Sunday, 30 August 2015

Class of 2015

Jeremy Vine

Well this was a surprise, if only because in an old job I often had to listen to all 2 hours of Jezza's lunchtime show, a never-ending cycle of serious news, random stories about umbrellas, interspersed with calls from the general public. Maybe Jeremy knows what the public likes and will coast through the phone voting. His piece about how much he wants to do SCD for his kids was super-endearing, so let us hope he can get past the inevitable dad-dancing.

I have to admit, I looked him up. Then it was pointed out to me I knew him from catching the end of Eggheads for three months of each year. I have been quite surprised to discover he is a former punk. Whether that is true or not, I'm not convinced that the pogo is going to be much help with cha cha. I guess we'll all have him down as a potential dad-dancer, but he could surprise us yet. 

Clover Awareness Rating: 4

Ainsley Harriott

As I said on Twitter, surely Ainsley's true time for SCD was during series one or two? He just seems to fit with the Claire Sweeney/Carol Vorderman crowd. I can also seriously see him doing the David Dickinson faces to the crowd mid-dance, although I seem to be the only one who remembers how horrific that was (probably cos he went in week 3 of series 1, but I doubt Camilla has forgotten). Also, will there be a repeat of the miming-cooking-on-a-dancer's-back move that Gary Rhodes *ahem* attempted? If the man can do hip action unprompted whilst stir-frying some veg, I don't think he's going to be too shy and retiring on the dance floor!

Firstly, joy. Because I knew who he was without having to look him up. I am so far out of the loop this year, the loop is a dot to me. I still too have nightmares about the miming-cooking-on-back debacle. Let's hope he's more James Martin than Gary Rhodes. 

Clover Awareness Rating: 8

Kellie Bright

Our first soap star, and it's the landlady of the Queen Vic - might as well go all out, BBC! Although saying that, she's done loads of other things too, including the legendary T-Bag (showing our age here). A quick glance at her Wikipedia shows that she went to the Sylvia Young Theatre School aka the Ringer Factory - will she escape these accusations? Also, as Linda in Eastenders, she is very well experienced in wearing sparkles, and as we know, that's a key factor in winning SCD.

I had no idea. I don't watch soaps. But then I have had people shout at me. SHOUT AT ME. Because apparently I should remember her from T-Bag. Now, I do remember T-Bag. And T-shirt. Vividly. But I do not remember this girl being in it. I do think my addled memories of the 80s tends to confuse this show with Grotbags. I know, I know. Anyhum, sounds like she's going to be a pretty standard all-singing, all-dancing steady performer and will probably last for some duration. 

Clover Awareness Rating: 1

Georgia May Foote

Soap Star part 2, this time from The Other Side. Young, pretty, left Corrie a few months ago, she's such a blindingly obvious Strictly contestant I'm wondering if she also has a celeb boyfriend they can rope in or at least get to sit in the audience. And for those pointing out she's one of the few not employed by the BBC, she one played a very pretty corpse in Life On Mars. Not much else to say at the moment really, hoping she shows a bit of personality so we don't fall into bot territory.  

No, I hadn't heard of her either, but then that's not unusual. I like that her name is Foote. And you dance with your feet. Obvs. Doesn't look like she's Sylvia Young alum but I'm pretty sure, like Ms Bright, she'll be good and in it for the long haul.

Clover Awareness Rating: 0

Katie Derham

This was my first "erm...?" contestant, vaguely recognised the name but not sure who she was. Mainly because I don't listen to Radio 3 or watch the Proms. Thank goodness Brucie is no longer with us, because if she made it to Blackpool week there'd be no end of prom jokes! Bit of an unknown quantity here, but she seems like a pretty big fan, and we always like those on the show.

I knew the name and I recognise her face. She's obvs a well-established BBC-type and appears to be this year's very-classy-lady. She plays the violin. That's relevant because? Musicality, innit. 

Clover Awareness Rating: 3

Carol Kirkwood

Ah Carol from the weather, lovely lady who always seems to be presenting from the races wearing an extravagant hat, she'll take to Strictly like a duck to water. And the weather puns, what a *gift* to us all, I am already predicting a cha cha to It's Raining Men and maybe some sort of moody rumba to Aint No Sunshine.

Actually, we may have a battle of the very-classy-ladies this year as Carol could quite give Katie a run for her money in this respect. Prepare for special-effects rain. And yeah, as Frankie says, It's Raining Men. Danced in actual wellingtons. I hadn't heard of her either, but then, I can't remember the last time I watched a weather bulletin. 

