left and had to give it up. So much ROOM. Anyway, Kimberley is to be partnered by


PASHA’S HAIR! Pasha’s hair dances cheekily across the floor, leaving Kimberley


SCANDALISED. Maybe she’s urgently planning to call Sarah Harding to get her to reprise her role from the “The Show” video.

Snip snip

Speaking of which…



Next up Jerry Hall, whose segment is enlivened no end by the fact that she is openly reading Bruce’s cue cards

Hmmm...needs editing

the entire time. It’s almost as though she can’t actually believe someone has actually WRITTEN the drivel on them isn’t it? Bruce tells Jerry that she did the stage version of The Graduate. Jerry’s all “yes, and I sat on a chair throughout”. Bruce asks her about her nude scene and she said that yes, she did a nude scene. Bruce sighs that in his entire career he’s never been asked to do a nude scene, and then Jerry stomps all over his punchline by going “oh I’ve done a few”


and cocking a saucy eyebrow. You can almost see Bruce resolving to slash her tyres in the car-park later. And then getting Tess to help him back up again. Jerry will be partnered, of course, by Anton


given that all that’s left is a fat bird and a lairy Essex girl, I think he might genuinely be pleased. Anton does some mocking strutting across the floor, hugs Jerry, and calls her “bella”. Those Italian lessons Nancy gave him last year really paid off didn’t they?

Next up, Lisa Riley. Bruce reminds her that she played the barmaid in Emmerdale, and a barmaid pulls pints, so who would she like to pull this evening?


The married man or the homosexual? Lisa unwisely says that she’s not really fussed, which prompts Len and Bruce to get in on the action, grinning that they both love nothing more than a good looking woman who knows how to pull a pint. Yes, I can just imagine Wilnelia pouring a pint of Hobgoblin down at The White Horse. I hear the first time she met Bruce they enjoyed his pork scratchings together. Well…something bristly, wrinkly and crunchy anyway.

Lisa? Is partnered with Robin and


the tongue’s out already. Lisa for her part is also very pleased. Well, either that or


GORDON’S ALIVE! Robin sprints over and hoiks her up in the air, not for the first or last time. Bruce tells Lisa that they can’t get royalty for her, but Robin Windsor is as close as it gets. He certainly gets his tits out enough.

Oh, and in anti-climax news, Denise is with James.



Bruce turns to the judges, and tells Craig that he looks like he has something to say. Does his EXPERT DANCE EYE see something in those pairings that we, as mere mortals can not see? Is there potential in some of these couples? Craig says


“yes, the two attractive young women partnered with the non-joke pros look good, and the fatty and the old dear with Robin and Anton probably aren’t going to be very good”.

I’m so glad he’s here. Otherwise I’d be totally lost. Oh, also he hopes that Denise can calm James’ mouth down. What a fun third series in a row of that entirely non-fucking-boring feud we’ve got ahead of us.

Back to the Tessanine, which Tess says is like a Sixth Form Common Room. If it’s anything like my sixth form common room, that means that the floor’s all sticky, Michael’s broken the Fussball table, and Sid is sat in the corner playing “Heaven” by Bryan Adams 32 times in a row, crying because he just got dumped. She asks Lisa if she feels “safe in Robin’s arms”. I think any woman would feel safe in Robin’s arms. Lisa for her part says she’s very excited by his biceps. Tess then turns to Jerry and asks who will wear the trousers in her partnership with Anton. Jerry pulls a face as if to say


“who do you bloody think?”.

Careful Jerry, we all know what happened last time the woman in a partnership with Anton wore the trousers.

We then ask Kimberley if there’s going to be any Girlband vs Boyband rivalry between her Nicky. Kimberley guffaws about how Westlife were a terrifying runaway sales juggernaut who smashed everyone else in the 90s and 00s in fine powdery dust bar Robson & Jerome so…hopefully she’ll do a bit better this time around.



Next up?


Mika. Last year we got DOLLY PARTON in this bit. Juss sayin’. No wonder Darcey looks bored off her tits in the background. He’s brought his own broken-down-doll dancers to perform his new single “Celebate”. Fun Fact : I heard this song for the first time on MTV Italy the day before returning on holiday (Mika is big in Italy, apparently) and I turned to my boyfriend and told him “you know, the one good thing about having to return to the UK is probably never having to hear this bloody racket again”.


