A new, less doddery era begins.
We begin with the last recorded wheezings of
Sir Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson CBE. From his palatial mansion he reveals that Evil Moira Ross has given him one last job : to get all the presenters, judges, and pro dancers back together in time for the new series. I guess James is really regretting spiking his cocoa with laxatives that one time right now (LOL BANTER!). As it turns out this is our last chance to see the world of Strictly through Bruce’s eyes. A world where women
sew, shop, try on pretty dresses and do one another’s make-up, the men
play golf and the Russians
live out ethnic stereotypes in their bikinis 24/7. (Please note that for the purposes of this skit both Lithuania and Kazakhstan are in Russia – a fact that I’m sure will please Vladimir Putin to here : no need to invade now, he’s got Brucie’s seal of approval BACK OFF NATO!). There’s also bits where Kevin is in Grimsby, Craig is humorously indisposed, and Darcey acts like Miss Moneypenny and shakes her head at all the silly boys and gets back to reading The Daily Mail. But I’ve got a feeling we’ll have plenty of time to see all of those things again over the next three months, so I’ve left them out. Although I’m sure Bruno will be pulling this face a lot as well
and I’m still leaving that in.
Anyway, Bruce gets the old gang back together in time for the Red Carpet Launch Show Event how convenient. For those of you not in the know, this is an event where the public line up to gawp at the judges and pros and contestants and presenters close-up, and without having to sit through the tit who does the warm-up for the Live Shows. Everyone whoops and cheers and claps their hands, and indeed this woman
says that she’s been waiting all her life to be here, right now, to get a fleeting glimpse at Aljaz’s arse as it whizzes on by. Amen sister. The man himself says that it feels so amazing to be reigning Strictly champion and he can’t wait to defend his title. Yeah…good luck with that. I’ve got a feeling that within two weeks he’ll be wishing he made like Flavia and Camilla and immediately done a bunk out the back window, never to be seen again (except when they’ve got a tour they need to promo). All the celebs clomp the carpet, talking about how they’re finally here, this is it, this is proper showbiz stuff the likes of which they never dreamed of working away humbly and quietly on their primetime BBC 1 dramas and ITV1 multimillion rated reality shows before, their mums will be so so happy, Brenda and Janette
both do impersonations of their partners from last series, someone
takes a selfie because of course they do, we get our first
“NATURAL RHTYHM!” of the series (DRINK!) and once that’s all done it’s time to move off the carpet and into the arena.
As the first half hour or so of the show is Bruce’s Farewell Lap, the baton is picked up with a pro-dance tailor-made for him. It’s mostly him tap-dancing
as the female pros all wildly shake their boobs at him, to a song from 1978, back when he was a sprightly 103. Ah, those younger days. The only concession made to us, the audience, is that not once is he allowed to sing. As Bruce hobbles off to an osteopath to gets his bones unfused again, the pros take us inside the studio (24 hours later) where they wiggle their booties surrounded by bought in c-tier members of Pineapple Dance Studios, to give time for the reveal that Natalie has been
partnered with a useless old fart. Oh no, wait, I’ve skipped several pages of the script there, never mind. Brenda
drags Darcey on, slightly against her will by the looks of it, as Bruno flings himself around like a gogoboy on the judging desk. Oh Bruno. Save your hips for the actual judging. What, are you going to talk to the celebrities with your MOUTH? Craig wanders on and does something with his cufflinks that he thinks makes him look suave (and maybe it is if you think Hi Karate adverts are suave) and finally Tess and Claudia are hauled around on giant golden thrones.
In a fairer world this would be our Royal Family. Well…Claudia would be, anyway.
Once everyone’s swept the glitter up off the floor, Bruce emerges to give one last intro. There’s one last joke about how this audience is so much better than last week’s, one last “NICE TO SEE YOU TO SEE YOU!”, one last “NICE!”, one last hyping up of the band, and one last opportunity for me to say
Poor Wilnelia. Sadly missing though is everyone’s true Brucie highlight. That’s right, we didn’t know what we had until the Velociraptor Dance was gone. *sniff* Instead we just get
two awkward cocks. Of the legs. Ahem. Bruce tells us, as he slowly but palpably drifts off behind the veil to the land of Christmas Specials and occasional variety show extravaganzas that will inevitably feature Miranda and the cast of Tumble, that he’s leaving the show in the capable hands of Miss Daly and Miss Winkleman and that we’ve all done very well. BYE BRUCE!
With Bruce’s role in the show now officially over beyond awkwardly hanging around chirruping at everything like he’s auditioning for Gogglebox (MAKE IT HAPPEN) (so long as Wilnelia’s there as well, doing her nails), Tess tells us why we’ve all been gathered here this evening. To read Bruce’s will and get spend-spend-spend’ing! Oh and also to pair up the celebrity contestants with their professional partners, and sit thro…I mean enjoy musical performances from (*points blindly at Radio 2 daytime playlist*) IMELDA MAY AND SMOKEY ROBINSON and new boy-band stinging sensation Five Seconds Of Summer.
Bless Bruce. I wonder which his favourite one is. Finally, Abbey Clancy will be back to show us her waltz and probably talk about her nerves ONE LAST TIME (if only). Menu placed before us, with the Daily Specials as unappetising as ever, it’s time for Tess and Claudia to manhandle Bruce into the cremation furnace
and find out how they’re going to be introducing the STARS OF OUR SHOW this year!
