It was 10 years ago today, Davearch got the band to play.
A decade of dance ago, the band played the first notes on that famous theme tune, and the very first Strictly Come Dancing went to air. Some things were very different (the judges seating arrangement, the Tesspit, Craig’s hair) and some things remained much the same from that episode onwards (the ringer downplaying their West End experience, Erin hauling a decent waltz out of an otherwise clunky sportsman, Bruce’s hair (give or take the odd dry-clean)). Since that fateful day 147 celebrities, 37 professional partners and 4 long-forgotten dance-troupe members have strutted across the stage, in varying shades of orange (dress and skin), all fighting for a tacky lump of plastic and/or ultimately a slot as a Britain’s Got Talent judge. So what better time to look back across 10 years of sequins, spray-tans and squinting at the screen trying to work out if that thing on Tess’s dress was a stain or on purpose. What follows is a barrage of stats, facts, blatant opinion, and the much-anticipated results of your polling on what was the GREATEST SERIES OF ALLLLLLL TIIIIIIME.
THE GREATEST PRO OF ALL
We start with probably the most boring stat of all. The greatest professional dancer of the first decade of Strictly was Aljaz Skorjanec, with a 100% victory rate and a cute tush. Obviously if you disagree then there’s the Strictly Pro Poll in August to vote in (*hint hint*) but as far as the numbers are concerned, there’s nobody finer. Meanwhile, the other 36 LOSER pros ranked by average finishing position are as follows :
2. Kevin Clifton
3. Hanna Karttunen
4. Artem Chigvintsev
5. Anya Garnis
6. Pasha Kovalev
7. Brian Fortuna
8. Natalie Lowe
9. Camilla Dallerup
10. Ian Waite
11. Brendan Cole
12. Lilia Kopylova
13. Vincent Simone
14. Darren Bennett
15. Erin Boag
16. Aliona Vilani
17= James Jordan
17= Robin Windsor
19. Matthew Cutler
20. Karen Hauer
21. Ola Jordan
22. Flavia Cacace
23= John Bynes
23= Hanna Haarala
25. Karen Hardy
26. Katya Virshilas
27. Anton du Beke
28. Kristina Rihanoff
29. Izabela Hanna
30. Hayley Holt
31. Nicole Cutler
32. Iveta Lukosiute
33. Jared Murillo
34. Paul Killick
35. Janette Manrara
36. Andrew Cuerden
37. Kylie Jones
38. Hazel Newberry
THE GREATEST LADY CELEB EVER!
Yet more recency bias then. According to the Strictly judges, according to my personal and unique way of working out averages, last year we witnessed the greatest female celebrity to ever tread the Strictly boards. Pipping Alesha at the last as she touched the divine, can anyone over the next decade hope to top her? I guess it depends how much of a DIRTY RINGAH they are… The rest of the top 10 fall as follows :
2. Alesha Dixon
3. Abbey Clancy
4. Kara Tointon
5. Rachel Stevens
6. Denise van Outen
7. Chelsee Healey
8. Pamela Stephenson
9. Zoe Ball
10. Lisa Snowdon
THE GREATEST NOT-LADY CELEB EVER!
It remains open to speculation whether it was his fabulous pecs which influenced the judges into declaring Ricky Nipple the greatest male celebrity dancer of all time or if it was, as Craig later said, because “that series was so crap I just gave everything a 9 until it went away”. I may be paraphrasing there. Again, if you disagree , the Strictly World Cup begins in June (*wink*). The rest of the top 10 blokey-bloke judge favourites are :
2. Harry Judd
3. Jason Donovan
4. Tom Chambers
5. Austin Healey
6. Matt Baker
7. Scott Maslen
8. Colin Jackson
9. Mark Ramprakash
10. Gethin Jones
The 5 Greatest Comedy Contestants Of All Time
Rare it is that I love a Comedy Contestant. They either stay too long, try too hard or are evil old right-wing hags (naming no names). But occasionally a Strictly Come Dancing contestant comes along who just makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. And of them, Nancy was the greatest of them all, riding the line between comedy and tragedy, delusion and knowingness, farce and fun, with a wonky Italo-American accent and absolutely no sense of grace or style whatsoever. I’ll give you four more, but Nancy will always be the bestest.
2. Julian Clary : Shaking his maracas and taking my breath away
3. Mark Benton : Wrecking his knees and breaking your heart
4. Gavin Henson : Stripping it off and snogging the fruity judges
5. Lesley Garrett : Screaming LAH and falling in a hedge
THE GREATEST STAGE-MANAGER EVER!