Want to find out who our last few men are? Why not?



is Michael Vaughan. Doesn’t he look thrilled to be here? I stumble around his VT for evidence as to why I ever found him attractive and I think


this is the closest I can come? There is some Blue Steel going on underneath that helmet. Alternatively, that could just be an Auton. Anyway, as Tess said, Michael Vaughan is the most succesful England Cricket Captain of all time so maybe I was drawn to his success? In which case there should be no danger of those feelings resurfacing on this show. Michael tells us that winning The Ashes in 2005 was the most proud moment of his life.


a) I love how piddly The Ashes is – it’s the wee-est trophy ever. I swear, the “Most Improved Asthmatic” trophy for age 10-11 football is bigger than that
b) You beat one team, well done
c) Nice to see Pietersen’s tendency towards drawing focus on himself was there from an early stage.

Tess asks aloud if the move from crease to crevice (aka Natalie’s cleavage) will “stump” Michael, but Michael seems unconcerned, as every cricketer on Strictly has done really well, although he feels most akin to

shake dat ass




is Louis Smith. He’s not quite so free with his medals as Pendlebitch, but give it time. If I know Flavia, they’ll be the only things covering his modesty in their Week 7 rumba. Tess tells us that Louis won silver on the pommel horse in London and also a bronze in…something. Ribbon twirling or zumba or whatever other disciplines they do these days. Louis says that “winning silver and bronze was massive, not just for the sport, or the country, but for ME”.

I’m saying, for Strictly, where every sentence along the lines of “I think I’m doing quite well” is leapt upon for signs of AWFUL SMUG ARROGANCE, he might want to…be careful? Especially as the soundtrack department leap into action to play “Sexy And I Know It” over a montage of Louis talking about how important his hair is to him whilst


looking gormless. Louis closes by saying that he’s won three Olympic medals now, but none of them are gold. HE DEMANDS A GOLD FROM STRICTLY! YOU! MORTALS! ARRANGE THIS FOR HIM!



is a comedown. It’s Richard Arnold, from off of Daybreak. For however much longer that lasts. I wonder what they’ll replace it with to get better ratings. Red or Black? Born To Shine? Love Island? Celebrity Wrestling? Tess tells us that “telly favourite” Richard Arnold has spent his career hob-nobbing/”sucking up to” the biggest names in showbusiness.



Richard tells us that in the name of breakfast tv, he’s been asked to do all sorts of things, which is he got the job in the first place. Also


getting a facial. Get ready to be wearing that outfit again in Famous Belgians Theme Week, Dick. We’re also informed that the one time he’s danced in his life ever before, ever, in his life, ever, honest (…) was on Let’s Drag Up For Comic Relief where he was the support prop for the public redemption of


Kate “I AM THE SHOW!!!” Garraway. They should have won, but some shit no-name comedian doing crap drag won AS BLOODY USUAL. (Rowland Rivron was the only worthwhile winner of Let’s Drag Up For Comic Relief and FINE, have a poll and be WRONG about it)

Richard closes by saying that BBC weekend variety shows and Bruce Forsythe were what he grew up on, so he’s really looking forward to being part of everybody’s Saturday Night. Probably sensible to keep it singular Richard, yes.



is renowned actor Colin Salmon.

Known or talked about by many people; famous.
famous – celebrated – noted – famed – illustrious


Tess tells us that Colin SHOT to fame on Prime Suspect.


So many stars in just one shot. Hollywood Star Colin Salmon, Star Of Stage And Screen Bob From Teachers, and SHOWBIZ LEGEND Him What Shagged Bianca And Bianca’s Mum. I bet Helen Mirren must look at her own sorry career trajectory and wonder what went wrong. From there he went on to star (/appear) in countless (about 12) Hollywood Movies. Colin reels off all the names of people who’ve co-starred in movies with him – Halle Berry, Judi Dench, Milla Jovovich, Colleen Nolan, Bianca Gascoigne, Jamelia, Spit The Dog, Arg from TOWIE, Danny Dyer… the list goes on.

Colin tells us that he thinks that the public are used to seeing him very serious, and “suited and booted” but he’s looking forward to showing the lighter side of himself on Strictly. He says he knows that he has rhythm (Natural Rhythm?) because he plays trumpet in a band, but dancing doesn’t necessarily follow.