Here’s the list :
“Star of Masterchef – Gregg Wallace”
“Pop Princess – Pixie Lott”
“Wildlife Expert – Steve Backshall”
“Tennis Coach – Judy Murray”
“TV Presenter And Radio DJ – Mark Wright”
“Star Of Casualty – Sunetra Sarker”
“Bargain Hunt’s Antiques Expert – Tim Wonnacott”
“From The Saturdays – Pop Star Frankie Bridge”
“Radio 1 DJ – Scott Mills”
“Sea Witch And Destroyer Of Mermaid Dreams – Ursula”
“Rugby Star And Model – Thom Evans”
“Star Of Mrs Brown’s Boys – Jennifer Gibney”
“From Blue – Popstar Simon Webbe”
“TV Presenter – Caroline Flack”
“Eastenders Star – Jake Wood”
Much kudos to whoever decided that Caroline Flack would be the penultimate star to emerge and also have the furthest to go to reach her mark, meaning she has to literally sprint across the stage like there’s a sale on at Forever 21. Kudos also to whoever gave Tess her first joke of the series, about the blood sweat and tears of the contestants making their fake tan run, necessitating the first awkward chunky cut of the night, to edit in anybody at all laughing and our inaugural
Tess Daly Joke Face. I sense many more to come.
Tess and Claudia remind us all to not phone in, because tonight is just for fun. There will no scoring, no voting, and no eliminating, which is a shame because if you offered me a chance to turf Gregg Wallace before autumn has even really started I’d grab it with both hands. The judges will of course still be putting their two penn’orth in, because Lord knows we couldn’t go into a series without knowing who Len thinks has the nicest arse. So here they are :
Bruno already distracted by a shiny gold ring there. By way of introduction Len says he’s going to enjoy watching all the wiggling and jiggling, Bruno welcomes the celebrities to Blisterworld (weren’t they an indie band from about 2003?), Craig says the contestants are going to have go some to match the amazing standard of dancing produced in last series’ YEAR OF THE WOMAN, and Darcey says that she wants to see all of the celebrities attack each dance like it’s their last. So having learnt nothing more than when they started talking, let’s move on from the judges to out first batch of male celebrities :
This is Gregg Walllace
He’s holding up a really shiny spoon so the studio lights reflect off something other than his own head. Gregg tells us that he’s famous for presenting Masterchef, having a sweet-tooth (passing Masterchef contestants on only if they make a serious attempt to put everyone in a five-mile radius in a diabetic coma), a chubby belly, a bald head, and glasses. And a penchant for beating up everyone who looks at his bird funny. He further flags himself up as an incessant joker and rapidly approaching 50. Oh good, I smell a mid-life crisis contestant. I can’t wait until he rides onto the dancefloor on a motorcycle. I can’t wait until his pro rigs the brakes.
Gregg goes on to reminisce about the time a young(er)
Craig Revel-Horwood was a contestant on Celebrity Masterchef, where he finished third behind Nadia Sawalha and Midge Ure. (It was amazing – he shook like a leaf, sweated buckets and was constantly on the verge of tears). Gregg sighs that he wishes that he’d let Craig win, in a reality in which he had any say in it and in which Nadia’s domination of the entire series wasn’t so apparent that it made Ray Quinn’s stint on Dancing On Ice look like a tightly-fought contest.
This is Jake Wood
He reminds us that his character in Eastenders, Max Brannigans, has been buried alive, been run over by his own daughter, slept with his son’s girlfriend, probably done it with Phil Mitchell at some point, let’s face it, everyone has, and found himself the chief suspect in a murder enquiry. Well that was a quiet Christmas Special. He tells us that he’s here so that some day, maybe, if things go his way, people might actually call him by his birth name rather than his character name
MUM. He’s also doing it for his kids. One of whom is called Buster. Buster Wood. And who is probably praying for the day someone calls him by his character’s name rather than his birth name.
This is Steve Backshall
He’s used to handling the world’s most venomous serpents, vicious reptiles, and naughtiest amphibians. He tells us that this has all been training for dealing with the Deadliest 60 of them all. CRAIG REVELL HORWOOD! Oh Steve. He’s not that old. Also he’s so panto these days that if he turned up in actual drag it’d be toning the campness down a notch. Steve goes on to say that he’s a really blokey bloke (really? because he comes across like Chris Hollins has been at the creatine powder) and that the closest he’s come to dancing before is martial arts. This is Steve Backshall doing Martial Arts.
BLOKEY. BLOKE. SO. MACHO.
He closes by saying that he hopes that on the dancefloor he’s more of a puma than a hippopotamus. Given the long history of black guys struggling in the public vote on this show Steve, you’d probably be better off as a hippo. John Sergeant was a total hippo.
This is Thom Evans
Oh, no, wait, sorry, uploaded from the wrong folder there. This is Thom Evans.
He was an International Rugby Star for Scotland (born in Zimbabwe, raised in Buckinghamshire) until a tragic accident left him naked, alone, in the jungle, afraid, and slightly arou…oh, no, wait he had a nearly fatal accident on the rugby pitch which left him unable to play rugby professionally ever again. But fortunately the accident DIDN’T prevent him from taking his clothes off for money or sticking his penis in Kelly Brook, so he’s been fine. Phew. Almost had to feel sorry for a guy with a jaw so lantern it looked like
God designed it himself with a set-square there.
Thom shakes his head and acts really faux-embarrassed about the softcore gay porn that he’s done
which…purrlease. He goes on to say that he’s always loved dancing, and tells us about how he and his brother used to spend hours learning how to do the routine for Bye Bye Bye by N*Sync. The routine features the guys from N*Sync playing barely conscious Ken doll puppets being made to dance around for a villainous callous female Macchiavellian puppet master. Thom then dated Kelly Brook.
