Strictly Come Dancing 2014 – The Departures

No, but seriously this time.

So, yes, according to the BBC, at the last time of asking, barring any last minute injuries, blow-ups, or better offers from Dancing With The Stars Albania, this is your pro line-up for 2014.

Aljaz Skorjanec
Anton du Beke
Brendan Cole
Kevin Clifton
Pasha Kovalev
Robin Windsor
Tristan MacManus

Aliona Vilani
Iveta Lukosiute
Janette Manrara
Joanne Clifton
Karen Hauer
Kirstina Rihanoff
Natalie Lowe
Ola Jordan

It feels a bit like the opposite of last year’s pre-series shenanigans. Then, all of the departures felt organic and right and predictable (Erin quitting to have a baby, Flavia quitting immediately as soon as she won aka “pulling a Camilla”, and Vincent quitting because…well Vincent without Flavia just doesn’t make sense) (to be fair, Vincent WITH Flavia didn’t make sense half the time…) but the hiring process seemed like it had been arrived at by Evil Moira Ross In A Rainbow Wig shutting her eyes and pointing at Bum The Floor. This time around it’s the hirings that feel like the sane and predictable inevitabilities, and the quittings/firings/”let’s just pretend they never existed”s that are random and sloppy, and in some cases actually feel like they might only be temporary. Let’s take them in alphabetical order :

Anya Garnis : Poor Anya. After dragging the pentagenarian black-hole-of-personality Patrick Robinson all the way to fifth place and last-man-standing with her choreography, Anya finds herself a One Season Wonder, tossed on the pile along with Isabella Hanna, Jared Murillo and Justin Lee Collins. Truly an ignominious end. Sure they may say she’s being kept on to “help with the choreography” for the group dances but…how much work can that be really? I could probably story-board half of last year’s pro-dances and the only dance experience I’ve had in 2014 is awkwardly shuffling in the corner of a karaoke booth as my entire workplace hollered out “We Are Family”. *Fart around with props* *wheel Mary Berry on inside a giant cardboard meringue* *fish Aliona out of the custard and put her knickers back on*. How hard can it be? Poor Anya. The fulsome goodbye press releases have barely mentioned her, nobody’s screaming at the official facebook account that Anya leaving is THE FINAL NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF THE DAY THAT STRICTLY DIED, and let’s be honest, the producers never really wanted her in the first place, but for some of us, Anya’s cut is the hardest of them all. For those of us for whom Patrick’s American Smooth and Quickstep were amongst the dances of last series mostly due to her choreography, for those of us who thought she filled a pair of fishnet tights rather well, for those of us who always appreciate when It Takes Two tries to make people act who really can’t act, and yes, alright, for those us who watched all of So You Think You Can Dance USA Series 3 and still ship her and Pasha, we’re not getting any closure. Unless of course someone breaks their legs or Ola decides to follow her husband out the door after all. I won’t say I live in hope. At this point, I think I probably care more than she does anyway.

Artem Chigvintsev : For all that Artem is one of my favourite pros of recent years (I hid it so well didn’t I?) his departure actually feels kind of right. In fact in two ways, his departure feels distinctly Artem. Firstly because you know, deep down, he would actually have left the country to avoid getting partnered with DIRTY NON-RINGAH Fern Britton, let alone any more of her filthy useless sort, and let’s face it, it was time. Secondly, the whole reasoning behind his quit is so very Artem. I like to imagine him hanging out the window of a 1930s biplane dressed like Rudolph Valentino dressed like Laurence Of Arabia, telling a crowd of adoring and weeping women that Artem never stopped loving them, only Artem’s visa stopped loving them. Then he could fly off into the sunset with a banner saying “The End…?” slowly fading in over the top. It’s so suitably that Artem’s Strictly end is every bit as ridiculous, vague, and implausible as the man himself. I hope Artem can find work in the USA for however long he wants, be it as a professional dancer on Dancing With The Stars, a special guest ballroom choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance, or as a lighthouse, periodically turning in San Francisco harbour, guiding all those party boats safely to shore with his toothy grin. I have faith that America has a place for a man who knows how to waft. Now who do you think cried more when they found out he was leaving, Kara or Robin?