Time to pair them up then. First up is Michael, and Bruce has joined Tess, either because she the producers have realised that she can’t be trusted alone with men or just because he’s got lost. Bruce, as he is wont to do, gets a bit star-struck and dribbly over meeting a SPORTSMAN! (just wait for Len to get hold of him) so it’s left for Michael to try out his SPORTSMAN! banter to fill the gaps.


This picture shows it better than his own words ever could. BANTER! His partner is


Natalie Lowe! Please say this doesn’t mean she’s fallen into the hole Erin used to be in – recipient of all lumbering sportsmen. A few series of that and Erin Island will get twinned with a new island with two massive peaks in the middle. She wiggles, winks, and flicks her hair over to Michael, as she is wont to do. Michael just says “see ya” and whisks her off.

Next up is Louis and it looks like there’s half a tennis ball stuffed down his trousers so of course


Tess is right in there. She congratulates him on being a winner in London and asks if he’s got his sights on the Glitterball Trophy. Louis makes a very poor show indeed of trying to sound like he hasn’t already cleared a space on the mantlepiece for it. His dance moves aren’t too sharp. Honest. His partner will be


FLAVIA! Feel the enthusiasm. If you listen closely, you can just about hear Erin saying “bloody hell, I’ll have him if you don’t want him”. Flavia spins over and they hug very gingerly. Tess asks Flavia if her acting like she had a migraine was her being EXCITED and Flavia’s all “yeah, that, so excited, woo, brilliant, amazing”. Off they sprint, Flavia about 6 feet in front of him, completely ignoring one another.

Twelve down, two to go. Our penultimate pairing is


of Richard, who rushes in completely missing his cue. TV veteran. He’s very quickly paired up with


ERIN. Welcome to the Island Richard, welcome to the island. I do think they actually serve Malibu there, and not imaginary ones. Lots of very not imaginary ones. She does two spins, runs the rest, then


goes limp. I like that this apparently means that Erin actually does get all the gays possible and Russell Grant was just TOO HOMO even for her.

This means, that yes

Flippin nerk

this is happening. That’ll end well.

Everyone paired up, it’s time to ask the judges their opinions. Again. Len starts, saying that it’s not JUST about the dancing, the couples have to actually get on as well. He also likes that there’s a contestant older than him for the first time – “Johnny Ballroom”. Actually Paul Daniels was older than him as well but I appreciate that Len is, you know, being funny and that. And also that nobody wants to remember Paul Daniels. Tess asks Bruno if this is the BEST LINE-UP EVER and Bruno just says that it’s “outstanding”. Ha! You can tell he refuses to say it’s the best line-up ever just because his bestie Alesha isn’t there.

Bruce then asks if Darcey likes her first Strictly line-up. Unless you’re counting Laila, Ali, Ricky Nipple and The Hobbit. Actually even if you are because…let’s face it. Not hard to beat is it? Darcey says she’s looking forwards to PASHA and KIMBERLEY because he’ll be giving her lots of PASHAN/PASSION.


Going to be a riot isn’t she?

Then we turn to Craig and everyone says


DISAHSTAH and then he slags off Richard & Erin and Jerry & Anton some, just because. Wasn’t he looking forward to seeing Richard Arnold 40 minutes or so ago? His bitchery’s not even consistent.

Everyone assigned, and judges bollocks completely spouted it’s time for the FIRST DANCE. This is where we spot who’s really good, and who just looks good on paper. Imagine if we’d had this in Series 7. Calsaggy Mania would certainly have been less of a pre-show phenomenon wouldn’t it? Poor bookies.

It is notable for :


Dani wearing this Face Of Fun throughout.


Johnny gurning forever

Fern moving with the speed and motility of an oil tanker

oh yeah

Louis never not being confident he is the best


It always being Abs’o Clock Chez Pendlebitch.


Them giving Jerry all the bits they would have given Nancy if they’d just recast her like they should have done.

The bit where Lisa and Richard do bottom-bounces and they might as well be doing it under a banner saying “THIS YEAR’S KOMEDY KONTESTANTS!!!!”

Despite the fact that it’s being danced to “Don’t Stop Me Now” it doesn’t in fact end with everyone getting dunked under a tiny little bucket of glitter, WOSS THE BLAHDDY POINT.


Jesus Wept Denise, you’re not in Les Mis.