To the studio now where Tess
already has Gregg at arm’s length. She asks Gregg if there’s anyone he has his eyes on (don’t encourage him) and he says that there is, but he’s not going to say because it’ll jinx it. Tess tells him to keeps his cards (and by extension his hands) close to his chest, because she’d hate for the female pros to wind up disappointed. Speaking of which, Gregg’s partner will be… ALIONA!
Aliona…Aliona? Can someone get a medic in he…oh just kidding.
LOOK HOW HAPPY SHE LOOKS! I hope her lawyers are ready to draw up another solid escape contract for her. By the looks of it she’s appealing for sympathy from them somewhere in the audience the whole way over to Gregg, because she’s certainly not looking at him. Gregg makes a bunch of “WOW WOW WOW WOW” noises at her like a horny scooter, trying to get her attention.
Next up as they wander off is Jake Wood.
Notice how Tess is willing to stand slightly closer to this one. She tells Jake that she’s willing to tell him who his partner will be RIGHT NOW if he tells her what happened to Lucy Beale. He replies that she was murdered, doy. I think I might like Jake. Tess asks him who he wants for his pro, and he jokes that it better not be anybody too tall, which causes Natalie to
squat, hilariously. That or she forgot to use the lavs before the pros came out. Fortunately for everybody not eager to return to the heady days of Kristina having to climb on the furniture to get into hold with Colin Salmon, Jake has been paired with Janette.
After last year I’m so glad Janette has someone more subdued/less incredibly fucking annoying. She charges over at Jake constantly popping her hips, and sweeps him up into her arms, at which point he awkwardly mutters “you alright?” at her like she’s having a rabid fit. I can’t wait.
Next up is Steve
as Tess gets ever closer. Ever ever closer as the male celebrities in this section get ever more attractive. Steve jokes with Tess that he keeps on accidentally catching glimpses of himself in the mirror in full sequins and bolero jacket and wondering who it is. And why Tess is lurking behind a doorway with a pair of opera binoculars behind him. He says that if he went out on a wildlife expedition dressed like this he’d immediately die from the lack of camouflage. At least he could go out knowing that the lioness choked on a sequin, taking her out with him. Speaking of once-proud but now deposed pack-leaders
Steve is with Ola. She actually screams “YESSSSS!” audibly, glad all those stories that she definitely didn’t leak herself to the papers how she’d definitely be partnered with a septugenarian by the mean owd BBC this year just paid off.
Last up to be matched is Thom
I’ve edited it out, but Tess’ hand is actually on his penis here. She tells Thom that as he’s a SPORTSMAN he must be REALLY COMPETITIVE and Thom replies that yes he is REALLY COMPETITIVE because he’s a SPORTSMAN. What great media training there. Kelly teaches her pets well. You’ll be surprised to hear that he is definitely here to have fun as well though, and also just to try his hardest. He’s going to be partnered with
IVETA! She looks like she can’t function. Seriously, I think her knees just went. I love this partnership already. Take everything I said during the last series of The Apprentice about Monaco Myles robbing old dowagers of their fortunes on the French Riviera and apply it double to these two.
Magic. Tess is all
“they’re both pretty, I’mma pretend they’re shagging”. Oh joy. She sends them off up to Claud 9 to join the other three guys, and then turns to Len and asks him, of those four men, who he’ll be watching most closely.
A HA HA HA HA HA HA IS THIS A JOKE? I’ll give you a clue, it’s not Gregg, Jake, or the other one who isn’t the tall , muscular, well-hung, handsome SPORTSMAN.
Up to Claud 9 *we* go now,
to find Aliona wonderimg just how much of a fee she could have extorted out of Channel 5 for Celebrity Big Brother where she can guarandamntee you should would have had jucier secrets to spill than “they fired me for being too awesome”. Claudia asks Jake if he found the wait nervewracking, and he says that he did, but he’s glad he got partnered with Janette because she’s a “no-nonsense American”. LOL he’s so funny. Claudia next asks Steve how he feels about getting Ola and he grins that he’s really glad because a friend of his is a dancer and she rates Ola the highest of all the female pros because she could make anyone look good (apart from Paul Daniels. And Sid Owen. And Andrew Castle. And…) EVEN HIM!
Apparently she didn’t rate Ola highly enough to pronounce her name properly. (Also, seriously, he’s so Hollins-y, look at him, I bet they win). Claudia then makes sure to razz Iveta extra hard about how sexy her partner is until Iveta almost dies from blushing and then she doesn’t ask Aliona anything because we’re before the watershed.
Next up we’re going to be introduced to our new three professional dancers – Trent Whiddon, Tristan MacManus and Kevin’s Sister. We get the usual “…from GRIMSBY!” joke which was much funnier when it was used as contrast in a flurry of new exotic new pros from Miama, Slovenia and Russia rather than…County Wicklow. Here they are
Trent is an Australian 10-Dance champion and thinks he’s an honest, helpful and motivational teacher. He also looks a bit like Craig McLachlan after a bout of Winter Vomiting Bug. I hope he and his partner dance to “Mona” at some point. He also lasted about 2 weeks on one season of Dancing With The Stars about a decade ago and has been in Bum The Floor for TWELVE YEARS SOLID (just think of how many times he’s shagged Janette!) (lol I doubt it *wink*). I have high hopes, because he’s versed in 10 Dance, Antipodean Pros are always amazing(/AMOYZING!) and because when he dances he pulls total
Zoolander faces. (All the new pros do a bit of a dance on a podium with their faces on surrounded by squealing fan-girls like they’re on Top Of The Pops. It’s truly bizarre).
