Thursday, 28 August 2008


So here we are once more, the list has been released and its time for the obsession to begin all over again!

With a varied but rather older line-up than previous years (the youngest contestant being Christine Bleakley at 27) and a whopping 16 contestants, this year's Strictly has already got everyone talking and desperate for September to hit us!

So, here are the partnerships...from the top...
Clover's added her two-cents in PURPLE...

Cherie Lunghi and James Jordan
Well lets face it, its just too much fun to hate James Jordan so when I saw that he had got one of the *ahem* older contestants, I did have a little giggle to myself. Saying that, I have no idea about her capabilities yet so maybe if James has a go at teaching rather than shouting he might be able to get some results.
Cherie who? Sorry, I had to look her up. This partnership will depend on her character more so than her skill. If she works hard then it will go well; if she's merely in it for a laugh (or, heaven forbid, she shows any signs of weakness) then James will eat her for breakfast. Think Georgina Bousova. Poor girl...

Andrew Castle and Ola Jordan
Last year Ola earnt her dues and the audience's approval with the lovely but inept Kenny, so with another sportsman this year she could stand a chance of doing ok. However, we all know GMTV's reputation on this show!
As Frankie says, GMTV presenters have not had much luck on this show...perhaps Andrew Castle can buck the trend. But if not, it will be hilarious! :-D

Christine Bleakley and Matthew Cutler
I don't know why, but I have a hunch about Christine and would like to put her down as the potential dark horse of the series (think Gethin Jones without the see-through shirt), especially with such a good teacher.
What a nice partnership this will be. I suspect she will be fairly good. Which makes me feel it's a little unfair since he had the winner last year...come on, when Darren won he got Gloria Hunniford the year after! Matthew could at least have been given a GMTV presenter ... ;-)

Austin Healey and Erin Boag
I have no idea who he is and I am more concerned about Erin's dodgy new hairstyle! Plus this is 5 out of 6 for sportmen partners for her (although I don't know if i count snooker as a sport)!
Had to look him up too, unfortunately. Rugby players haven't got the fabulous track record that cricketers have had on the show, but they certainly haven't done badly. If Erin can quell the sheer desperate competitiveness that made me hate her and Colin Jackson, we may be about to embark on a jooourney...

Gillan Taylforth and Anton Du Beke
Possibly my favourite choice of partnership! I can see these two getting on like a house on fire and giving us entertainment value all the way. Plus Anton deserves a good partner, lets back these two for a while!
Ah, I'm not so keen on this one. It seems poor Anton is destined never to make the final. He could NEVER win due to his appalling latin dancing, so to pair him up with a potential winner may be a tad unfair on his partner, but he could have got someone better than 'Caff', the ex-Eastender and occasional tabloid fodder...SURELY?

Don Warrington and Lilia Kopylova
Another one I had to google, poor Lilia seems to be bearing the brunt of this year's excess of older men. But as we know, she is a very good teacher so let's keep our fingers crossed for our favourite Russian...
No idea who he was either. Poor Lilia. Last year she suffered the insufferable Dominic Littlewood and now she's got some old guy. I'm hoping for her sake that he's good - you never know. We want the Goughie/Lilia magic back!

Heather Small and Brian Fortuna
Heather no longer has big hair, which will hopefully be rectified by the wardrobe department quickly! I have seen Brian on DWST, but will admit he didn't make much of an impression so there's a big question mark hanging over this couple for me...
Starting with a new pro is rarely a good thing...but we have seen Brian Fortuna (albeit briefly) on BBC1 last summer. I have to admit I have no idea about these two...Heather quite easily could end up suffering the same fate as Gabby or Penny.

Karen Hardy and Gary Rhodes
We love you Karen, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease don't go out early! So yes, my hopes aren't particularly high for Gary Rhodes. Its a bit unfounded, but I just don't see many chef skills transferring to dancing, cue jokes about salsa....
I love Karen. She's my favourite pro by far. I'm hoping so much that Gary Rhodes can dance! She's such a star and it was gutting to see her leave first last year.

