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Strictly Speaking

Strictly Speaking – Week 4

No theme this week, thank the Strictly gods, unless you count the tidal wave of emotion that saw a nation reaching for more Kleenex. If an overcome Alexandra wishing her late mother could have seen her 10s-scoring jive didn’t get you, how about Jonnie’s shoutout to the surgeon who saved his life, or Susan acing […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 3

Ah, Movie Week, AKA Can You Remotely Recognise The Dance Under Ten Layers of Theming Week. This was no exception – I had to keep checking my notes to see which dance was supposedly being represented. Also: Trolls. I’m just leaving that there. Worse, theme weeks tend to exacerbate judging inconsistency, with the producers’ choices […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 2

Oh dear. A few highlights and redemptive dances aside, Strictly seemed to have the Week 2 Blues: an error-strewn performance show with bizarre scoring followed by a sad first exit. I doubt Chizzy would have lasted too long in the competition, but I’d have liked to see a few dances from her – and Brian […]

Strictly Come Dancing – Week 1

And we’re off! Strictly Come Dancing Series 15 began its competitive shows with a marathon episode that gave viewers at home a little competition of their own: posterior versus seat. Still, squeezing all the couples into one programme did mean minimal faff and filler, and a good chance to assess a promising crop of celebs. […]

Strictly Speaking 2017: The Launch

Marianka Swain introduces the contestants… Welcome back, dance fans! Doesn’t everything feel great and not at all like the End of Days?! Honestly, Series 15 of Strictly Come Dancing could not have come at a better time, bringing sparkle, humour and warmth to combat the, er, Biblical plagues and imminent nuclear annihilation… Not that it […]

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 […]

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