Kevin’s Sister is the current World Ballroom Showdance champion, is Kevin’s sister, is Karen’s sister-in-law-to-be, has a really squeaky voice and looks a bit like a young Jayne Torvill. She says that she is small and mighty and then shows off her GUNZ
I find her a little bit terrifying.
Tristan is the champion of Ireland (he doesn’t say at what, possibly for being handsome), the unofficial funeral director of Dancing With The Stars, where he provided classy send-offs for any number of Golden Age female celebrities, has an accent you either find deeply erotic or deeply annoying, is the one male pro in this show’s history under the age of Anton-Years-Old to be allowed chest hair, and has allowed someone to
doodle in biro all the way up his right arm how annoying.
Once the new male pros are done carrying around the new female pro like they’re showing off a prize on Wheel Of Fortune, the screaming fangirls disperse and are replaced with the other pros, presumably to remind the newbies that however exciting and fresh things seem now
jadedness is just round the corner.
THE END! (Seriously, someone get Craig McLachlan a cold flannel, he’s burning up there).
Back to Claud 9 now, where the 11 celebrities who have yet to play Tess’ Dating Game are waiting to be lightly grilled by Claudia. As ever, the show takes the best possible time to thank
The Man In The Hat And His Wonderful Orchestra, them having just pressed play on their mp3 of Clean Bandit and nipped off for a fag. Claudia first turns to Allison and asks her if was physically inspired by the performances of Trent, Tristan and Kevin’s Sister and she replies that no, she wasn’t, and it made her want to try to find a way out of her contract right now. Talk to Aliona, she’ll help you out. Recommend two other friends to her and you’ll get a solid gold (leaf) pen! Frankie chirrups that she’s now more nervous about which pro she’s going to get than about the actual dancing. Don’t worry hun, you’re not getting Anton. Sadly.
“Judy Sinatra” (the lost Sinatra) is asked next if she/they have their eye on anyone and Judy replies that she was hoping someone with a lot of patience and a sense of humour.
But instead she gave birth to Andy Murray oh well hey ho. Sunetra pants that she doesn’t think Claudia quite appreciates just how nervous they are “as a collective” but Tim protests that he, personally, remains unruffled.
Easy to say when the stakes are a bit lower for you. I mean…I can’t imagine anyone saying “I expected Diet Dickinson to be far more exciting on the dance floor”, whereas if Judy Murray isn’t an hilarious trainwreck Scottish Independence is officially off.
Next up : Five Seconds Of Summer, Six Seconds Of Instagrammed Nude Pics That End Up All Over The Internet, Seven Seconds Of One Direction Arguing Over Which Two Of Them Have To Shag On Camera In Order To Trump The Publicity :
I appreciate the show’s need to refresh its viewership as it ages, but my appreciation isn’t up to recapping four Australian bogans all singing down their noses trying to be McBusted like it’s something to aspire to. (*fast forward through Karen and Kevin doing the rumba*)
This is Caroline Flack.
She tells us that she’s quite giggly and upbeat and positive but also a lot more sensitive and vulnerable and emotional than people would assume. Look
here she is hugging a dress and scrunching up her face like she’s on Brokeback Mountain : Lesbian Edition. I’ve generally liked Caroline from what I’ve seen of her on tv, but this sort of thing is where she might lose me because really I’ve given no thought at all to her emotional toughness or otherwise thanks and, I promise not to go to this well too often because they’re cheap jokes and generally my opinion is “good for her” but I’ll be honest, when the most notable public face of a woman is one who chases after men half her age for sex like Blanche DuBois on a coke-bender, my most immediate thought isn’t “what a cold hard rationalist”.
Caroline tells us that before she worked in tv she did every job we can possibly imagine – daffodil picker, meat-packer, magician’s assistant. That is…an impressive resume. I wonder which of those most impressed Simon Cowell. Anyway, she tells us that her biggest concern on the show is going to be how her face looks whilst she dances. She doesn’t want to end up looking like this
I dunno Caroline, I think one could easily, say, end up as World Ballroom Showdance Champion whilst pulling that exact face. From Grimsby. Anyway, what’s not mentioned, conspicuously, is that a few years ago Caroline was the champion of Dancing On Wheels, a ballroom and latin based show about improving access for people in wheelchairs to the world of professional dancespor….
WAS SOMEONE TALKING ABOUT HOW THEY WON WITH RAMPS?
No they weren’t Karen, back in your box.
This is Jennifer Gibney
Remember that Fiona woman from last year? The one who ended up hurling Susanna Reid over the balcony in last year’s finale, leaving her a crumpled mangled heap on the floor, but the show edited it to make it look like it was the end of Susanna’s paso? The one who was here because she won a competition? This is the woman who does her hair for her I think.
This is Pixie Lott
She’s come wearing a diner. She tells us that she’s been singing for as long as she can remember, which from the generally glazed look on her face I’m guessing isn’t very long. She tells us that she’s called Pixie because she was born almost two months premature and was therefore really tiny.
Has the first shot fired in Baby Wars ever actually been that of the contestant themselves before? Someone check?
Pixie informs us mechanically, with the rote pronunciation of someone who’s been told by their agent that this worked for Kimberly Walsh so she’ll probably be fine as well, that she went-to-a-performing-arts-school-but-they-never-did-any-ballroom-or-latin-they’re-really-very-different-disciplines. Well I don’t know about you but I bet she definitely might not be very good right from the first episode, how wrong of us to pre-judge her. Pixie then tells us that she’s also disadvantaged because she’ll be doing all her usual radio and festival appearances at the same time as doing Strictly.