Jessie Wallace and Darren Bennett
I was very excited when I heard Jessie was appearing on the show, and whilst I still am, I now have concerns about her bad-wig-from-Chicago haircut and the fact that she is dancing with Darren Bennett. I have a completely unfounded and irrational dislike for Mr Beige (aka Matt, as I constantly seem to accidently call him) plus it seems odd to give him yet another Eastenders star!
Frankie is too harsh on Darren - he's a sweetheart! Letitia Dean would never have gone as far in the competition as she did had she been with another partner. However, I suspect this will be a very similar partnership...Darren has danced with half the cast of Eastenders by now...he surely deserves a cameo role on the soap!

John Sargeant and Kristina Rihanoff
Oh dear, new pro dancers normally have to earn their dues with a partner that's expected to be less than spectacular but I do feel Kristina drew the short straw here (I can see Flavia and Jimmy Tarbuck all over again). Saying that, John Sargeant is a lovely bloke and I'm sure he'll do his best for her.
He may get to week two for just being himself but I suspect a jive would kill him. He hasn't got a household name partner to save him either.

Jodie Kidd and Ian Waite
I really feel we have not seen enough of our favourite beanpole in the past couple of years, so I'm hoping he's struck gold this year. It really is unfair that Ian always gets given the tallest woman regardless of how good they are! However, Jodie is both glam and sporty so maybe she'll go far, possibly one to watch.
Love Ian, another darling. He was robbed last year, but has had his share of excellent partners...nevertheless, Jodie Kidd is ultra-competitive and will work hard. If she can get the public on her side, she has a good chance of winning.

Mark Foster and Hayley Holt
Who are these strangers trying to invade my favourite show!? Oh well, he's an Olympian so has Denise Lewis and Colin Jackson's examples to follow.
He's a sportsman. He's probably the winner. Camilla should have got him! How come they've given him to a new pro? Hardly fair...

Lisa Snowdon and Brendan Cole
I am starting to worry about my tendancy towards irrational hatred for people, I'm sure Lisa is a lovely lady but the only thing I can remember about her is that she once dated George Clooney for like a week and I don't think that is a justification for being on the show OR getting one of the best partners! Whip her into shape Brendan...hopefully you'll get to do more Dirty Dancing stuff as a reward.
Surprise surprise. Oh, I bet Brendan's eyes lit up when Lisa Who stepped into the room. Possibly a good pairing but I can't see the public being on their (or her) side.

Phil Daniels and Flavia Cacace
See what happens when you bring the show into disrepute? Vincent gets a sexy little popstar and poor Flavia gets one of the band of old men! Phil Daniels has always been a laugh though, but I just can't get the image of 'dad dancing' out of my head...
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. If he's any good, I'll eat my socks.

Rachel Stevens and Vincent Simone
Hurrah for Wee Vincent and Wee Rachel! One to watch for sure, since popstars who spent their teenage years dancing about on national TV have blatantly got an advantage however much they protest. Plus never underestimate the power of the votes of men who are forced to watch the show by their girlfriends...
This is the partnership I was most hoping for! Wee Vincent may be able to get what he should have got with Louisa Lytton - a well deserved place in that final! My fingers are crossed for Rachel to be good...

Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup
I have no idea who he is, but he's young, keen and vaguely good looking- go for it Camilla! One of my favourite pros, I demand the underrated and creative Camilla gets to the final this year!
Ah, Camilla gets her hands on another hottie. Surely she deserves to make the final this year...but she's just too desperate and outdances her partners. If she keeps it cool, choreographs to make her partner look good and tries to keep her mouth shut whilst dancing she may have a better chance...

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Who Gets The Token Old Guy? Uh, Everyone...

So, yesterday, The Sun leaked what it claims to be the full line up for Strictly this year. It's hard to say whether this is going to be accurate or not. Last year I remember a list being 'leaked', poo-pooing it and then it turned out to be spot on (though if I remember correctly the Neil Warnock rumours persisted well into September...) It could be genuine; it could be full of red herrings. I think it's safe to suggest however, that with it coming from The Sun, it's probably best to take at least part of it with a pinch of salt...oh screw that, it's probably worth evaporating The Dead Sea and taking it with what's left of that...but here goes my opinion on the people that have been suggested...who knows, it could be true...

