All 8 Strictly ladies chronologically revealed and ready to go!
Kellie Bright : Formerly a child star buffeting around the edges of sort-of-fame as Del Boy’s mum, Ali G’s girlfriend, Honor Blackman’s step-granddaughter, and an embezzeling lesbian in Bad Girls, Kellie Bright was saved by Eastenders, and plonked into a reliable starring role of matriarch of the Queen Vic, Linda Carter (aka Wonder Woman). Of course every new soap queen comes with a retinue and Kellie is head of the whole Carter Family, consisting of Mick Carter, Shirley Carter, Stan Carter, Lee Carter, Nancy Carter, Ollie Carter, Tina Carter, Gay One Carter, Howard Carter, Jimmy Carter, Angela Carter, Helena Bonham Carter, Little Aaron Carter, Dixie Carter, Magna Carter, N. Carter (the clever one), and Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine. As a soap matriarch Kellie has had to act out such harrowing storylines as finding out your favourite son is gay, and therefore about to disappear from the show as all gay characters in soaps do as soon as they come out, and getting raped by Matt Di Angelo, making her the first Strictly contestant ever to be fictionally sexually assaulted by another Strictly contestant. What a milestone. Of course the Eastenders producers, being the Eastenders producers, will give her an equally traumatic storyline to film during her stay on Strictly, like her children being kidnapped, having to shag Ian Beale, or having her uterus pulled out by a swimming pool filter, leaving her a hollow-eyed husk by about week 8, but let’s enjoy her whilst we can. For those of you who’ve been waiting all year to dust the cobwebs off your ringer alarm, she’s also a Sylvia Young graduate, so HAVE AT IT.
Georgia May Foote : Our second lady revealed is also a soap star. Apparently. Judging from her name I would have thought she was a one hit wonder country singer from 1967 with the song “Muddy Clumplets”, but here we are. Normally I’m quite well up on the soap stars WHO APPEAR on this show, but Georgia May is officially the first contestant since Dan Lobb who I don’t recognise on sight, and looking at the wikipedia page for her Coronation Street character I can see why. Seriously, we’re peaking out at “For her portrayal of Katy, Foote was included on the long-list for Best Soap Newcomer at the 2011 TV Choice Awards” here. She’s no Cathy Beale. In fact she’s barely even a Dawn Swann. Those of us with long Strictly memories will look at Georgia May and add up “young”, “pretty”, “actress”, and “I’ve never bloody heard of her” and come to one conclusion – DIRTY RINGAH! But fortunately for our hearts and our Daily Mail Comments Section Complaining Fingers, Georgia May herself clarified on BBC Breakfast during her reveal that whilst she did do a lot of dance at performing arts school, it was all just faffing around doing ballroom and latin, rather than the pure contemporary and hip hop dancing that Strictly Come Dancing is based aroun…hang on, I think I’ve got that backwards somewhere along the line but I’ve no idea where…Anyway, ONE FOR THE DADS etc etc
Katie Derham : Going *so* Heartland BBC now that I have started vibrating, frothing at the mouth, and having fever-visions of the old BBC One hot-air balloon being piloted around the Surrey countryside by Lord Reith himself (never mind that she principally rose to prominance as an ITV Newsreader, there is NOTHING more licence-fee than the Proms, NOTHING), Katie Derham was punted out as a name last midnight by the Guardian. A violin playing Cambridge educated econimist and fan of classical music (they still have that at the proms right? It’s not ALL the Dr Who theme tune being remixed through a dubstep kazoo?) Katie promises to bring a touch of class to this year’s Strictly………..or at least until all the show’s middle-aged “I’m just watching it for the wife” straight male viewers start in with the “I BET SHE’S SECRETLY FILTHY JUST LIKE ALL POSH TOTTY HURR HURR HURR” fantasies. None of that on this blog though. No sir. (hi pasha)
Carol Kirkwood : People get ready. A built up dam of weather related puns, metaphors, and incredibly tortured analogies that’s been swelling up for the last 12 years is about to burst all over this year’s Strictly, with the arrival of Carol Kirkwood – BBC Breakfast’s Weather Presenter In Chief. Brewing storms, warm fronts, isolated outbursts of rhythm, sunny spells, clouds on the horizon, high pressure, “snow joke”, “she will be mist”, “it’ll be a breeze”, “LET’S HOPE CRAIG WON’T GIVE HER A FROSTY RECEPTION”, “LET’S HOPE CRAIG DOESN’T RAIN ON HER PARADE”, “LET’S HOPE CRAIG GETS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING AND DIES THE GREAT BIG POOF HA HA HA!” (oh no, wait, Bruce has left hasn’t he?), dancing to songs by The Weather Girls, KC & The Sunshine Band, Wet Wet Wet, Rainbow, Sleet-er Kinney, and Snow (a-licky-bum-bum-down)…it’ll all have me reaching for a stiff drink from the isobar. Oh great, now I’m doing it. As an individual outside of her arrival heralding a blizzard (stop it) of bad puns so cringeworthy Bruce will be hammering at the studio doors demanding to be let back in like Fred Flintstone at the end of every episode? Carol is very cheerful and very Scottish and I hope to God wardrobe have got a sturdier set of bras in than they’ve had in recent years, I’ll say that much.
