Strictly Come Dancing 12 – The Manly Men

Doof doof.

Thom Evans : Yes, in one of the most lazy casting choices in this show’s history, we’re getting two years in a row of retired rugby players who’ve eked out their fame by dropping trou for Boyz Magazine. In these difficult times though, be thankful that I am here to help you tell which fullback turned full-bottom is which.

Things Ben Cohen has done that Thom Evans hasn’t :

  • Won the Six Nations (three times)
  • Won the Rugby World Cup
  • Started up a charitable foundation against bullying
  • Received an MBE
  • Overcome deafness to have a successful international sporting career

Things Thom Evans has done that Ben Cohen hasn’t

  • Full-frontal
  • Softcore incest porn
  • Dated Kelly Brook
  • Been in a boy-band that supported Peter Andre on tour
  • Waxed

As you can see, despite the initial similarities, they really are two very different people.

Monkseal’s Suggested Pro : A stunningly handsome sports star with a boyband background in the YEAR OF THE MAN? Has Natalie’s ever been more nigh (that’s Australian for “now”)?

Simon Webbe : See, I thought the Christmas Special was supposed to be used as a testing ground to see if possible contestants were interesting and potential-filled enough with to do a full series, but first Fern and now Simon Webbe have been promoted to the main show after utterly forgettable showings (and Simon was with KATYA, so that should be impossible) whilst Su Pollard and Sheila Hancock are both still sat mournfully keening by the phone waiting for that call. (Oh and Barrowman I guess) (*full body shudder*). Still, apparently they’re now casting by shutting their eyes and pointing at third-tier pop-groups, so here we are. Simon was one-quarter of Blue. It’s a bit easier to remember the names of Blue than it is to remember the names of The Saturdays because together their initials spell out LADS. The initials of The Saturdays don’t spell out anything other V.FRUM, which will really only mean something to my Jewish readers. To put it one way Simon was the one who wasn’t the gay one, the annoying one, or the one who pissed on a cashpoint. To put it another way, he was the black one. He was announced as a Strictly Pro this morning on Susanna Reid’s hit new ITV show “Good Morning Brian”, named in tribute to its only viewer. He seemed really proud of how he scored 36 on his Xmas Special despite the fact that, if memory serves, that is the lowest score ever achieved on a Strictly Christmas Show. And erm…that’s Simon Webbe.

Monkseal’s Suggested Pro : Kristina, why not?

Mark Wright : So they finally went and did it. After years of using rumours of the likes of Joey Essex, Katie Jordan Andre Hayler Price Reid and Helen Flanimals to scare the horses, then pulling back to reassure people that they would *never* stoop so low, don’t worry, you can still affect that your Saturday night race to the glitterball is “classy”, Strictly have finally done it. They’ve finally cast somebody *shudders* *turns up nose* *turns green* ITV2. Mark Wright came to fame as the resident heart-throb on The Only Way Is Essex, which I have watched a grand total of 5 minutes of before turning it off because I just couldn’t. Which to be fair is as much as I’ve seen of Made In Chelsea, Geordie Shore, Desperate Scousewives, The Valleys or…I dunno, what’s another one? Rutland Slags? I’m not really *overly* excited for a contestant who probably puts his dick-snaps as a profile picture on his CV, but on the other hand this show has often made a decent hash of “making classy” celebrities who have come in as a bit of rough and polish them up til they gleam (Alesha, Chelsee, arguably Abbey if you’re into that sort of thing) so maybe it’ll be interesting to see them try that sort of thing with a man? Maybe? LOOK, I’M TRYING HERE.

Monkseal’s Suggested Pro : I feel like if anyone could drag the humour out of Mark, it would be Iveta Lukosiute. But he kind of feels destined for Ola?

Jake Wood : Jake Wood plays Max Branning, the beta version of Eastenders’ ongoing quest to have their central heart-throb be a balding ruddy vaguely tuberous middle-aged ginger guy with a transparently hotter brother. Although at least this time they did get his arse right. Apparently. So the Internet tells me. Ahem. In truth, Max Branning feels kind of irrelevant now that Danny Dyer runs the square with an iron fist and everyone’s more interested in Who Killed Lucy? (my money’s on a Dalek, with the whole thing resolved in an hilarious Comic Relief Dr Who crossover episode ending with Peter Capaldi and Letitia Dean having a twerk-off to “Turn Down For What”). So what better way to breathe life into a fading soap character than by having them work themselves into a zombified stupor doing double-duty filming traumatic storylines about crack addictions on the same day as having to learn a jolly quickstep? Hopefully Jake is hardier than his soapie brother, and can make it more than a month into the show without slipping into a coma. You know. If he should have to.