Clover Awareness Rating: 0

Peter Andre

After the almighty cock-up of his reveal, we finally got to mull over the most inevitable contestant of this year. We get to relive those 90s hits and terrible haircuts, bring on the baby oil (ugh, or maybe not). This one seems to divide opinion, I suppose it helps if you remember when he was a Proper Celeb. Expect child props and a hell of a lot of emotions.

I was a teenager in the 90s. Therefore, he is an important addition. I was never a fan particularly but I probably can remember all the words to Mysterious Girl. They seeped in, much like the lyrics to Aqua's Barbie Girl. He's going to have a huge (sorry) journey isn't he? He's going to find himself, isn't he? Probably several times. Probably mid shadow bota fogo. If they actually allow him to do any dancing between standing there without a shirt on* **

** does he still do that or am I really showing my age?

Clover Awareness Rating: 10

Daniel O'Donnell

Well this came out of nowhere! The twittersphere was aghast, Marian Keyes got so excited she went blind, the grannies were registering on the BBC website en masse. Now whilst Daniel might not be my cup of tea, he is a delightfully kitsch signing. Plus I get to make some Father Ted jokes and that's always worth it. Oh, his dancing? It'll probably be terrible and not even in a funny way, the big question is whether he'll be partnered with Aliona.

I have heard of him, but I have no idea why. I suspect it's from Asda CD promotional adverts around Mothers' Day. Is this like the Irish version of an Osmond? 

Clover Awareness Rating: 4

Anthony Ogogo

Well who is this young man? It's the sportsman, so obviously we don't know who they are, but we won't hold that against him, Team GB and all that. And he's a boxer, although the last two we've had have been less than spectacular (I forgot Audley Harrison even existed) - who remembers when over 50% of you thought Joe Calzaghe would win in our poll? This still makes us laugh. Anthony looks like he's got the raw material though, as long as he's got a bit of rhythm he could go far...

Never heard of him. But I know less about sports stars than I do soap stars so it's hardly surprising. Nevertheless, upon Googling him, I was pleasantly surprised. Ahem. He's rather a pretty fellow, isn't he? And hey, I remember Audley Harrison - he was grossly under-rated. 

Clover Awareness Rating: 0

Jay McGuiness

If I wasn't vaguely aware of the Wanted I would have no idea who this guy is - although they have done a really good job in keeping names secret this year. Also, boyband members were not bearded and scruffy in my day (the 90s, it was all white combats and curtains) - in fact, this is the most unruly of beards we've seen from our male contestants. Bordering on hipster. How do you fake tan such a beard? Either way, popstars always do well so he's bound to be in it for a while.

Is Len going to call him scruffy and tell him to shave? Probably. I may not have heard of him specifically - it's clearly a generational thing - but I have heard of The Wanted, so am classing him as a decent signing. 

Clover Awareness Rating: 3

Anita Rani

First Jezza and Eggheads, now Anita and Countryfile, is this year's line up based around people we see five minutes of while we're waiting for SCD to start? I do like Anita though and think she has potential, could she be a dark horse? If only because I'm grasping for a horticultural reference, hopefully we won't have a re-run of Matt Baker's sparkly farmer outfits.

Admittedly, I didn't know her name but her face is familiar. Probably, like Frankie says, from the end of Countryfile. You want horticultural references? Never for the subtle, expect the BBC to have Anita to dance to I've Got a Brand New Combine Harvester whilst dressed as a purple-top white globe turnip. 

Clover Awareness Rating: 3


Wow, one that was actually predicted! And a fairly decent celeb, plus her involvement with Loose Women get that all-important ITV coverage. Most importantly, Jamelia is as mad as a box of frogs and most certainly not be a bot. I'll be interested to see her dance ability in the launch show, she should be comfortable on stage, but that's not everything. I wonder if Jamelia has a surname, or is she like Cher...*googles* it's Davis. That was disappointing.

I don't know who she is - guess she must be some kind of superstar. I jest. Badly. I do know who she is, from that song. And also from channel surfing at lunchtime. Classic strictly signing. And I'm expecting her to be excellent. Problem is, if she's good, she'll get the whole ding-dong-she's-a-ringuh. If she is naturally good, I suggest she starts off slowly. It's all about the game. You win, or die dance.

Clover Awareness Rating: 10

Helen George

I've occasionally watched Call the Midwife, usually back in Blackpool for Christmas in a fug of turkey, pyjamas and tinsel, and the fact that Helen's character goes by the name of Trixie is charmingly silly. And her non-nursing wardrobe is to die for, maybe they can bring that retro vibe into her outfits, well, it would be a better than a skit with Anton pretending to give birth or something. She's got a musical theatre background, but most people won't know her from that - will she face the dreaded ringer accusations?