Anita Rani : Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s another nice safe daytime BBC presenter! In her career Anita has presented programmes about antiques, cricket, poetry, consumer affairs and the English countryside, and also was the champion of the one series of Great British Celebrity Bake-Off that had an official winner. In short, Anita Rani is yet another spoonful of middle-class in a series already slightly overburdened with them. I’m sure she’s very charming, but at this point we badly need something else.
Jamelia : Our first ever Strictly One-Name Superstar (…no, sorry “Bloody Lulu” is two names, you’re wrong), Jamelia’s first flush of fame came as a millennial popstar with hits such as “Money”, “Superstar”, “Thank You”, “Beware Of The Dog” and that gopping cover of “Stop” she did for the Bridget Jones 2 soundtrack. Then the second flush came with her a perennial panel show contestant, telling us all what happens on the outer reaches of UK fame, like filming awful movies with Vinnie Jones and a bear in Croatia, and having to put up with Javine being a massive slag. Then came the third flush, as she settled in as a Loose Woman, educating us all with her well-formed opinions like “we should all just stop pretening fat people exist until they either lose weight out of shame or kill themselves it’s a win win!”. Or words to that effect. Still, despite all these flushes, she continues to circle the bowl of celebrity, and neatly fills the “pop star for the gays” niche this series. I have mixed feelings on Jamelia’s participation because on the one hand she can be incredibly aggro and annoying, and on the other hand she can be hilariously aggro and annoying, like during her recent stint on Bear Grylls : Mission Schedule Filler where she tormented Laurence and Emilia Fox with her whining and passive-aggression until they actually started having psychotic hallucinations in the middle of the jungle. Not that I’m suggesting that there’s any of the male pro line up I’d find it hilarious to have stuck with her as punishment, possibly for treating their partner last year like an inconvenience or anything. Anyway, if this year’s line-up has been benign and nice and charming so far, maybe Jamelia is the grit in the oyster we need to make this series a pearl? If nothing else I want her to be billed as “Superstar Superstar”.
Helen George : Another name that’s been circling for a while now, thanks to The Daily Telegraph deciding a couple of weeks ago to release one genuine name paired with two obviously incorrect ones, to make themselves look…actually I don’t even know. Anywho, Helen is a star of BBC 1 cosy baby-death fest Call The Midwife, and in apparently psychic preparation I actually watched my first series of it this year. So I can tell you from experience that Helen plays someone who is posh and blonde and listens to JAZZ and smokes CIGARETTES and almost married a vicar and then didn’t and then became a massive pisshead, but in a cosy BBC 1 way where she just danced a bit funny and fell asleep a lot, as opposed to say vomitting all over herself and telling Sister Evangelina to go frig herself. Then a lesbian fell off a bike, dunn dunn durrrrn, end of series. I’m not really sure what the Call The Midwife experience gave me either generally (except when I had a bit of a cry at the episode where the senile nun managed to be useful for probably the last time in her life) or in terms of a grounding in Helen George, other than to say she’s very pretty and seems frightfully nice and (say it with me) HEARTLAND BBC. I don’t know if her presence makes Katie Derham a little more redunant to the show or if it sets up a glorious rivalry for the Strictly ages where they both compete to be the most consistantly crimped.
Kirsty Gallacher : And we close with another perennial rumour, another person who leaked months ago, and another presenter. Kirsty is chiefly known for competing on The Games, winning The Games (I warn you now, in terms of The Games, I was Team Princess Tamara Bonbon and I’m still bitter), and then usurping the presenting position from the incumbent (I warn you now, in LIFE, I am Team Jayne Middlemiss and I’m still bitter) for all of one series before the show got cancelled. So WATCH OUT TESS, SHE’S COMING FOR YOUR JOB. Probably. Other than that Kirsty’s career as a presenter has mostly been anchored around Sky Sports News, one segment on the Ant & Decs and something called “Kirsty’s Home Videos”, which I’m not googling because I’m fairly sure it’s related to The Fappening, and I’d get arrested. Kirsty seems nice enough, and I hope participating in the show gives her the best to her presenting career she needs, but from what I remember of The Games she has a touch of the Gabby Logans about her which might not suit her well in the middle of a generally nice and cosy and soft-edged female line-up (and Jamelia).
AND SO TO THE POLLS :
And my suggested pairings :
Anita & Kevin
Carol & Pasha
Georgia & Giovanni
Helen & Gleb
Jamelia & Brenda
Katie & Anton
Kellie & Tristan
Kirsty & Aljaz
Feel free to unleash hell in my comments, Katie stans.