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Strictly Speaking

Strictly Speaking 2016 – Week 1

Marianka Swain on the first competitive week of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 And we’re off! Another series of ringer debates, capricious scoring and Great British Triers, the latter group represented this year by, well, pretty much just Ed Balls. Is the 2016 crop a bit too good too soon? I did some highly scientific research (AKA chucked […]

Strictly Speaking

Marianka Swain assesses the class of 2016 Ah, 2016: so bananas that the UK’s former shadow chancellor donning sequins is only the fourth most eye-popping political event of the week, let alone the year. Yet here we are, with Ed “Glitter” Balls actually taking to the floor – just one high-profile member of the strongest […]

Strictly Speaking – the final

Never question the commitment of boyband voters. A final that zigzagged between possible winners (well, apart from Katie) ended up feeling somewhat redundant as Jay’s fans carried him over the finishing line regardless of his distinctly underwhelming performance. Aliona’s dubious choices – an unshowy showdance, not repeating their jive lest they sully a “perfect moment” […]

Strictly Speaking week 12

Ah, two dances. Either double the fun, or a gruelling reminder that these people have lives and jobs and adding a cha cha to a Viennese waltz at the end of a long series is just asking for a nervous breakdown on live TV. (That’s the producers asking. Preferably during the X Factor overlap.) Pretty […]

Strictly Speaking week 11

What’s worse than a limp theme show? A limp theme show at a crucial stage of the competition. We might arguably have had the same quarter-final elimination without it – paso was always going to expose Princess Helen’s lack of versatility – but at least it would have resulted from a fair test of ballroom […]

Strictly Speaking week 10

Ah, post-Blackpool Week – Strictly’s annual hangover show. Lower the lights, pass the Berocca, and for god’s sake don’t make too much noise. Not generally a vintage night, and so it proved, with several celebs stuck with styles that didn’t suit and the judges’ scoring closer to sober than usual – except for Bruno, who […]

Strictly Speaking – week 9

Welcome to Blackpool, where, according to Strictly, the beaches are positively balmy in November, time has stood still since Len’s 1950s heyday, and the local scoring exchange rate is approximately 1:1.5 – 9s and 10s for all the vaguely good boys and girls, and a six feels like a slap in the face with a […]

Strictly Speaking – week 8

We need to talk about music. Strictly precariously straddles the worlds of ballroom and entertainment, so it can’t – and shouldn’t – be wall-to-wall Victor Silvester, but we’ve reached a crisis point. Song and theme choices (as I understand it, some suggested by pros, but producers hold sway) are now actively handicapping couples, who can […]

Strictly Speaking week 7

Phew! A return to form following last week’s Halloween hellscape, with some great performances, the series’ first multiple 10s, and Jeremy Vine riding a horse. All that, AND copious amounts of genuinely informative training footage? You’re spoiling us, Mr Ambassador. As we’re now at the halfway stage, it was no surprise to see genial duffer […]

Strictly Speaking week 6

Bitter experience has obliterated all possible hope for Strictly’s annual fright fest – best watched several dozen drinks in, when the more disturbing details begin to blur round the edges – but this was an abysmal show even by Halloween standards. It’s hard to know who to pity most: the dancers, stuck with the impossible challenge […]

Strictly Speaking week 5

Let me start this Strictly recap by stating that whatever pain meds Len “8s for everyone!” Goodman is on, I want some. Perhaps they would have enlivened a rather dreary mid-series outing, in which everyone seemed to be pacing themselves for the Halloween insanity to come. It wasn’t until the final three dances (otherwise known as […]

Strictly Speaking week 4

It’s almost worth having bonkers Strictly theme shows just to make us really appreciate the relative sanity of a non-theme show. Well, almost. We’re into “I keep whacking myself with a hammer because it feels so good when I stop” territory, and there was still some bludgeoning to endure this weekend. For one, ludicrous music choices […]

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