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Strictly Speaking

Strictly Speaking: The final

Marianka Swain on the last dance There was something of an elegiac feel to this year’s final, as Len Goodman, Strictly institution, finally hung up his “Seh-ven!” paddle, gave us one last scrambled metaphor and waltzed off to the great golf course in the sky. We can only hope ballroom doesn’t follow suit, but continues to […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 12

Marianka Swain on a closely fought semi-final Two-dance week: often a recipe for disappointing half-dances. But this was actually a decent semi-final, if inconsistent – in performance and in judging. Ah yes. Overmarked, undermarked, wandering free. The judges of Strictly, erratic are we. At this point, Bruno’s 10 is more devalued than the pound, and […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 11

Marianka Swain watches Strictly get mired in musicals Perhaps this is an unfashionable stance in the “tired of experts” era, but for me Strictly’s Musicals Week highlighted a more general issue with this series: we’ve had too much of our ballroom dancers attempting other styles, rather than their own. The pro numbers are overwhelmingly contemporary […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 10

This year’s couples largely managed to avoid the crippling malaise that is Blackpool Hangover Week, although I could have done without the continuation of bizarre scoring, plus dubious Cha Cha Challenge choices. It’s no secret that the judges have firm views on potential finalists versus also-rans, but attempting to erect a Berlin Wall on the […]

Strictly Speaking – Week Nine

Marianka Swain reports on Strictly Come Dancing‘s annual pilgrimage to Blackpool Ah, Blackpool Week: forced VTs, drama, sky-high scoring and the odd great performance amidst the hysteria. The best part for dancers is the chance to use that giant sprung floor – or at least it would be, but once again the couples spent their routines […]

Strictly Speaking – week eight

Marianka Swain is comforted by Strictly Come Dancing’s sparkly pleasures In this year, it may seem relatively minor, yet it’s still worth acknowledging: #BallsToBlackpool is actually a reality, as 2016’s unlikely saviour prances on. At this rate, he could be Prime Minister by Christmas. Or maybe Reality TV Captain of Galactic Emperor Trump’s Make Space Great […]

Strictly Speaking – Week Seven

Marianka Swain on musical mistakes and a triumph for ballroom nerdiness We’ve reached the halfway point, and with the leading pack tighter than Ore’s salsa trousers the “shock” bottom twos keep coming. Well, it was rather a shock that Doomed Daisy somehow survived a dismal slot in the running order and the most saccharine routine known […]

Strictly Speaking – week 6

Marianka Swain on Strictly Come Dancing’s Halloween dive into the prop basket It gives me no pleasure to report that Strictly’s annual Fright Night was even more frightful than usual. Well, some pleasure. An Ed Balls cha cha amount of pleasure. Yes, against all odds, 2016’s fifth-strangest political happening lives on. Meanwhile, the two newly […]

Strictly Speaking – week 5

Has anyone checked if the Strictly studio is built on an ancient Indian burial ground? Or has a disgruntled crewmember started compiling voodoo dolls? For there is a curse afoot, and not the usual home-wrecking one, with this drama-laden series beginning to resemble And Then There Were None. Injuries befalling Anastacia, Greg, Tameka and now […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 4

Ringers vs comedians, simmering drama and a soaring jive: Marianka Swain on Strictly Come Dancing True to form, there was something of a post-theme comedown in this week’s show – at least until that climatic flurry of 10s. Is Week 4 too soon for such a high score? Was the sudden mano a mano rivalry a […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 3

Marianka Swain on the popcorn and drama of Movie Week Theme weeks are normally a horror-fest of props and cartoonish presentation, but – miracle of miracles – this was actually a strong Movie Week, with mercifully little faff in the actual dances (VTs were another story) and plenty of room for celeb improvement. Once again, […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 2

  Marianka Swain on time-wasting field trips and dance-off controversy It wasn’t just The Fall that suddenly resembled a particularly well-styled episode of Casualty this week. We had (in retrospect fairly insensitive) muscle-pulling jokes from Will Young, and – more significantly – the series’ first elimination notching a solid five on the Strictly Controversy Scale through […]

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