Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Class of 2014

This year, Strictly decided to torture us, with a drip-drip of contestants announced everyday, we went from hating it, to loving it, to kinda exhausted with it kind of quickly. But finally, we have a full set of the Class of 2014! It's also a really quite odd line-up; yes, there's some of the obvious soap stars, popstrels and sporty types but no obvious star or massive celeb coup - looks like we're in for a bumpy ride this year!

So here are the contestants, in no particular order....well, actually, they are in alphabetical order....

Alison Hammond

Not going to lie, this is my most underwhelming contestant (haven't started on the most positive note here, sorry!). It seems like a classic we-must-get-coverage-on-ITV hiring and also a desire to repeat Lisa Riley somehow, and trying to clone contestants never works.

Alison Hammond was my break from A-Level revision. Well not her, personally, but Big Brother Three. THREE. That was 2002. That's how long ago it was. And to be fair, for someone who was evicted third on a show that long ago,  Alison's carved a respectable career on television. That is in itself quite remarkable. I have given myself a stern talking to this year. I'm not going to moan and complain about the oh-so-subjective-anyway 'calibre' of contestants (previously I'd have gagged at the thought of an ex-reality TV star on the show - but we're 14 years past the-first-series-of-Big-Brother, the fact of the matter is, these are our TV personalities now.) So all the best luck to Alison, even though in my head she's still the woman who broke the garden table. 

Caroline Flack

She has been stolen from the X Factor! What a tabloid coup! Scandal! Well, kind of anyway. Could be a bit of a dark horse this one, she seems like she's pretty gung-ho and up for the excitement of Strictly, so lets just hope she has some rhythm too. And maybe they can turn her trademark shorts into something sparkly...

Oh my lordy, they have done it. She's not quite Louis Walsh but she'll do. I almost guarantee she'll be paired with the youngest hottiest of hottie professionals in the hope for an inkling of lurve/tabloid fodder. I imagine she'll be pretty good and if so, stands a pretty good chance of doing well. But the main question is ...does that mean they have to mention the X-Factor on Strictly?

Frankie Bridge

Genuine popstar alert! I don't much like the Saturdays, but they've had a clutch of top 10 singles in the last few years and that makes them a lot more bona fide than a lot of popstars we've had on the show before. I don't think of dancing when I think of them though, and she's always had a bit of a 'too cool for school' attitude about her. If she puts some gusto in she could stand a decent chance.

Mostly just probably going to confuse Frankie Frankie with this Frankie. Remember who's the original Frankie. 

Gregg Wallace

I don't watch Masterchef (to be honest I was hoping for Paul Hollywood), but what the hell, loads of people love the show and are happy to see him on it! I'm also wondering if he'll be able to dance in those trademark glasses? Looks like at least an 80% chance of dad dancing, but apparently he has been working hard to get his fitness up before the show, so best of luck to him.

Haha, joy. I expect he'll be a sport and enjoy it. He always looks a jolly old sort on TV. He's not a chef, so we shouldn't expect any weird frying-pan-mimes with a bent-over pro. I suppose he could mime weighing tomatoes.

Jake Wood

It's Max Branning, the most unlikely ginger lothario on TV is going to be let loose on the Strictly dancefloor! I actually quite like Max's character and his unrelenting determination to cock up his own life, but I have to remind myself that this is Jake and not Max. And let us not forget that his TV brother Scott Maslen was really quite good a few years ago - although hopefully the BBC have learnt their lesson and won't make film a massive storyline at the same time.

Jake Wood: because we still couldn't get Ross Kemp. Having said that, he's still a worthy contestant in his own right. Eastenders actors are a given. Plus, we've never had a ginger winner. 

Jennifer Gidney

I have never watched Mrs Browns Boys and don't plan on it any time soon, so I have no idea whether she can be considered famous enough. She does seem like a jolly good sport though, possibly destined for Anton.

I have always wondered what could rhyme with kidney.

Judy Murray

Ah Judy, I cannot help but like you! Bring sportiness, determination and a cracking sense of humour to the dancefloor and you'll be away. She's also a MASSIVE Strictly fan, and as we know, we should welcome these people with open arms. It also means they have a vague idea of what the dances look like and genuinely want to do it, rather than being desperate to be on TV. Just bring along Andy so we can have a giggle at him sitting in the studio surrounded by glitter.