Some jokes really are just too mean aren’t they? Instead let’s all just remember that time on Over The Rainbow when Sheila Hancock called Pixie Lott’s pop-songs vapid rubbish with trite lyrics that any moron could sing. (*sigh*). Seriously, could they have not cast her this series, instead of that the woman who does Fiona Fullerton’s hair? AndmaybepartneredherwithIancoughcough.
Back to the ballroom to pair these three and
oh look now it’s not hunky men Tess has wandered off what a shocker. Claudia asks Caroline what she’s done in order to try to stop herself pulling bizarre faces when she dances and she says that she’s been taking lessons off Anton.
Kevin’s expression speaks for us all there, I feel. In order to show off what she’s learnt, Claudia gets her to do her best Paso Face.
I’m so sorry that this is a Launch Show and that the Buntomatic 5000 isn’t fully charged up yet. That looks like about a 0.68 though. She’s going to be partnered with PASHA!
Has anyone on this show ever lived a more charmed life in terms of their draw than Pasha has? That’s four attractive young women, three of whom have clearly had previous dance-training, and no duffers ever. Between this and him apparently now admitting he’s shagging Rachel Riley (a case of the bland laying the bland if ever I heard of one), the other male pros must be seething with jealousy.
Pasha says he’s “made up” (bless, he’s learning idioms!) to be partnered with Caroline, whilst Brendan and Anton make fun of his stupid wiggly “new partner” over-dancing behind his back. SUCH JELUS HATAHS! IT’S NOT PASHA’S FAULT HE’S SO ADORABLE THAT THE UNIVERSE SMILES ON HIS EVERY STEP.
Next up is Jennifer
That dress certainly emphasises…some places doesn’t it? She may be married to a Drag Queen but she’d certainly have trouble cross-dressing herself with those things. Claudia’s all “are you having a nice day out?” and Jennifer says “yes” and then she gets partnered with Tristan because they’re both Irish.
This show is so imaginative sometimes. He does a little jig over to her and makes a noise like someone punched a pterodactyl.
Last of the three to be paired is Pixie
who looks a bit like a nightclub singer from an episode of The Flintstones set in Rock Vegas. Claudia asks her if she wants anybody in particular and she says no and it’s a good job because she’s
not got anybody in particular. Trent dances over, as Brendan and Anton mock him all the way over (seriously, now that James has gone they’re really going the extra mile to pick up the BANTER slack aren’t they?) which Trent brushes off, unamused. It’s only when Trent and Pixie are together that you truly
start to hope that they do all their rehearsals in a Dream House complete with Sports Convertible and Vet School. Occasionally to be interrupted in a Comedy VT by Pixie’s sister Skipper. After they’ve gone off to Claud 9/their Malibu Hacienda And Hair-Dressing Salon, Claudia asks Darcey which of the three women they’ve just paired off she sees most promise in, and Darcey says Jennifer, because of her really great posture.
Next we are to be visited by the ghosts of Strictly Past as last year’s winners return for one last waltz around the floor. Before that though, here’s an exclusive interview
Abbey : “ME NEHRVES, ME NEHRVES, ME NEHRVES, ME NEHRVES, ME NEHRVES, ME NEHRVES, ME PETE, ME BABY, ME NAN, ME NEHRVES!”
Aljaz : “Janette says that I can dance with Abbey one more time if I give her beautiful necklace from Darcey Bussell Collection £99.99 on QVC limited time only”
Abbey : “ME NEHVES, WE WERN SHAGGIN HONEST, ME NEHRVES, ME NEHRVES!”
The music of Des’ree starts up, and Aljaz and Abbey reprise their series-winning performance. To be honest it’s slightly underwhelming this time around just knowing the perfection that went before.
I don’t know if the trousers are cut differently, or maybe if he’s lost weight but it’s just not doing it for me as much this time. Sorry guys. And given that that was the only real reason I was in favour of this dance in the first place I really would much rather have seen their Viennese Waltz or American Smooth.
After the dance is over, Tess asks Abbey if she’s glad to be back and she comedically snaps that no she isn’t because she’s riddled with jealousy of everyone who is about to be able to start fresh on this journey. Well you can either be riddled with jealousy here in the studio being applauded by Mrs Brown, Pixie Lott’s mum and let’s face it probably Jon Culshaw, or you can be riddled with jealousy at home on the sofa in your bra and pants and eating Salt & Vinegar McCoy’s spraying crumbs down yourself every time Janette appears, so it’s up to you love. Tess then gets all wistful
and sighs that this is the last time Abbey and Aljaz will EVER DANCE TOGETHER, which is obviously a thing with Tess, because I remember it being pretty much all she bloody said in the last hour of last year’s finale as well.
Up on Claud 9,
three more showmances-in-potentia are waiting, some more likely than others. Caroline makes a big show of how happy she is to have Pasha, cackling that they are now best friends and asking Pasha winsomely if he’s as happy about their new SUPER BEST FRIENDSSHIP as she is. Pasha briefly considers taking his life into his own hands but then
says he’s probably even MORE excited if anything. Caroline goes “AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!” and hugs him.
She’s such a Grade 4 Clinger I love it. Claudia next asks Jennifer if she’s relieved to be partnered with Tristan and she replies that she doesn’t intend to be relieved until the awful car-crash Group Dance is over and she’s taken her control pants off thank you very much. Finally Claudia basically implies that Pixie and Trent are going to shag, because she’s bored, and their faces are a
picture. I mean…unless there have been significant alterations made to the Ken Dolls I remember, I doubt much will come of it.
