TV / Centre Stage: Stricty Come Dancing returns


It’s September, which means it’s time for Catriona Laverty’s ubiquitous Strictly Come Dancing article. (You know you love it really.)

STRICTLY 2009 looks like it might just be the exact same as every Strictly series that came before it, except with different people.

This article could really end there, but it won’t because we <3 the Strictly Come Dancing.

It’s a serious case of out with the old this year as not only have they axed a few of the pro dancers, but poor Arlene Phillips has been usurped on the judging panel by the younger, shinier Aleesha Dixon.

Whether or not Ms Dixon is qualified to judge ballroom dancing having the grand old attributes of being series five winner despite her lazy, lazy feet is questionable. Especially when we consider that she’s going to be judging her former partner Matthew Cutler, ensuring that she’s not quite the impartial voice we’d expect on the panel.

But enough about her, the big story is that the celebs this year are actually sort of nearly rather famous. It’s the usual mix of ex-sports stars, ex-soap stars and daytime television presenters. Among the mix are people like Joe Calzaghe, Martina Hingis, Ricky Groves and Natalie Cassidy. But at this stage, the pro dancers are almost more famous than their celeb partners anyway, so we’re starting to not particularly care who the amateurs are. Brendan Cole seems to pop up at every club opening and movie premiere in London, while Vincent and Flavia’s split was front page, and might I say scandalous! news.

Meanwhile last year’s semi-final goings on have meant a slight adjustment to the voting process this year, thus eliminating the need to cancel the dance off should two couples tie at the late stages. The technical details are outlined online, and are, quite frankly far too boring and well, technical, to go in to here.

Of course the whole ‘not being able to save a couple no matter how many times we vote for them’ affair can also be avoided if all the couples just get over themselves and stay in the competition until they’re kicked out. I’m talking to you John Sergeant, I don’t care if you’re not actually reading this.

Naturally the Strictly Come Dancing – X Factor fight will resume with the start of Strictly series seven. Last year’s winner was the ITV show which scooped more ratings on a Saturday night than its BBC rival. This has resulted in a move back to the same-night results’ show for Strictly and, bizarrely, a change to a live Sunday night results’ show for X Factor.

Strictly has also changed the format for the first two shows – instead of having a boys week, and then a girls week to start off, we’ll have two weeks of Friday and Saturday night shows to whittle the contestants down to 14 couples. That’s right, it’s DOUBLE the Strictly for two whole weeks.

Of course the best part of all is that Claudia will be returning to BBC 2 every week night at six-thirty, and everyone loves a bit of Winkleman. The only bad news is that I’m going to have to start recording Home and Away again.

Maybe I need to get out more…