Token older lady. I had a bit of a barney about her really only being famous for being someone's mum...yes, yes, she is - I know she was a tennis player as well, and I know she coaches the national would you be happy if the UK's Scrabble coach took part? Would you? But alas, as I said under Alison Hammond's post, I'm being, like, so zen about all this now. I'd love one of these token older contestants to win. Please don't give her Anton, so she has a fighting chance of actually learning something. 

Mark Wright

A Towie star was confirmed and the sky didn't fall, who would've thunk? Yes, you might dismiss the guy, but remember he is a confident young male and in good nick - we don't get all that many of those on SCD these days! If he throws himself into it and has a good relationship with his parter (oo-er missus) then mark my words, he could have a j-word.

Quite possibly a rough diamond. Is he this year's Abbey Clancy?

Pixie Lott

A SECOND young, recently successful popstar?! And to think we were slating this line-up. Pixie seems the most likely to be given the ringer tag this year (stage school, musical theatre work) but it doesn't seem clunkingly obvious like Denise van Outen. Could she possibly straddle that tricky  potential-but-not-too-good-first-week conundrum?

There is no bleedingly obvious ringer/safety car this year, which is actually making it quite interesting. However, as Frankie says, if there is one, it could be Pixie. She was born in 1991. 1991. This means in my head, she should be about seven. 

Scott Mills

He's on the radio, but will now have a face, it's going to be a transitional journey for us all. Scott Mills always seems like a good sport, will quite happily throw himself into things and doesn't take it all too seriously - all good ingredients for a Strictly contestant. Now all we need is rhythm, posture, core strength and musicality, a walk in the park I'm sure!

As long as he doesn't mess up his tango head, he'll do better than Spoony. I imagine he'll be class clown.

Simon Webbe

Well Simon was made bankrupt earlier this year, so I think we all know why he's on the show....He did the Christmas Special a few years ago and was, well, OK. I can somehow see him being better at ballroom than latin, but now that I've said that I've probably cursed him. Please don't dress him in blue every week, wardrobe department...Unfortunately, he's the most boring one from Blue. Lee is bonkers, Duncan is hot and bi, and Anthony Costa is like a builder trapped in a boyband. But Simon...?

One of my colleagues has pictures of him stuck to her locker...?

Steve Backshall

I will confess, I had no idea who Steve was when he was announced - but Twitter seemed very enthusiastic right off the mark so I'm guessing he is actually famous. Being wildlife presenter I think that's a first for the show, too bad Bruce won't be able to get out the Big Book of Animal Puns. Not sure on this guy dance-wise, although I did read that he's got a black belt in judo and that sounds rather impressive.

On googling Steve Backshall, I discovered a video of him tackling an alligator. However, that is nothing - nothing - compared to tackling Craig R-H. I didn't know who he was. I find wildlife programmes weirdly emotionally distressing. However, he's a different type of contestant, but I fear he may also befall the curse of dad-dancing. 

Sunetra Sarker

Everyone says Casualty, I say Brookside and No Angels, and she played great sparky characters in both. Casualty has a potted history on Strictly, from the Tom the winner, to awkward-but-plucky Will Thorpe to really quite odd Patrick last year. Sunetra's an unknown quantity, so only time will tell!

I didn't know the name but I do know her face. I haven't much to say on this one...only that we will have to see her dancing. And that's kind of a given. Jeez, how dull. I don't know why you're still reading. 

Thom Evans

Sexy sportsman a-hoy, there's one every year! He's a rugby player and they have a surprisingly good track record and I've just read on Wikipedia that he was in a hilarious sounding boyband called 'Twen2y4Se7en' (that spelling makes my head hurt) - so he can't be totally adverse to getting his groove on.

Didn't know who he was, but then, he's a sportsman, so do I ever? (no) There is also a Youtube video of him that shows he got rhythm. I think. I have my fingers and toes crossed for this one. 
Why is it spelled Thom though? I keep pronouncing it THom in my head. Like thumb. #Thombelina 

Tim Wannacott

Why Strictly, why? Do you not remember the Series 1 Bargain Hunt dance dis-aaaarster that was David Dickinson? Walking around the dancefloor randomly doing jazz hands and mugging the camera? Poor Camilia is probably breaking out in a cold sweat at the memory. Anyway, I'm sure he's a lovely man but there's no way he's going to win. Maybe Aliona will get him.