Next up in Filler News
Claudia and Tess on a tandem. I mean, I know they’re trying to hold their viewership to the very end of the show to dent X Factor as much as possible for publicity purposes, but there’s only half an hour left and we’ve still got to pair half the couples off and play Radio 2 slot machines AND do the car-crash Group Dance. Get a move on. Anyway, Claudia and Tess are cameo’ing in a GBBO History Bit in the name of snooping on Car-Crash Group Dance rehearsals. As is usual, everyone compares it to the first day at a new school/first day back at school after the holidays. In Kevin’s case the school in question being
Hogwarts. And as it’s Glasses Kevin, let’s just say I’d let him try to snaffle my golden snitch.
All the celebrities have been hidden behind a curtain, so they will come as a delightful surprise to any of the pros who haven’t read(/leaked stories to) a tabloid newspaper in the last month or so. All of the pros look expectantly at the velvet drapes except Aliona
who already knows in her heart what fate awaits her. They even put Gregg shining right in the middle of the group of celebs in a blinding white shirt just for her. Look.
She knows. As does Joanne
in a slightly different way. Everyone hug-hugs and kiss-kisses and Aliona tries to hang suggestively around MEN WHO AREN’T GREGG WALLACE in a sort of way that might suggest that they would also look good as a couple maybe possibly
if they’re feeling kind in their hearts. I think my favourite moment of them all is when Aliona and Natalie hang out at the side talking about how whoever ends up partnered with Thom is a lucky girl indeed.
It’s kind of heartbreaking isn’t it? Anyway Claudia and Tess take up the rest of the gossiping duties, coo’ing about how well Anton and Caroline are getting on, and saying that Ola is clearly desperate for a bit of Thom. Of course the guy playing the role played here by Thom last year was Ashley, and we all saw how that ended.
Here’s Simon Webbe
and some shoes. He was once a member of Blue : alongside Greek Blue, Bisexual Blue, and Embarrassment To The Human Race Blue. Simon insists that all he did dance-wise whilst in Blue was shrug his shoulder. Possibly whilst just sitting in a chair. (He was also the male lead in Sister Act : The Musical in The West End, which may or may not have involved dancing) (No, really, I don’t know and am too lazy to research) (Let me ask my boyfriend if he thinks there was dancing in it) (He says yes, proably). He tells us that he’s competitive and here to win at all costs. Let’s hope he doesn’t get partnered with a pro with a history of getting insanely over-invested EH?
Simon goes on to say, in the spirit of competitiveness, that he recently won the 62nd Sexiest Man Alive. Which must have been a job explaining to his girlfriend when he brought him home from the hook-a-duck stall.
He closes by saying that as soon as he heard he was doing Strictly this year he was straight down the gym
presumably to do his hair by sticking it right in the chest press.
This is Diet Dickinson
I have to be honest, the only episode of Bargain Hunt I’ve ever seen was the one with the mega-pairing of Richard O’Brien and Jodie Prenger, and let’s face it, I wasn’t looking to the host as that glory unfolded, so I’m flying blind here. My one point in his favour so far is that the bow-tie is at least done up. He tells us every single episode of Bargain Hunt ends like this :
so he’s actually somewhat of a ringer.
God am I glad that I no longer have any need to watch daytime tv.
This is Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills
He’s one of the nation’s most versatile presenters (or at least he is if you believe that grindr profile being passed around the Internet was actually his) and he’s here doing it for his mum. I would make fun, but based on the impersonation he does of his mother it sounds like she might have a condition, so I won’t. He tells us that his friends all call him Scott Spills because he’s so clumsy. Also Scott Pills because of his massive drug habit. Also Scott Dills after his favourite herb. Also Scott Gills because he’s a keen swimmer. Also Scott Fills because of…that other thing he mentioned in that alleged grindr profile. Anyway, he laughs that if anyone falls over it’s going to be him, because he can even fall over GETTING OUT OF BED!
I see that transition to the humour style of Radio 2 is already beginning.
Scott closes by saying that he really hopes that all of the “Radio 1 Family” turn out to support him, especially Grimmy. I think maybe it might be better for you if he didn’t Scott.
These are Mark Wright’s Knuckles
This is Mark Wright’s Littlewood Catalogue Face
This is Mark Wright Expressing His Existential Ennui Via Video-Wall Primal Scream.
Mark tells us that he’s really used to and comfortable with having cameras following his every move which…was not my impression from the 20 seconds of TOWIE that I watched that one time but ok. He does say that he expects Strictly to be very different though. Yes, if there’s one place where the acting is more stilted and unnatural than TOWIE, it is the Strictly Come Dancing Comedy VT. And Doctors.
Mark goes on to say that all of his friends call him “Marky No-Moves” because he’s such an awful dancer and that he’s never had a fake tan before in his life. He also has a pilot’s licence and one time he stopped this kid from drowning and did he mention that he’s totally met Tom Cruise and he offered to put Mark Wright in a movie but Mark had to turn it down because he had a dj’ing gig already booked for that night but Tom said that any time Mark wanted to be in any of his films all he had to do was call which was really sweet of him.
Back to the studio now, to find out where Simon ranks on the Daly-Hunk-O-Meter.
Pretty well is the answer. She reminds Simon that he danced in the Christmas Special one year with Katya (RIP Katya we miss you and your hats) and also has a musical background and ALSO is officially In It To Win It. Simon says that all those things are true, but everything Katya taught him has gone out the window now, so he’s a blank slate, ready to be moulded. Moulded by KRISTINA.
I’m loving the extreme inverse relationship between how excited the female pro is and how excited the male celebrity is by each pairing. Seriously, look at her.