Apologies for becoming repetitive but I, no, I hadn't heard of her either. But I have heard of her show, so she should be thankful for that minor detail? She's already doing well in our poll, so I'm guessing she's popular and one to watch. 

Clover Awareness Rating: 2

Iwan Thomas

Another sporty man? Who would've thunk? Although saying that, he doesn't seem to have been active in athletics for about 10 years now. But then again, you never lose the sportsman mentality in the world on SCD: the cycle of training, grit and desperately trying to appear casual and likeable. He's also done a hell of a lot of reality TV in the past few years, so he knows what he's doing. I do get the feeling he might be a bit stompy though, time will tell.

Despite being sportspeople, I do usually have the advantage of having heard of athletes, but not this one. His heyday was when I was a teenager though, so perhaps that's why I can't remember. Sportspeople are always such an important part of the show, and I hope he does well. He's a middle-series-er, almost certainly, if nothing else. 

Clover Awareness Rating: 1

Kirsty Gallacher

Another reveal drama, by the time she appeared on the One Show sofa it was all a bit late for us. Well done you tweeting pros! Not really sure what to make of her, apart from that she essentially seems to be a brunette Gabby Logan - now that could turn out either good or bad.

Again, again, I knew the name, and her face, and who she was, so she's in a much better position in my head than most of this year's cast. Apparently she is actually best friends with Gabby Logan. Will we see her in the audience, or is the pain still too real? 

Clover Awareness Rating: 7

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Rumour has it...

Roll up those sparkly sleeves boys and girls, Strictly Season is upon us once again! Maybe we're getting old, but it's come around quickly this year, or maybe the BBC will one day have us preparing for the show in March. It could go either way. Anyway, once more into the sparkly breach my dear friends...

It's the Loga...sorry, it's the Redknapps
As ever, the usual formula seems to apply this year - popstars, soapstars, TV
presenters, sports people I've never heard of, we all know the drill. Although, there are strong rumours this year of the married couple factor returning - Louise and Jamie Redknapp appear to be on the cards! Oh and Kevin-from-Grimbsy and Karen have just got married, that's pretty handy-dandy. The BBC have tried so hard to get a couple once again, I'm surprised we've not ended up with Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee. Louise is probably quite good, Jamie will most likely be keen but awkward. Gosh, we really are set for history repeating itself, let's party like it's 2007!

Also in the world of couples, the Richard and Judy rumour surfaced yet again. AGAIN. There is no way in hell Judy is ever going on the show, but I feel like Richard is straining at the leash once more. He's said no again, apparently because the family said it would be too it just me, or shouldn't being related to Richard Madeley make you immune to embarrassment? They must have a pretty high tolerance, adding sequins surely wouldn't make it that much worse?

Also in the category of people who have said no, Piers Morgan has apparently turned down a bucketload of cash. Oh dear. What a shame. Also, Louis Walsh - was that ever a real rumour, or just typical tabloid X Factor-related tosh? I can just see him in a sparkly cardigan telling Craig he looks like a mini Julian Clary. If we get any of these guys in place of the Tom Ellis rumour (in what-I-call 'the seriously hot man get him in a tux right now' contestant) then there will be riots on the streets of SCD Twitter.

Although saying that, we do apparently have a more solid rumour for the slightly older gentleman. I present you with...Andrew Ridgeley from Wham! A lot of women seemed to be excited by this rumour, we were quite happy to be slightly too young and only vaguely aware of who he was. Clover didn't realise there was anyone other than George Michael in Wham and thought Andrew was a human prop. Bring it on, I say, he's musical and is no stranger to spangles. Ooh it feels good to roll out the word 'spangle' again...

But we do need more ladies, rumours of female contestants seem to be a bit thin on the ground again this year (reality stars' agents saying they would 'love to do SCD' does not count). The Michelle Keegan rumour has popped up now and again, but I think the moment's passed, although fellow Corrie star Georgia May Foote could appear in her place to fill the sexy young soap star slot. Elsewhere, on the popstar front we've had Jamelia suggested, which could be fun because she's as mad as a box of frogs. Michelle Heaton from Liberty X has also seen her name go back and forth, but I don't think anyone really cares.

And finally, I have left what appears to be this series most likely contestant until last. Everyone's favourite orange Australian...Peter Andre! Whether you like him or not, it's just such a perfect fit I don't see how it's not going to happen. With some sort of cringe-worthy samba to Mysterious Girl and a million interviews in the tabloids.