Monkseal’s Suggested Pro :Β Ola Jordan. Just high-profile enough to derail James’ huffy claims that she’s bound to get a duffer, not high-profile enough to, you know, do well.

Steve Backshall : Why we should all be very excited y the prospect of noted herpetologist Steve Backshall doing Strictly Come Dancing – a Short Photo-Essay :

He’s An Adventurer :

He’s Flexible :

He’s Kind To Animals :

He’s Fondled A Cockatoo :

He Knows How To Give Good Injury Porn :

He’s Not This Douchecanoe :

Monkseal’s Suggested Pro : Give him to Joanne, just because it’s only fair that both Clifton siblings get to do a routine on this theme.

Scott Mills : I would imagine that, as soon as Scott Mills digital sub-dermal microchip started bleeping on March 28th this year, he began looking for a way out of Radio 1, just so he could avoid the grisly disturbing Logan’s Run esque fate that befalls all BBC Radio 1 disk jockies the second they join the ranks of the over-40s (they get a show on Radio 2). Graham Norton having easily outflanked him for the plum main Eurovision role, he’s obviously been left flailing around for the only other option currently open to a middle-aged gay man in the BBC – be the token homo on Strictly Come Dancing. Sure the 6 weeks of humiliation as you get bipped on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and told to “BE MORE POOFY!” by Bruno Tonioli, like a Springer Spaniel puppy that just pissed on the carpet must be annoying, but a guy’s got to eat, right? And if it gets you time off from having to do constant interviews with Rita Bora, Sam Smugth and Five Seconds Of Summer (Is Five Seconds Too Many) all the better. I mean, we can all dream that they’ll just let the poor man be and do the dances with a minimum of glitter cannons and giant pink hairdryers but…as last year’s fourth-placer once put it, a pessimist is never disappointed.

Monkseal’s Suggested Pro : Aliona Vilani – she’s both never had a middle-aged man before (…quiet) and also you know she’d welcome the chance to legitimately choreograph an entire series around top 40 r & b club bangers.

Gregg Wallace : If you don’t know Gregg Wallace then lucky you. But if you need him explaining then in terms of the Masterchef franchise he’s the Dr Watson to Michel Roux’s Sherlock Holmes, the Amos Tupper to Monica Galetti’s Jessica Fletcher and the Penhaligon to John Torode’s Cracker. In short he gets to say “indubitably” a lot, and is occasionally allowed to hit a sitter (“I fink your combination of potato and grapefruit was a bit of a mistake mate”) but otherwise his job is to be consistently wrong and to be utterly irrelevant to any conclusions ultimately reached. And he goes on about how much he likes pudding. A lot. In a sexual way. With the appropriate inappropriate faces. His appearance on Strictly feels like the logical extension of the mid-life crisis that has so far seen him get a series of much younger girlfriends, lose loads of weight, misguidedly try to open his own high-end restaurant, and I dunno, probably buy a motorcycle or something. Interestingly, Gregg has judged Craig Revell-Horwood before, when the latter finished 3rd on Celebrity Masterchef 2 behind Nadia Sawalha and Midge Ure. So sadly we won’t see any It Takes Two segments where Gregg challenges Craig to TRY TO BE GOOD AT COOKING THEN IF YOU THINK YOU CAN JUDGE MY DANCING SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT. Which is a shame because it was hilarious when Dennis Taylor tried to teach him how to play snooker and he actually took Izabela Hanna’s eye out. Actually given that he finished 3rd on Celebrity Masterchef, Craig is probably a better chef than Gregg is. ALSO Gregg Wallace competed against Brenda on Just The Two Of Us and got beaten hollow by him, so there’s a score to settle there. A score I can only hope goes 2-0 to Brendan by the end of this series.


Tim Wonnacott : Is basically David Dickinson with the orange sanded off.

Monkseal’s Suggested Pro : Janette Manrara because she is left and I was presuming there would maybe be more male contenders at the tail end of the list…


67 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 12 – The Manly Men

    1. ynysmon

      Yep a Thom/Ben comparison is insufficient, we need a 3 way with Austin. Poor Thom it seems a pity to write him off so early, still that’s the way the GBBO cookie crumbles

  1. General Hogbuffer

    Ok, just because this arguably falls into the ‘manly men’ category, I thought I’ll share this with you:
    Just returned from running errands, and found myself in the queue behind Pasha at Tesco’s (Waitrose was out of dried pineapple, imagine!). Here are my observations:
    – He’s smaller than I thought, height-wise (I was BEHIND him, remember ?)
    – Minus: He bought cigarettes. Ugh.
    – Plus: He bought lots of kitchen roll. So he’s either very tidy in the kitchen, or he has self-gratification issues.
    – Lastly, his hair looked very normal but in need of a cut. So Heaven knows what experimental delight he will dazzle us with at the launch…

    You are welcome.