In heaven. Simon takes her off to Claud 9 forthwith before she starts actually simulating orgasm like she did all over Jason Donovan’s face that one time.
Next up is Diet Dickinson.
Well there’s no accounting for taste I guess. Tess calls him a dapper chap and asks him if it’s true that he’s doing the show because his wife wants him to learn how to dance. Tim says yes. Just once I’d like someone to admit that it’s not for their wife or their mum or their kids or because they’ve always secretly wanted to learn how to Charleston, but for the paycheque and the fact that their last single was bought by 214 people. Tim reveals that his wife is in fact a ballroom expert so he wants to be able to keep up with her, and the entire audience goes “awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww” in unison. Helping him to achieve this goal will be
Natalie, who has a full body reaction. She jiggles over, and Tess grins that she bets that Tim’s wife will be very happy. Given Natalie’s history with her partners wives…I don’t know about that Tess. Natalie grins that they’ll have the time of their lives and Tim’s all “hurr hurr hurr I bet we will hurr hurr hurr” and seriously Natalie,
watch for the wife.
Scott’s next and tells the two remaining women that whoever gets him he’s sure it’ll be a challenge for them but OH WELL HE’LL TRY AND MAKE IT LESS HIDEOUS FOR THEM
Not that he’s not SURE THEY’D RATHER BE WITH MARK WRIGHT OH WELL SUCKS TO BE YOU STUCK WITH TRAGIC OLD SCOTT MILLS. The woman in question is Joanne
and yet another full body reaction. Then again I’ve got a feeling that Joanne might be quite demonstrative in general.
Exhibit A. Scott claims to Tess that he was secretly hoping to get Joanne the whole time and Tess and Joanne both go “awwwwwwwwwwwwwww” and hug him and cry a little bit simultaneously, as Scott thinks as so many gay men have before him
how very difficult straight men make something that really is very very simple indeed.
Of course this means that
Mark and Karen 2 is a thing, as is me sitting here wondering how deeply anal it is that it actually does bother me slightly that there have now been “Mark & Karen”s in this show’s history.
Once they’re off, Tess asks Craig which of the male celebrities he’s most excited about this series, like male celebrities has ever been a thing that Craig has ever been even remotely interested in in any way shape or form. Craig replies that he’s most excited about getting the chance to lay in to Gregg Wallace. Me too, and I don’t even have the excuse of having him judge my chefly talents.
Up to Claud 9 now
which Claudia proclaims to be “like the end of a school disco”. I mean…it’s not like the end of my school disco because as far as I can tell nobody’s getting fingered through their tights round the back of the tuck shop but ok. I will say that it is a BIT like it in that the one guy I’m most interested in is nowhere to be seen (COME BACK GREG THE FLOOR MANAGER, WE NEED YOU). Claudia gets Simon to show off his Blue Shoulder Shuffle to Kristina
and she is a woman a-gog. Seriously it took her a whole month last year to get Ben used to the idea that muscles could move independently of the body as a whole. She’s sure she’s at least making the final with this one. Natalie drawls at Tim that he’s the one she wanted all along, which again actually does make it a bit like the end of the school disco in that somebody’s inappropriately drunk. Tim tells Natalie that he wants her too and she throws back her head laughing so hard that I’m worried she might dislodge something.
Possibly part of the set.
Claudia then turns to Scott and tells him that Joanne is currently the reigning World Champion of something or other, possibly ballroom related although you never know with this show and Scott looks
legitimately scared. Don’t worry Scott, if you break her, who’s going to try to beat you up? Kevin?
We close with Mark saying that he’s really happy to have Karen because he knows that she’ll be so sweet and kind and patient with him and Karen
promising that she will beat Mark down into a bloody Essex stump. HOORAY!
Next up, in celebration of Gay Marriage becoming legal this year
two lovely old lesbians sing “Get Ready” by Smokey Robinson. Further combinations coming up on this series’ Radio 2 Slot Machine include Caro Emerald & Dionne Warwick, Birdy & Barry Manilow, David Grey & Fleetwood Mac and Rumer & Rod Stewart. Also, sorry if you were planning to use this recap’s pictures as a way of working out what the professional partnerships are going to be this series, but let’s face it, they’re just going to throw everyone’s car keys in a bowl again like they did last year.
Time now for our final run of female celebrities.
This is Alison Hammond.
Claudia tells us that in her role on This Morning Alison surrounds herself with stars and glitter. That’s right, she looks after Holly Willoughby’s kids for her. Sometimes they let her on camera to do that “OH MY GOD, HUMBLE ME, ALISON FROM BIRMINGHAM MEETING ONE OF THE STARS OF PRETTY LITTLE LIARS!” shtick that you’d think would pall after 17+ years of doing it but apparently not. Alison says that she loves her job, then cackles in lieu of saying something actually funny. Again, if you’ve ever watched ITV daytime, this is very much the house style. Normally it’s done whilst pretending to be tipsy off, like, a pipette of wine. She tells us that Lisa Riley was an inspiration to bigger women everywhere, because she went out there and moved. High bar you’ve set for yourself there Al. Regardless Alison says that, filled with the spirit of Lisa, she’s going to go out there and bust some shapes on the dancefloor. Given the…
energy that Alison is giving it, I’m guessing the shape she’ll be busting is going to be an Allison shaped hole in the floor.
Then after being a bit annoying Alison wins be over by low’ing like one of the three-eyed aliens from Toy Story that she’s really looking forward to all the GLIH-AH. She wants GLIH-AH all over her body and GLIH-AH all over her face and GLIH-AH all over her clothes and GLIH-AH all over her vital organs. She loves GLIH-AH. As much GLIH-AH as can possibly be found. She wants it. She wants GLIH-AH.