The 9 Worst Showdances Ever
1. Lisa Snowdon – SNOWDANCE!
2. Colin Jackson – DUMMYDANCE!
3. Matt Baker – HIP HOP HAY-BALES!
4. Kara Tointon – DINKY GLITTER BUCKET HOORAY!
5. Tracey Beaker – BOHEMIAN CRAPSODY!
6. Rachel Stevens – ROBODANCE!
7. Chelsee Healey – ONE NIGHT ONLY! (except on tour)
8. Christopher Parker – FAME! (is never heard of again)
9. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – SOPHIE BEXTOR’S PARTY LATIN HOOORAHHHHHHH!
The Winningest Dance :
The tactical strategy of Strictly Come Dancing is an oft-neglected discussion topic, but you know that Brenda, Camilla, and Natalie at the very least have sat backstage and wondered “what dances do I need to get my celeb to do well at to LIFT THAT GLITTERBALL?”. Well wonder no longer, as I have raked the stats for the truth, even harder than Russell Grant : Strictly Stats Man. Where should you put the effort in, and where can you skive off? The answer? If you want to win Strictly, it pays to polish your salsa. When you compare the scores of winners with the scores of non-winners, it’s the lifty latin that separates the men from the Matts. Scoring highly in the salsa is more associated with winning Strictly than any other dance. The other jahnrus? Rank as follows. The lower you are on this list, the less the dance really matters :
3. Argentine Tango
8. Paso Doble
11. Cha Cha
13. Viennese Waltz
14. American Smooth
15. Showdance (DOES NOT COUNT, SEE, HERE’S PROOF!)
The Defining Christmas Special Image
The 12 Most Bizarre Song Choices Ever And Not In The Good Way
1. Colin & Erin’s Tango – Ride It BY GERI HALLIWELL
2. Austin & Erin’s Christmas Paso Doble – Bohemian Rhapsody
3. Anton & Fiona’s Rumba – World Of Our Own
4. Harry & Aliona’s Salsa – I’m Still Standing
5. Natalie & Artem’s Tango – Some Rihanna Bollocks I Don’t Know
6. Dani & Vincent’s Cha Cha – Scooby Doo
7. Mark & Iveta’s Rumba – Goldfinger
8. Mark & Hayley’s Tango – Since U Been Gone
9. Victoria & Brendan’s Paso Doble – Bicycle Race
10. Mark & Iveta’s Paso Doble – I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper
11. Sid & Ola’s Cha Cha – Ghostbusters
12. Matt & Aliona’s Argentine Tango – Bat Out Of Hell
GIRLS ON TOP!
Oh sure, men may have won one more series than women, but in terms of average finishing position and average scores, the women of Strictly have kicked the arses of the men. In fact, there’s only one genre of dance where men have outscored the women. Admittedly it is the salsa which, as we’ve just learnt, is the most important one. BUT STILL. Although it may surprise you that there is one other type of latin dance where the men score almost as well as the women do on average. And that? Is RUMBA. There follows a ranking of the dances by lady-friendliness. If you’re a man, then you DEFINITELY can’t :
1. Cha Cha
4. Paso Doble
5. Viennese Waltz
8. American Smooth
11. Argentine Tango
The Best 9 Things Bruno Ever Yelled
1. THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF BULLSHIT!
2. SPICE TOP POMP TOMP PATSY!
3. YOU WERE RIDING OLA INTO A FRENZY OF ECSTACY!
4. DESIGNER GEAR! DESIGNER GEAR!
5. FANNY CLUB!
6. CHAMPAGNE! CHAMPAGNE! HAVE YOU HAD YOUR CHAMPAGNE TODAY NANCY?
7. HANDS THAT DO DISHES! HANDS THAT DO DISHES!
8. ISSSSSSSSSSSS DIVA TIIIIIIIIIIIIME!
9. FELICITY! WHO KNEW YOU WERE SOOOOOOOOOOOO BENDY?!!?!
The Hardiest Perennial :
But that’s enough segments about what the judges think. Sure, Aljaz may be officially the best pro ever no-takesies backsies, but the hardiest pro is definitely Brendan Cole. Even though he won the very first series, and therefore easily could have enacted the Camilla/Flavia “Sod this, I’m off” clause in his contract, Brendan has now competed in 83 episodes of Strictly Come Dancing, give or take a Rent-A-Pro. Nobody else comes close, not even Anton, but here’s the rest of the top 20 dancers ranked by just how much we’ve seen their face on Strictly over the years, in terms of episodes served. If you’re not on the list, you’re not a Face Of Strictly :
2. Anton du Beke
3. Erin Boag
4. James Jordan
5. Ola Jordan
6. Vincent Simone
7. Flavia Cacace
8. Camilla Dallerup
9= Artem Chigvintsev
9= Ian Waite
9= Natalie Lowe
12. Kristina Rihanoff
13. Lilia Kopylova
14. Darren Bennett
15. Robin Windsor
16= Matthew Cutler
16= Pasha Kovalev
18. Aliona Vilani
19. Katya Virshilas
20. Karen Hardy
THE TOP 10 BRENDA STROPS OF ALLLLLLLLLL TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME!