    1. ynysmon

      So how cute is his bottom
      Was he just buying kitchen rolls what else was in his trolley
      Surprised by the ciggies, I got the impression Chealsee was running out every few mins leaving him disapproving
      And just WOW
      I need to leave my chickens and pigs and move to the city, or maybe not

    2. Kat_12

      I hope he’s not using kitchen role for, um, self-gratification. That stuff is scratchy. Nearly took a layer of skin off my face when I blew my nose with some the other day.

    3. monkseal Post author

      I think I saw Ian Waite in the wild once but it *may* have been Angry Luke from So You Think You Can Dance UK 2. My memory is hazy on such things.

      1. Neio

        I walked past Brenda on the street once (he is sooooo not 6 foot tall as he claims to be).

        And also Matt Evers (and his Arse of course) from Dancing on Ice. The Arse was magnificent.

    1. ynysmon

      Maybe he had been sent out by the others to get them, he so would be the errand boy
      Mind James and Vincent were to smokers so not sure who else is a regular

      1. Neio

        Maybe the others had sent him out to get the kitchen roll for their self-gratification too! We’ll just have to imagine who the biggest er, self-gratifier on the show is.

      2. monkseal Post author

        *very pointedly does not say that he makes smoking look good because he is looking after the health of any impressionable young readers eve though he totally does*

  2. Left Feet

    After the latest manly man, I do think that the line up may be meant to attract a younger crowd. I think that they may be running out of decent celebs now given that three have done IAC

  3. peeve

    Pasha in Tesco’s! *shudders* Why do so many of them smoke like chimneys (well, James, Pasha, Robin and Aljaz do, as I’ve seen them all puffing away outside the stage door)?

  4. Daisy

    Thom Evans did have to quit because he nearly died on the field, so comparing him to Ben is harsh. He’s not a Gavin celebrity-over-rugby by choice.

    I hope Aliona gets another duffer – it’s fun watching her mentally check out before the show starts

    1. monkseal Post author

      Wasn’t his stint in a boyband before his rugby career took off? It’s been a fairly consistent thread. Nothing wrong with it, we all know I loved Gavbot, but the guy seems like a total desperado.

  5. Laura

    I got really over-excited when I saw Jake Wood was doing it, then realised I had him confused with Jake Humphrey.

    Also if Mark Wright gets Iveta or Aliona I will be first on the phone to the BBC demanding a ‘vote to evict’ function…

  6. Huriye

    Just as long as we don’t get endless Towies taking up the whole of the front row with free tickets under the guise of VIPs! 😦

    The only announcement that’s excited me so far – male or female – has been the Wildlife guy. He’s got alot of spunk, so even if not a dancing natural, he’ll defo give it a go, and not whinge. He aint tall though, so presume he’ll get…..Kristina? (Hope it’s not Janette Manrara, puhlease!)

    Cheers General Hogbuffer for the Pasha Shopping Goss! That was top quality! πŸ˜€

    During the first series of DOI, I got on a bus and saw Matt Evers and Kristina Lenko. I was literally :O and couldn’t say anything except stare at their beautiful faces. Matt’s was caked in make-up, but still uber handsome, and Kristina lovely. They would’ve had beautiful children together. I later found out they’d been sharing a flat in my area, and it’s good I didn’t know, or I may’ve turned into a stalker.

  7. Lesley Rigg

    Now I have heard of these last three, although I have to say the only one whose programme I’ve actually seen ever or this decade is Stevemanlybloke. My son detests him, no idea why, so maybe not the hit with the under 13s after all then…

    I see they haven’t announced Richard Ayoade then?

    1. monkseal Post author

      Steve Backshall’s face kind of dips him a little, but in so many of his shows it’s constantly camouflaged by mud/grime/wildlife. It’ll be interesting to see how he’ll fare ENTERING THE LIGHT.

      1. DJ Mikey

        Well now it will be race between Thom Evans, Steve Backshall, Simon Webbe and Mark Wright to so who can wear a shirt the least often. It’s funny Strictly has never pandered this hard to either of it’s key demographics. Them being:

        Middle aged housewives who vote with their ovaries.
        Late-20’s – Early 30’s gay men who vote with their erections.