I can feel the Midlands Pride bubbling up inside me.
This is Judy Murray.
Or Sheila Hancock playing Judy Murray in a biopic of her life that I urgently need to see. She’s famously mother to Andy and The Other One.
Wouldn’t it be funny if one day you found out that Judy had also had a daughter? Judy tells us that she’s spent the last 25 years glowering over everything her sons have done (oh yes, *everything*) in order to help them pursue their dreams of sporting glory, which has left her feeling constantly somewhere between vomitting and having a heart-attack. Oddly enough that’s how I’ve felt during the last 25 years of watching her professional partner dancing on Strictly (NOT REALLY, HER PROFESSIONAL PARTNER, LOVE YOU). She recounts again how Andy told her she was going to be really rubbish on the show. I mean…based on evidence he’s not wrong. Tennis players have been universally awful on this show across the globe even in the prime of their fitness. Judy cackles that both her kids going to be MORTIFIED
with a look that suggests that she lives for little else. LOVE YOU JUDY.
Judy closes by saying that she’s aware that everyone views her as the overbearing Sports Mum From Hell (<3) but she hopes she shows a softer side of herself on Strictly. I don’t.
This is Sunetra Sarker
really getting into the swing of that whole “elegance” thing nice and early. She tells us that all her years of playing a doctor have taught her to be able to check someone’s pulse and get them into the recovery position and that’s it. Add in “eat expensive dinners” and you’ve got the daily repertoire of most consultants right there to be honest. Sunetra tells us that her luckiest break was being scouted by the Brookside Casting Department. Her unluckiest break was when they passed her immediately on to the
Brookside Wardrobe Department.
She goes on to recount that her mother was a professional Indian Dancer and that she herself took part in all of her shows until the age of 12, when she promptly told her mum to stuff it and went off to drink White Lightning in the park instead. Or something like that. Anyway she’s very regretful for that now and she’s here doing it for her mum and also her son etc etc.
This is Frankie Bridge
She’s a member of The Saturdays and also dated one of McFly. Just a thought about the modern media : what % of this year’s female contestants do you think have ever received death threats? And what % of the men? Anyway, Frankie tells us that this year she’s had a baby and got married and now she’s doing Strictly and then she’s going on holiday with the rest of her girlfriends in The Saturdays. It becomes slowly apparent over the course of this segment that Frankie’s appeal as a pop-star is her normality, as she basically says all this like she’s chatting to you from behind a reception desk.
She tells us all that when she was 12 she was in a pop group called S Club Juniors and that as a result all of her awkward teenage years are everywhere for everyone to see.
If they should for any reason ever be looking for videos by S Club Juniors. Videos in which she’s had full hair and make-up done, unlike by pictures as a twelve year old, unless you count pizza sauce as make-up. My heart bleeds. Frankie then does the usual non-threatening pop-star spiel about how ballroom dancing is very different from her day job and how she’s competitive but not TOO competitive because that would be unladylike, and seriously I don’t watch Strictly for this, I watch Strictly for overweight Brummie women yelling GLIH-AH so let’s get to those final pairings.
Alison shakes and vibrates and heaves her bosom with excitement until Tess tells her that she’s going to be partnered with Aljaz
because their names are a bit similar. A fact which Allison finds hilarious and enthralling. Again…ITV Daytime House Style. So exciting does she find this that the spirit of Lisa Riley takes her over entirely and she tries to lift Aljaz up, causing his buttocks to
visibly clench harder than Aliona’s jaw when she found out who her partner was.
OK so somewhere around this point Tess gets bored because all the hunks are gone and gets Claudia to take over.
Either that or Claudia demanded to handle Judy Murray personally and who could blame her? She asks Judy if, when she wins Strictly, she will in fact throw all of Andy and Jamie’s trophies in the bin to make way for the Strictly Glitterball. Judy replies that she’s not saying it’s easy to win Wimbledon but yes, yes she would Claudia. She would literally wipe everything for that glitterball. I mean…as she’s partnered with Anton, she may have to. And install a chair-lift.
Anton unfortunately is briefly indisposed by discovering that the Planet Of The Apes was in fact Earth all along, but I’m sure he and Judy will get on famously when they eventually meet.
Sunetra is the ultimate victim of the Daly Squeeze
as she tells Tess that if she checks her pulse she’ll find that she’s tachycardic. Isn’t that what they used to force Artem to wear in every Comedy VT last year? Anyway, as time is running on, let’s reveal that she’s going to be partnered with Brenda.
In this case, the comedy over-reaction is all the contestant’s. This means that it’s up to Kevin to do the comedy “ooh I’m the last man standing I wonder which female celeb I’m partnered with” reaction
for the second series running. Once he makes it over to Frankie he yells “I LOVE SATURDAYS!” which is endearingly boss-eyed of him.
Everyone paired off, it’s to the judges one final round of non-opinions. Len has now decided he’s randomly most excited by Tim Wonnacott now, Darcey says something boring about nerves, Craig is a panto bitch some more, and Bruno gets overheated about how SEXY everyone is.
This just leaves the closing Group Dance, which is the usual sprawling mess of random choreography, of which my abiding memory is mostly
just how very very dead Jake Wood’s eyes are throughout. Never has Land Of 1000 Dances prompted such sadness. To my eyes pretty much everyone you thought was going to be good is going to be good, particularly Simon, unless you thought Scott Mills was going to be any good. Judy Murray is for the ages bad.
I am excited.