James Jordan : So it finally happened. After countless series of the press telling us that James Jordan was on his way out the door, it’s finally happened, and he’s got the shove. Kudos to whoever it was on the Strictly Production Team who made the decision to “offer” him a “reduced role” as a back-up dancer and periodic partnerner of Christmas Special dregs. But then again, points off for not getting a video-tape of his reaction to being “offered” it. Of course James has recognised this brush-off for what it is, blowing up all over twitter yelling that the BBC are FULL OF LIES and that he was BRUTALLY SACKED. All this as Evil Moira Ross In A Rainbow Wig puts out cheerfully press-releases about what a hard-working and dedicated dancer James Jordan was on Strictly Come Dancing and how everyone will miss him. All of this is made even more hilarious because for whatever reason, they decided to ask Ola to come back, and she said yes. If you thought the atmosphere last year, when Aliona swept back in five minutes after getting sacked, I would imagine it’s going to be nothing compared to the frostiness going on this year. I cannot wait. Needless to say, James’ departure and Brenda’s mellowing with age has left a room for a new Bad Boy Of Strictly to rise. Who will it be? Aljaz? New Boy Tristan? My money’s on Pasha turning up at the start of next series dressed all in black with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth like Slutty Sandy at the end of Grease.


25 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 2014 – The Departures

    1. monkseal Post author

      As his twitter bio says, he TELLS IT LIKE IT IS (in a The Sun column slagging the series off near you soon)

  1. Dancing cake

    Love the idea of “Lighthouse Artem” slowly revolving and countless sailors being saved from a watery grave by his megawatt teeth. TING! … wait … wait … wait … TING! Am genuinely baffled though by decision to lose Anya/keep Aliona/not lose Karen.

  2. Ferny

    I doubt the person who offered James a ‘reduced’ role lived to tell the tale…

    I’m weirdly most sad about Anya being dropped, even though Artem is one of my faves and his win with Kara is my favourite Strictly “”journey”” (and series) of all time. And I (usually) really liked his choreography. Maybe I just kind of expected Artem to not stick around that long; he just doesn’t seem like the type to stay in a job for several years, i dunno.
    Kind of inevitable with James though – the only year I loved him was when he was partnered with crazy Pamela.

  3. Neio

    So they got rid of Anya, but kept Janette? Riiiigghht…..

    The best news is that Natalie’s coming back and Iveta’s staying. Love them both! How did Aliona manage to hang on in there though?

    And I’m pleased to hear Tristan McManus is joining the pros. He’s talented and hot, and yet never seemed to get the decent partners on DWTS. Hopefully he’ll get someone good on Strictly.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Maybe Aliona got a twofer in her last minute contract last year? I think we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of what she got them to agree to…

    2. Kate

      So they got rid of Anya, but kept Janette? Riiiigghht…..
      I couldn’t agree more. All she did was rehash the same dance 3 times with camper and camper costumes to disguise the complete lack of choreography and skill involved…
      I am wondering if she and Aljaz come as a pair: i.e. if the Beeb want the wonder of Aljaz’s buttocks in those white trousers, then they have to include the painfully pushy toothiness of the Maneatera, or no go??? It’s the only reason I can think of for keeping her in the show.

  4. Isolde

    I secretly hoped that Erin might have got bored with the sprog and decided to make a comeback. Aah well – maybe next year.

  5. stormy



    Is it too late to get her in the back of the head with a stilletto heel and put Anya back in her place? (Not that I’m a super fan of Anya, but hell, I’d take James Jordan as a female pro before Aliona.)

  6. Minxy

    Artem as a lighthouse
    James being offered the occasional …
    I don’t know which I would pay more to see!

    Robin definitely cried the most, longest loudest and snottiest! He even streaked his tan with the tears! For sure.
    I like Artemis but am not upset.

    Jeanette back tho. ….. Helll no – that upsets me more

    Love that Aliona is back. Only for the attitude she had last series tho lmao. And for you blogging it

    So Ola comes back without James huh. … That will be interesting. Has DS gone crazy with rumour, I will have to go look

    Thanks for the wonderful imagery Monkie

      1. monkseal Post author

        We need someone going over James Jordan’s life-crisis in minute detail for a start.

      2. ynysmon

        I am hoping Ola will get another Jimmy Mistry this year, then we can sit back and watch James squirm. Cruel, but well you know

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