42 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 10 – Launch Show

  1. Serenity Now!

    Fantastic recap to kick things off Monkseal, midseason form right out of the gate.

    I particularly liked the Karen Hauer-Nicki Minaj nerd chic smile spot and a Friends reference never fails to get me all bittersweet pining for those simpler times which seem much longer ago than they actually are- Friday nights, set the video, Friends then Frasier ahhh…..

    Michael Vaughn’s uber-hetero dart down the intro stairs promises a textbook year of ‘I’m not wearing that!’, ‘Not too many sequins’ and ‘did I mention I’m married…to a woman…and I do sex to her and everything’.

    Other miscellaneous inventory:
    – Kimberley>Cheryl>Sarah>Nicola(original teeth)>Nadine
    – ‘Life Got Cold’ is a forgotten classic of the GA ouvre I’ll have you know and the greatest song in music history to feature the top deck of a double decker as a video location.
    – That Lisa Riley chipolata pic is genuinely quite disturbing but can’t…look…away.
    – The Roland Rivron ‘Weapon of Choice’ dance was secretly kind of ace wasn’t it? even if I was half expecting a heart attack for comic relief by the end. Still though, nice to see what he gets up to between hootenannies.

    1. monkseal Post author

      a) I almost refused to reply to this comment on the ground that Nadine was placed last in that ranking I’ll have you know

      b) “9 To 5” by Lady Sovereign disagrees

      c) You wait until she munches on a savaloy

      d) Rowland Rivron is always c-level reality tv gold. Having an actual nervous breakdown on “Trust Me – I’m A Holiday Rep”, inspiring Ingrid Tarrant’s muse on Deadline, and righteously owning “Let’s Drag Up For Comic Relief” even though they were clearly desperate to have a female winner.

      1. Serenity Now!

        Just been to popular new website youtube and I’ll concede the Lady Sovereign video is entertaining, although clicking on the wrong version saw me confronted by the human buzzkill that is Preston from the ordin-ary boys.

        As for Nadine though, aside from singing her name to the tune of ‘Is That You Mo-Dean?’, I’ve never seen much use for her, although the fact that she and Cheryl clearly hate each other would make a GA reunion compelling.

      2. monkseal Post author

        a) Nadine is the one who can sing is the use for her (also Nicola a bit but…)

        b) they ALL hate her, not just Cheryl. This is the joy of Nadine.

  2. Monaogg

    Reminded me of the strange sweat stain on the front of Karen’s outfit. Nasty! 😮
    Bruno’s face is a perfect version of a cartoon learn French book illustrating “hot” :mrgreen:
    I am hoping the producers (apparently from the local psychiatric ward) believe Jerry has the power to stop Anton (based on the bad boys of rock she has tamed).
    Hope the luscious Mr Samon does not skate off the show too early.

    And the blog was perfectly timed for the coffee to finish perking. :mrgreen:

    1. monkseal Post author

      This comment made me realise there was no “WILL VICTORIA BE THE ONE TO FINALLY TAME BRENDA?!?!?!?!?!” this year. He truly has come of age *sniff*

  3. Jenny

    Thank you Monkseal!

    Love the Denise poll – to which I honestly needed an “all of the above” option to reflect my erm…conflicted feelings about her (she was Pro-Prenj – so not all bad). And I picked up some iciness between Tess and “Den” – could this be the new Brucie vs Craig (contestant) feud?

  4. Dancing Cake

    LOLZ – “Alesha vs. the internet” – and that was only three lines in! Great stuff Monkseal.

    I still can’t accept Darcy’s Stepford “I’m funny and lively now, yes I am” – like Kate Garraway on morning TV trying to be hip.

  5. Neil K

    pmsl at Gordon’s alive!

    I’ve got my annual Strictly bet on with my deputy at work too. My Denise, Louis and Dani versus her Kimba, Pendlebitch and Nicky. Something tells me I’ll be losing some cash. 😦

  6. stevenperkins

    The lack of appreciation for ‘Fool Again’ in your poll is upsetting me greatly. That is clearly the best Westlife song of them all. (I used to sing it in the car, back when I had one.)

    Also: Kimberley > Nicola > Nadine > Cheryl > Sarah

    1. monkseal Post author

      I maybe don’t mind Fool Again, although admittedly I can’t remember the verses (LOL AT THE IDEA OF ANYONE REMEMBER THE VERSES OF A WESTLIFE SONG).