Oh please. 

So that's it, the 2014 line up is ready for us to pour over until Christmas and it feels like for once it's totally wide open. Vote in our poll to decide who we think is going to win!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Hot Gossip

Strictly season is looming towards us once again like a huge glitterball on the horizon, as we stumble, blinking into the land of sparkle and clumsy metaphors...

For the newbies out there, Frankie writes in black, Clover in purple.

Mark Wright has been mentioned...can we go home now?
First up, Mark Wright. I have to mention Mark Wright first because he might sue me if not, he's managed to fill so many magazine pages about 'gossip' over whether he's on SCD on a daily basis. Despite the fact that his missus Michelle Keegan is way more famous than him and she's the one we're all excited about, no, it's all about Mark Wright! It also brings us into the argument of whether we can have a 'reality show celeb' on SCD, he'd be the first and some people would be apoplectic with rage at the BBC at the idea. I see you Mark Wright and raise you Jo Wood and Nancy Dell'Olio...

Who is this man? I am (pop) culturally inept. Seriously, you hit the big 3.0. and cease to know who anybody is. After Googling him, I discover he's that chap from TOWIE. Now if he takes part, this marks a fundamental shift in the celebdom of Strictly. Someone who's famous only for being on another reality show? That's a whole new low. 

Disclaimer: I have erased the memory of Nancy and Jo Who...? . 

Now we might as well get the every-year-rumours out of the way. This year it sounds like Greg Wallace is IN and Paul Hollywood is OUT. I don't know what to make of this, I adore Bake-Off but I'm indifferent to Masterchef - and neither of them look like they'll be amazing dancers anyway! Although now Brucie is gone that's reams of rumba/rum-ba-ba jokes out the window. And there's no Richard Madely rumours, what is the world coming to?! I don't want Richard Madely on the show, but that rumour was always a comfortable bit of familiarity when the names of TOWIE stars are being thrown about.

I love Masterchef. Gregg Wallace is a totally acceptable and utterly plausible contestant. But the big question is this: this series, will John Torode appear from inside a lobster bisque mid pro-rumba? Stranger, well, similar, things have happened.

Then there's the lesser-spotted Young Man. They really are getting lesser-spotted, I was quite excited at Radio 1's Greg James being on the show and he's 28! Alas, he said no, honestly, 'young' people these days. Apparently they're getting Dave Berry of Capital FM to fill the 'random male DJ' slot - how is that a thing?!

A star from the wireless? That's positively medieval. Not counting Zoe Ball, the only DJ we have had before is Spoony, and all I can remember is him going out on a bad tango head. 

Already embracing the sparkle !

On to the women, although there are hardly any women being rumoured this year - I guess after last year's female domination and the sociological revolution of TWO WOMEN now presenting a primetime show the powers-that-be think we can't handle any more oestrogen. Although, loving that the most steadfast rumour so far has been Judy Murray. Yeah, she might be 'just' the mum of someone famous but she's great at what she does and a Strictly superfan, and we all love those on the show.

But to be fair, if she didn't have a famous son, we wouldn't know who she was. How many tennis coaches do you know? Go on. Tell me. Go on. So she doesn't fit the code. Heck, I sound like Dexter. I objected to Abbey Clancy on the basis that no one would care if she hadn't married a footballer. However, I am willing as ever, to quit the moaning and give her a fair shot (boom boom) once the show starts. Before that it's fair game. (boom boom).

Elsewhere in the bargain-bin of female contestants we have Caroline Flack (oooh nicking someone from the X Factor, tabloid fodder a-hoy!) and Michelle Collins (soap star box...TICK!). And that seems to You'd better have some tricks up your sleeve BBC, a Hollywood hottie? A disgraced footballer? William Hague?!

Has Michelle Collins not already been in it? She seems so obvious my brain has conjured false memories. She danced with Darren Bennett, I swear it. 

I've saved something delightful for the end...just close your eyes and imagine if this one came true...there have been the strongest rumours ever this year that Torvill and Dean could be on the show! They aren't called Chris and Jayne by the way, I'm not having it. Everyone loves them, they'd work so hard, we'd get one last chance to bitch about how awful Dancing on Ice was - BBC, make it happen! 

Ooh. Can't see it happening (I take that comment back if it happens.) But Strictly is all about the gimmick these days, and that's a biggie.