Having looked carefully at the teaser trailer on the BBC website, I'm pretty certain that's Gary Rhodes' chin in the shot with Karen Hardy. I brought up some pics from Google Images, compared the size and shape of jaw and smile (do not judge me for this - I know at least two other people who have done the same thing...) I do not know if this is good or bad. He seems like a nice guy and surely Karen has to have a better year than last. Though he wasn't a stand out poor dancer a la Kate Garraway, that sombre waltz was poor judgement on Karen's part - and we LOVE Karen. We want her in until at least the middle of the series. No, even better, bring Ramps back! FORCE them to do THAT Argentine Tango...don't bother with the other la la...

Again, looking at the teaser trailer, it looks as though whoever is Lilia's partner has fairly dark skin. This has been ascertained from pausing at a crucial moment in the clip and examining the hands that are around her waist (again, I am not the only person I know who has done this...this makes it OK, doesn't it??) According to The Sun's list, this could only mean that Lilia's partner this year is Don Warrington. Who? Yeah, sorry, I had to look him up. He used to be in 'Rising Damp' apparently and has recently appeared (or is due to appear) in 'Dr. Who.' He's getting on a bit so could be bad news for Lilia. This is bad news for us too because we want to keep Lilia in the competition for as long as possible because. she. has. the. best. costumes. Apart from samba, series 4. We don't talk about that. Well, we do actually, and we mock the headgear.

Now was that Erin with Austin Healey? I don't know why I'm asking, I had to look him up too. Apparently plays rugby. Anyone who knows me but at all knows that my sporting knowledge is shocking. My entire rugby knowledge is summed up by these words: Matt Dawson played it. Anyway...for some reason, I've got a feeling that he'll end up with Erin. I'm not a big fan of hers; she seems to take it all far too seriously. And, I'm sorry, I know she's been in it from the beginning and hasn't won (oh the shame...get over it...) but she blew her chances...she had in her CLUTCHES probably the most talented male celeb the show's ever had...and she made him dance with a puppet. She had a dud last year...but please don't give her one of the only males who might have a chance of going far...

The Sun also mentioned Mark Foster - a tad confusing as he's been in Beijing for The Olympics. Has he been alternating his butterfly and ballroom training? I doubt it. If it is true, he's about the right height for Camilla. Maybe she'll even make the final for once. Tom Chambers (Holby actor, not Basketball player) has also been rumoured. Holby and Casualty stars always seem like the BBC is scraping the barrel...and it's STRICTLY...the barrel is full of decent stars who'd love to take please, please, please don't sign up half bit actors I've never even heard of or care about.

Am I cynical in thinking that the only reason the BBC signs up GMTV stars is to get free advertising on ITV? We've had Fiona Phillips = disaster; Kate Garraway = disaster; now, Andrew Castle...why break tradition? = disaster. For some reason I just can't see him being very good - I can't say why and I could be completely wrong. And how have I got so far down this entry without mentioning an ex-Eastender? And here's the first...Phil Daniels...used to play Kevin Wicks. On the whole, ex-Easties are well-liked so it's likely he'd last a few weeks purely on the back of that. I don't know much about him otherwise. He's not very tall so may well be paired with Wee Flavia.

Hmm, let me consult my list...who of the male species is left to discuss? John Sergeant. Out first. End of.

As you may have noticed...this year's list of male celebs is somewhat, um, aging. They're nearly all the token old guy. There's token YOUNG guys. Surely there's some little hotties wanting to appear on the show? I thought dancing was cool again?! No?

The list of female celebs is a little more varied, thank goodness. At least, age-wise. The first that's popped into my head is Rachel Stevens who I hope, hope, hope is paired with Wee Vincent. Which WOULD make sense as she is wee also. And the only other wee male is Darren and he always seems to luck out partnerwise (we won't talk about Gloria I-already- know-how-to-ballroom-dance-OH-DO-YOU?-then-why-do-you-suck? Hunniford). But then there's the dilemma of another wee lady - Jessie Wallace - and Darren can't have ANOTHER Eastender, can he?

