I've never watched this show much before, despite its reign across student TV sets, but tonight I ended up watching the second episode at a friend's house and was pleasantly surprised.
What I don't like about all these panel shows is the dragged out emotions and Strictly Come Dancing is like so many other shows in that it operates around a negative philosophy of voting people off, the whole series is like a slow-motion firing line where the audience sits through a never-ending showcase of anticipated silences and very scheduled erratic applause, then after a reel of weeks and losers - one very smiley person remains.
Still, I think there are several factors that redeem this and make it a great program. Firstly there are some great characters. Bruce Forsyth cannot fail to amuse. He hovers with frailtly inbetween the judges and the dancers, his tuxedo practically holding him up, shuffling awkward questions at the contestants while straining to lift his eyes off the girls' breasts. Then there is Brunio Ravioli, who it seems is encouraged by the show's makers to be very elaborate and play on an Italian stereotype. The audience often don't laugh where he wants them too, which is enjoyable, and he also offers plenty of strange idioms that are obviously ineffectual translations, I love him. Tess Daly is always fun to watch too, her hair holds remarkable invincibility and she has a kind of half-attention that places her celestially above most of what is happening on the show.
The contestants are the best though, the sheer pic n' mix of celebrities. Heather Small from M People is actually a very talented, wealthy and respected pop singer, and even Rachel Stevens is very famous (even if most of her accumulated fortune comes from lads mags). But then some of the other contestants are barely celebrities at all, to the extent that I cannot even name them here, but their egos always carry enough conviction.
The costumes are of course the final punch of this show. I wish I bought some shares in glitter and sequins last month.
I'm already looking forward to next week's episode, I hope Arlene Phillips puts on a thick smudge of lipstick for me.
Words: Jack Cullen