  7. S

    I’m so glad this is back. I like Karen’s style so far, but I didn’t see her series of SYTYCD. Brendan and Victoria to ride to victory.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I liked Karen in her series of SYTYCD but she seems to be going turbo “what? LIL OL ME” *shoulder shrug* *wrinkle nose* in order to pre-empt the shite she got from fans/voters of that show. Might be the best for her, but I’m sure we all know by now I just want straight up filth from her.

  8. Louise

    Loath as I am to ruin a running joke, I should point out that Richard actually said “the mirrorball, the marabou and you”, i.e. the fluffy feathery stuff they put on dresses and mules (the shoe, not the pack animal), as opposed to Malibu the alcoholic drink. Such shameless sucking up to the Tesspot should be grounds for hanging him with his own feather boa, though, to be honest.

    I also now gleefully shout “THE MAN IN THE HAT!!” (yes, in all caps) at the TV as soon as the camera pans to Davarch, which is ALL YOUR FAULT. Thankfully, I watch SCD alone or I’d be getting a few funny looks.

    Thanks to watching too much NCIS:LA, I keep wanting to refer to Victoria/Brenda as Camp Brendleton. I can’t see any other final four than V/B, Kimsha, Louvia and Team Try-Hard (James/Denise) based on initial showings, but I’m secretly hoping Dani will turn out to be the second coming of Louisa Lytton because her jive with Vincent is still one of my faves.

    Also, yay for Ian!!! He must do a dance every week (don’t care who with…)

    1. monkseal Post author

      I wonder if we’re going straight from 5 to 3 as we have done in the last couple of series, or if the FUPPING dance-off coming back will ruin that somehow as well.

  9. seminaranalyse

    “Everyone assigned, and judges bollocks completely spouted it’s time for the FIRST DANCE. This is where we spot who’s really good, and who just looks good on paper. Imagine if we’d had this in Series 7. Calsaggy Mania would certainly have been less of a pre-show phenomenon wouldn’t it? Poor bookies.”
    two words: Michelle Williams

  10. Dancing Cake

    P.S. Just watched the Laila and Anton vid and OMG – I’d forgotten that one, but it’s the perfect reminder of why Anton should never, never be given a contender/be in the show at all. Just ignore LaIla and just watch Anton – drunken Dad dancing PERSONIFIED.
    P.P.S. I missed “modes of transport week” first time I read this – genius, Monkseal. Did Victoria insist that was written into the contract before she signed up?
    And can we have a Girls Aloud poll please? (1. Kimberley; 2. Nicola; 3. The other three.)

  11. Left Feet

    Reckon there are six maybe seven contenders this year (I hope!!). There always seems to be every year one or two you help will be good but end up crap like Michelle Williams.
    I think that it will, be Louis, Kimberley and Pendlebitch/ or Tracey Beaker in the last three this year. DVO will start well but end up in loads of dance offs. Vaughan may be the dark horse but can’t really see him in final as sport fans will more likely go to the Olympians.

  12. jessikart

    Louise, my seven year old and I now shout ‘MAN IN THE HAT!’ on every single episode. In fact he appeared over my shoulder earlier (my seven year old, not the Man In The Hat, that would be weird) when I was reading this and said ‘MAN IN THE HAAAAAT!’ in soft, purring tones. We have missed Man In The Hat.

  13. durnovarian

    Pure genius, as ever. But I think the ‘worst lyrics’ poll really should have included the ones for the EastEnders theme tune and “sung” by Anita Dobson.

  14. Kylie Wilson

    Haha “FAHCKIN MEDALS”, I imagine that being said in a loud Cockney accent like in Eastenders. 😀

    I refuse to think of the possibility that they PAID a songwriter to come up with those lyrics, they have to have been hastily scribbled on some scrap paper by a Strictly exec in the office the night before recording.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I think they stuck a load of mid 90s dance track lyrics in a hat and just pulled them out again in a random order.

  15. teacherlady

    I cannot believe you omitted Darcey’s vagina-gate moment! It’s coz you’re gay, innit tho’????!!! Perhaps you plan a blog-post dedicated to THAT moment alone!?

    Honest to God, I wept!

    Cannot wait for next Friday. Such comedy potential. Could be the best (comic) line-up EVAH! SEV-AHN!


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