If we're going on heights then Jodie Kidd will be with Ian. Who is definitely not wee. It may seem unfair that he gets a good partner again this year (Zoe Ball was amazing, Penny's ballroom was exquisite and she went SHOCKINGLY early and Micha, well, she was just a victim of the curse of the rumba.) Perhaps Jodie will make up for Penny's horrid exit last year - but in a way I do blame Ian for that...there was no need for her salsa to be that fast and he should have realised that as a taller lady, who had struggled immensely in the jive, she should have been allowed to stick to something a bit less manic. Alas, the pros are fallible.

Lisa Snowdon has been rumoured to be dancing with Brendan. I don't know what she's famous for other than dating George Clooney. Her Wikipedia entry describes her as 'English supermodel, singer, actress and television personality' - what do you reckon she edited the entry herself?! Token older ladies this year include Gillian Taylforth (aka 'Caff') and Cherie Lunghi. At a guess I'd pair Gillian with Matthew Cutler and Cherie Lunghi with Brian Fortuna (new pro from 'Dancing with the Stars' USA), but there's no real reasoning behind this's just a hunch.

Another fairly probable rumour is Heather Small, who is fairly small, contrary to popular belief. I think it must just have been her hair that was big. It's possible she could be paired with Darren, though she may dwarf him if she wears 3" heels. Or maybe Anton. And last but not least, Christine Bleakley from 'The One Show' who I hope, if she is on the show, is a better sport than the last 'One Show' contestant -nightmare munchkin Dominic Littlewood.

So there's the speculative line up in full. Along with redundant, friviolous comments from me. I reiterate that they're from The Sun, so it all could be a big pile of nonsense. But I suspect there's at least a deal of truth to it...although I do have a salt cellar at hand just in case.

BBC to publish official line-up on Thursday! Can't wait!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Strictly speculation...

Since the X-Factor was back on our screens this weekend, we believe some news about this years' SCD contestants is very much overdue.

So let us look at who has been doing the rounds on the rumour mill this year; people who have already been mentioned and knocked down include Sharon Osbourne and June Sarpong. Not too upset about the ping-pong, although I get the feeling she could have been hilariously awful in a Kate Garraway-style. Sharon Osbourne on the other hand could have been a real treat whether she'd been bad or good and it would have been fun to see her on the other side of a judging panel.

Returning to the remaining contenders, both myself and Clover are on our knees begging the BBC to confirm that Richard Hammond is taking part! He's the mum's favourite and we can only imagine the comments Clarkson and the Stig would come out with once he dons the sequins. Plus his small stature makes him a definate partner for either Flavia or Lilia.

Staying with the men, Tim Henman has also been mentioned, since he no longer has anything to do. Not sure how I feel about that, since Tim is hardly Mr Charisma, but we never know what hidden talents he may have. Also in sportsmen, Teddy Sheringham is on the cards- which I really don't want to see unless he is rubbish and goes out first week! Anyone who dates Dannielle Lloyd should not be allowed on such a classy show as SCD!

Turning to the girls, I may have to accept that Princess Beatrice may not be making it on to the show. Which is too bad since she seems like a jolly good sport and it is for charity after all! I guess the revealling latin outfits might be a bit too much for the royals...

Our other contestant that we would beg the BBC to include is the fabulous Marian Keyes, due to her absoulte devotion to the show and desire to be Lilia Kopylova. However, no real rumours of her taking part have been sighted, sadly.

One pretty much definate contestant is ex-M People singer Heather Small, who has reportedly rearranged some of her tour dates so that she can be on the show. Staying with 90s popstars, Esther Bennett from girlband Eternal is also a strong rumour, I guess she really is at a loose end after all this time!

Another well-known rumour is Emma Barton, who has reccently been cruely sacked from her role as Honey in Eastenders- we always have an Eastender on the show! Also in soapland Debra Stephenson is also reported as a very likely contestant. No signs of any newsreaders or the cast of Holby City/Casualty yet but there's stil time...

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Eurovision Dance Farce, um, I mean Contest.

A quick note before I begin...