        In the prestigious and ever increasing list of Rugby players on Strictly everybody forgot Gavbot.
        However I have now added him to the group sex action, meaning it’s a 4-way with Ben Cohen, Austin Healy, Gavin Henson and Thom Evans.

  8. Puzzled

    So that leaves… Janette? If the last male reveal is Greg Davies or Richard Osman, you’re going to look well silly.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Janette and Karen…which still gives me no wiggle room but c’est la vie. I’m not having Nat lumbered with a Goliath cause she’s the only one tall enough to handle it.

      (Seriously it’s so much harder distributing the female pros given that pretty much all of them are “due a contender” which just makes it all a matter of personal bias. Which normally I wait until a little bit further into the series to embrace)

  9. Dave

    I kind of want to be slightly sadistic and pair up Scott with Iveta… I think he might actually be frightened of her and that could lead to entertaining explosions. Or maybe I’m just being mean.

      1. Dave

        Maybe we should give her to Steve then. She can’t be as scary as crocodiles and snakes, surely. Oh, I dunno. I want her to get someone who’s not hampered with dodgy knees this year.

    1. Laura

      Nooo! Scott needs Kristina. Anyone saw the Donovan tango (Donotango? Donovango?) knows that woman can do camp and sparkly standing on her head. And you know he would embrace it. Iveta, on the other hand, would waste him by making him stand there and do nothing whilst she fannies about with her stupid leg trick – or worse, tries to make him the comedy contestant, and I don’t think he’ll be that bad.

  10. Chris

    I like Mark, because he’s already pissed off Digital Spy no end, which is enough to make him one of my pre-series favourites (same with Abbey last year). He seems unobjectionable – he could very easily slip into the Nice Young Middle-Class Man (or Woman) that does well with voters if his dancing’s any good – and heck, I think he’s attractive.
    By contrast, with Thom, I just don’t get it. I hate to form all my opinions by looking at the Digital Spy boards and then going for the exact opposite, but they’re having paroxysms over there.

    Fantasy pairing: Mark Wright and Aliona. I think Digital Spy would burn itself to the ground. Especially if (long-shot) Aliona of all pros was the first to take the Glitterball twice.

      1. ynysmon

        Aah DS it is itch I know I should not scratch. This year the BBC are playing a blinder with the drip drip reveal,as a result I am lurking DS at every opportunity

      1. Chris

        Ehhhh, indifferent to Pixie. I know that the Ringer Press will be up and ready soon, don’t really want to pile it on.

  11. Penny

    I have high hopes for Scott. He has a well-developed sense of camp, but he’s basically an actual 21st century bloke with decent taste and I have faith that he will be the first out gay man who isn’t played as a punch line. OK, obviously every personal characteristic is played as a punch line on Strictly, but maybe..not to unbearable, throw stuff at the TV levels? Maybe.

    But given Richard, Russell and Julian M I can see why you’d prefer to just assume the worst.

  12. ynysmon

    I think the Gorgeous Girls should be getting a mention. I am not very up to speed with who any of the contestants are(my fault) The chaps all look a generic good age, good fitness, name begins with S. I find myself going Oh the Black one or The Gay one, this is not a mindset I like to be in. Until I see some dancing they will blur. The 4 females though are really different characters and much easier to distinguish. I am routing for Judy because I know who she is, and she was a hoot commentating on 5 Live. She likes a man who gets his pecs out

    1. monkseal Post author

      It’s alright – from the rumours the last three women are all benignly chirpy attractive young women.

  13. Ferny

    I think I may be the only person in the world who likes Gregg, however I am very worried about him doing Strictly when he clearly is in the midst of a mid-life crisis. It could get Craig Kelly levels of embarrassing…
    But I live in eternal hope πŸ™‚

    1. Isolde

      You’re not the only one. I warmed to Greg when I ate in one of his restaurants and got to listen to his monologue to the next table about his estranged wife, then went and sat in the corner with a glass of red wine. If ever a man looked as though he deserved a hug, it was then.

      1. Huriye

        What an interesting story/piece of gossip, thanks Isolde.
        He’s not my favourite, but I admire anyone who worked as a Greengrocer, and he did introduce me Khol Rabi, which I now love. πŸ™‚
        Plus, as a Londoner, I’m looking forward to his Cockney Banter with Len.
        So Northerners, stick yer fingers in yer ears now! πŸ˜€

  14. Left Feet

    Think that Steve Backshall could be a contender if he can dance, potential dark horse/journey. Think that there are four/five men who could win and you can’t say that every year.

    1. Huriye

      I do hope so, as I’m already rooting for Backshall, the only contestant to excite me in an otherwise dull line-up. Go Steve!


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