Paul Killick? Pft. James Jordan? Whatever. The longest-serving Strictly contestant is also by FAR the stroppiest. Here are my 10 favourite Brendan Cole strops, tantrums, and storm-offs.
1. I’M NOT GIVING YOU DIRTY FILTHY RUMBAS!
2. SKIPPY THE BUSH KANGAROO?!
4. When he called Sarah Manners a lazy cow.
5. Claire King : Illegal Lift Gate
6. That time he claimed on It Takes Two that Series 6 was rigged for the male celebrities
7. GO TO SPECSAVERS LEN! (*dressed as Riff Raff*)
8. When he kicked Bombhead in the face on Celebrity Love Island (I know it’s not Strictly but it was glorious)
9. The Series 6 Christmas Special Fake-Strop
10. Calling Fiona Phillips a “crap shag” because she couldn’t dance.
The Dirt Worst
No matter how many decades of Strictly there are, Quentin Wilson will always be the worst contestant ever. With an average score of 8, almost 6 lower than anybody else’s average, he will forever be in a league of his own. These other 9, as ranked by their average score might have been bad, but they’ll never be Quentin.
2. Diarmuid Gavin
3. Nicholas Owen
4. Tony Jacklin
5= Siobhan Hayes
5= Fiona Phillips
7. Nancy Dell’Olio
8. Ann Widdecombe
9. Jimmy Tarbuck
10. Gary Rhodes
The Old And The Beautiful :
Nice easy one here. Louisa Lytton, at the age of 17, was the youngest contestant ever to compete on Strictly, and to date the only teenager. Johnny Ball…was not. I’m sure we’re all waiting for little Woody Ball to grow a little older and be a semi-famous rugby player, so that we can say that three generations of the same family have competed on Strictly.
The Worst Judge Ever In The History Of Strictly Come Dancing, Ever
The 13 Digital Spy Threads It’s Not A Season Of Strictly Without:
1. Is (*female pro*) pregnant?
2. (*female contestant*) is a DIRTY RINGAH and should not have been allowed to compete!!!
3. DO THE JUDGES THINK WE’RE STUPID?!?!?!!!!
4. THE REAL DANCE EXPERT THREAD FOR TALKING ABOUT WHY WE ARE THE REAL DANCE EXPERTS AND LEN IS A MORON!
5. LET’S TALK ABOUT NIBBLES!
6. (*male contestant*) WUZZ ROBBED!
7. WHY WON’T THE PRODUCERS EVER LEARN?!?!
8. THIS SHOW IS RUINED BY FEMALE/TEENAGE/X FACTOR/MIDDLE-AGED HOUSEWIFE/HORMONAL/JELUS VOTERS!
9. ERM, WE KNOW THE SUNDAY SHOW ISN’T LIVE, STOP PRETENDING!
10. DEFINITE 100% TRUE VOTING LEAK CONTAINED WITHIN (100% VERIFIED SPOILERS WITHIN!)
11. WHO DOES EVERYONE HERE HATE (*female contestant*)?!?!
12. (*female contestant*) IS SO UNDERMARKED!!!!
13. WY DONT THE BBC RELEASE THE PUBLIC VOTE FIGURES?
A Decade Of Erin Boag Fashion Disasters :
The 10 Greatest It Takes Two Moments Ever :
Whether hosted by Claudia or Zoe or Justin Le…oh ok, just Zoe or Claudia, It Takes Two has been a reliable source of hilarity over the years. Except during Ask Widdy. And when they were going on about dresses. And the occasional Friday Panel where it was entirely obvious that nobody there actually watched the show. But other than that it was great. To jog your memory, here are my 10 favourite It Takes Two moments.
1. Lilia gets zero on the dance machine
2. Jodie Kidd produces her breast
3. Craig Revel Horwood sings “Beyond The Sea”. It’s truly hideous.
4. Zoe Ball announces live on air that she wants to shag Ashley Taylor-Dawson, without realising the cameras are on
5. The hour-long “Sarge Quits” special and everything that entailed.
6. When Harry Judd’s mum phoned in.
7. When Carol Vorderman rang in, a bit tipsy, and slagged off Arlene.
8. When the Christmas tree was rooting for Matt Dawson
9. When Karen Hardy told Gary Rhodes she was getting a restraining order on him and if she saw him round her house she’d set the dogs on him.