**I used to have a blog a few years ago, until I decided it was self-indulgent nonsense and deleted it all...but nonetheless, Frankie has managed to bully me into contributing to this one - though, to be honest, it took about as much persuasion as it would take someone to coax me into eating a blueberry muffin. And if anyone reading this knows me but at all...they'll know that's not very much... ;-) The thing is, Strictly Come Dancing sends me off into a flurry of excitement over waltzes and foxtrots and jives (oh my!) and I'm more than happy to comment on (nay, rant about) various aspects of the show, self-indulgently or otherwise. The concept, lay-out and general ooh-pinkness of this thing is completely down to Frankie so don't go giving me any credit for it... it took me over 30 minutes to remember how to log in, for heaven’s sake...and I just hope there's *someone* out there who will appreciate us both pouring our creative juices into something so utterly frivolous...but now, for the time being at least, on to business...**

Before I comment on the news regarding Vincent and Louisa entering the Eurovision Dance Contest, please allow me a small rant about the farcical exhibit that was last year's competition. From the high-scoring Irish couple whose jive was indistinguishable from Riverdance, to the winning 'technically good' Finnish entry that was about as interesting as a roll of woodchip wallpaper, the whole thing was a waste of time; in typical Eurovision fashion, the entries and scoring alike were incomprehensibly crazy. Underrated entries I feel deserve a mention include Brendan and Camilla's two dances (though I maintain that a rumba is a poor choice for a televised, it can be stunning but on TV, well, meh) and the Russian Paso Doble with the lovely gypsyish quality, that was made all the more impressive by the fact that it was a pro-am dance and was technically better than many of the solely professional ones.

Now this year, the whole competition will be made up of couples where one is professional and the other is a national celebrity/non-dancer. Vincent and Louisa were my favourite couple on Strictly in 2006 and some of their dances were aces (the perky jive, cheeky cha cha cha and shamefully undermarked paso doble to name but a few...) They were robbed of a place in the final due, in part, to the judges being too preoccupied worshipping at the altar of Bunton to notice Louisa's obvious talent - and of course, the public's heartfelt empathy with Matt Dawson's j-j-j-can I say it...? J.O.U.R.N.E.Y. also left them with little chance of getting through to the end (I'm not saying he didn't deserve his place; of course, had Jimmy Tarbuck not had to pull out, there would have been three in the final...). But, I digress...back to topic of this year's Euro Dance Comp... the British choice of showdance was a touch of genius last year and I can't help but wonder what on earth Vincent and Louisa are going to pull out of the fabulously sequinned bag to rival it. If 'national flavour' weren't a requirement then an Argentine Tango would be the obvious choice (they did it on tour and it was stunning) but unfortunately it's probably the most un-British dance there is...except perhaps bachata (youtube it). A formal dance may be more appropriate, but no matter how delicious the quickstep, ballroom rarely has the same impact as latin. All I can say is, I hope that if their dance is good, they get at least a little recognition - but as someone who considers optimism a personality disorder, I'm not holding out much hope for that.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Louisa Lytton and Vincent Simone to represent the UK at the Eurovision Dance Contest!

That's right folks, our favourite bouncing baby doll and Italian stallion will be representing the UK at the second annual Eurovision Dance Contest in Glasgow this year.

As with last year, each couple is to perform one ballroom or latin number followed by a freestyle dance with a national flavour. If anyone else remembers Brendan and Camilla's fabulous James Bond medley last year we should be in for a treat.

According to the BBC's announcement "viewers will then be asked to vote on the choreography, costume and music" which sounds interesting, but we can only assume this won't take three seperate votes!

The BBC also confirms Graham Norton and Claudia Winkleman will present again (even after last year's giggle-fest and wonky attempts at French!) and that Strictly Come Dancing judges Len Goodman and Craig Revell Horwood will be providing commentary.

It has also been announced that a "panel of international IDSF adjudicators from non-participating countries shall act as a jury in the show", according to the event's official website. They will have the weight of 4 countries' points before the telephone voting starts. This is possibly due to the technically stunning, but rather dull winners of last year, Finland, who won over many more creative and crowd-pleasing competitors.

The contest takes place on Saturday 6th September at the Glasgow SECC and should be just the thing to tide us over until the sixth series of Strictly starts later that month!