Strictly has returned, in its usual manner, ready to go head to head with The X Factor in the Saturday night ratings war. Back are Brucie’s ‘jokes’, celebrities caked in fake tan, and enough glitter and sequins to sink even the most steadfast of ships. Oh, and there’s a little bit of dancing thrown into the mix too.
Photo: The Mirror
Now in its 11th series since its reincarnation in 2004, Bruce continues to muddle his way through his links, assisted as always by Tess Daly, who must surely be tiring of the show’s opening sequence where Bruce fumbles awkwardly in an attempt to catch her leg. Fortunately, she is spared this ordeal on the Sunday night results show, being paired with the rather more zany Claudia Winkleman (although quite why the BBC insists on maintaining the illusion the Sunday results show is ‘live’ is anyone’s guess, since it is almost universally known that it is filmed shortly after the Saturday show concludes).
Still here are the judges, each with their distinctive personalities; head judge is Cockney wise-cracker Len ‘Seven’ Goodman, preferring to see the good in each dancing couple as he fires off phrases such as ‘pickle me walnuts’. Elsewhere, Bruno Tonioli continues to offer an opportunity to bet on quite how long he can remain in his chair whilst offering his innuendo-laden analysis. Often the real critique is left to sharp tongued Aussie Craig Revel Horwood, whilst Darcey ‘Yeah’ Bussell’s presence offers the show a professional credibility.
Of course, the main difference from series to series is the celebrities chosen to take part. Strictly has stuck with its formula of combining those who are relatively new to the limelight, and those who, in many cases, left the limelight years before. Among the stars tripping the light fantastic this year are Rachel Riley, the glamorous Countdown presenter, and Sophie Ellis- Bextor (insert your own ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ joke here). Vanessa Feltz has obviously been chosen to deploy her fiery comebacks on the judges, whilst Anton Du Beke is again paired with an older lady, this time former Bond girl Fiona Fullerton.
From a show that has brought us unforgettable moments such as John Sergeant dragging his partner across the floor as if she were a kitchen mop, and Ann Widdecombe descending from the ceiling like an oversized butterfly, most viewers will be hoping for more of the same. Make no mistake, the show is in no way reinventing the genre, but it retains an appeal which draws in several million viewers every weekend throughout its run. Saturday night in front of the TV with Strictly on has become a hugely popular pastime for many, one that shows no signs of stopping.