10. IVETA SINGS!
The Forgotten Dozen – 12 Contestants Who Nobody Remembers :
1. JAYE MOTHERLOVING JACOBS!
2. VERONA “THE DANCING QUEEN” JOSEPHS!
3. SIOBHAN “DYNAMO” HAYES!
4. JASON WOOD – CHA CHA ICON!
5. GLORIA HUNNIFORD, SLAYING YOUR FAVOS!
6. WILL THORP! I THINK HE’S ON CORONATION STREET NOW OR SOMETHING!
7. RAY FEARON! I THINK HE WAS ON CORONATION STREET OR SOMETHING!
8. RICHARD DUNGOODY!
9. PHIL DANIELS! YOU KNOW? FROM QUADROPHENIA?
10. DENNIS TAYLOR!……..SNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKER!
11. MAD SARAH MANNERS!
12. THAT ONE JAMES JORDAN TOLD OFF FOR EATING A MARS BAR!
What Not To Dance
Time for our periodic update of What Not To Dance. Suffice it to say that in all ten years of Strictly, Argentine Tango is the most deadly of dances, with over one in four people dancing it going home that same week. Woe betide you if your ganchos are sloppy, your ochos are wobbly, or Robin Windsor powerbombs you through a chair. The male pros may be a bunch of dirty samba dodgers, but if you know you’ve got a tricky week ahead of you, then it’s best to keep away from the bordellos of South America. In order of level of peril the other dances fall as follows :
3. American Smooth
9. Cha Cha
12. Viennese Waltz
13. Paso Doble
The 10 Creepiest Obsessions In The History Of Strictly That Frankly Someone Should Have Sat Someone Down And Had A Word About
1. Len with SPORTSMEN!
2. Arlene with Ramps.
3. Bruno with SUCCOTTTTTTTTTTTTT!
4. Bruce With Appropriate Formal-Wear On Male Contestants
5. Aliona With Custard
6. Tess With DA GUNNNNZZZZ
7. Pamela Stephenson With Sex Generally
8. Craig Kelly With Going To Blackpool
9. Camilla With Winning Towards The End Of Both Series 5 And 6
10. Monkseal With Matt Di Angelo That One Series
The 8 Best Winning Moments :
1. “YOU’RE DANISH, I LOVE YOUR BACON!”
2. Flavia makes Louis do That Lift again under threat of death.
3. The pros all lift a weeping Artem aloft as Kara gets wheeled off to hospital on a gurney in an oxygen mask
4. Bruce chases McFly off with a broom.
5. Karen Hardy
6. The Greatest Safety Sex Face Of All Time
7. “GET OUT OF THE WAY SARGE, YOU DIDN’T WIN!”
8. Matt Di Angelo’s Woobie Loser Face
The 6 Male Strictly Contestants Who Were Not Bad Looking And That In Monkseal’s Opinion, Indulging The Part Of Strictly That’s Just A Bit Of A Perve Fest Really Isn’t It?
Oh Alright Then, Heterosexual Men, If You Insist
Craig In Drag
And Finally, Your Favourite Series Of Strictly Ever :
The year that finally pushed me over the edge to start recapping. The year Alesha won, Matt & Flavia were at it, Gethin & Camilla weren’t, Letitia Dean turned 40, Ola saw what was up Kenny kilt, Kate Garraway WAS THE SHOW, John Barnes took up residency in the dance-ff, Kelly Brook was the cheatiest cheater who ever cheated with a pink sparkly cape of yay, Gabby got SHOCK-BOOTED, Rod Stewart told us all he wasn’t at all worried about his wife doing it with Ian Waite I wonder why, Lilia got her arse squeezed far too often, Brian Capron invented the waltz-tango, Stephanie Beacham marvelled at how that Gabby creature could get her leg up over her head and…Willie Thorne was there as well. Strictly 2007 was, according to you, the show AT ITS HEIGHT. It scored an 8.25 average, compared to…the following :
2. Series 8 – 8.02
3. Series 9 – 7.69
4. Series 4 – 7.28
5. Series 2 – 7.26
6. Series 10 – 7.11
7. Series 11 – 7.04
8. Series 6 – 7.03
9. Series 3 – 6.69
10. Series 7 – 5.61
11. Series 1 – 4.54
And here’s to another 10 years!