Based in the UK, I am a Strictly Come Dancing fan. You can keep, Strictly Come Ice Dancing (ahem), Strictly Come Singing, Strictly I’m a Celebrity in the Jungle, etc, etc, etc. I love Strictly Come Dancing, and I don’t, as a rule love reality television.
So why do I love Strictly? Is it because I know and love the “stars”?
I have on occasion seen Dancing with the Stars, and I don’t know all the people on there because they are obviously US “stars”. However, I didn’t know who half the UK ones were either really, and I’ve grown to love them, because we’ve all been on a journey together. So if I watched the whole series unfold I’d be into Dancing with the Stars too. I’d heard of Kelly Brook and seen her from time to time, but I’d taken no notice of her – it gives them a chance for you to see them as they are – for better or worse. So you get the chance to fall in love with the celebs, and frankly Gethin it would be hard not to fall for you!
Is it the dancing that I love? Well yes I do, along with the dresses and the music. I also have found having watched all series that I can actually spot if the judges will like or dislike a performance, if its been well interpreted and if it had the main elements of each dance. Now, I’m not saying that I know if there was heel when there should have been toe and I can’t spot an individual brilliant fleckle from a dud, but I do know that’s what they are and that they are supposed to be there, or that there is rise and fall in the waltz and how much they should be in hold. So I love the fact that I get to be a judge too.
Is it the judges that I love? Well I do love them actually, I think they are great entertainment, but also that they are strict and fair in their marking. They are always trying to improve people – even Kate Garraway – and that makes them a lot more wholesome than some other reality “judges”.
I also love the fact that you are watching people who are successful in one thing trying to master another skill, and often surprising themselves. The cricketers have been fascinating in their tenacity, competitiveness and lightness of footwork. This year it is actually the first in three years when a sport-person won’t have made the final.
What I love most though is the relationship that you see growing with the professional and celebrity dancers. The professionals often treat their charges like precious babies, working them hard but trying to shield them from the judges. Darren Bennett’s work to give Leticia Dean more confidence in herself has been a great example of that.
It’s like a gripping soap opera with a skill contest every weekend. This season they seem more family-like than they have ever done, and the matching of competitiveness and support for each other has been startling in its genuineness.
Maybe I am an optimist, a dreamer – but I would rather have young girls wishing that they were going to be good enough to wear frocks, have abs like Flavia and become professional dancers than aspiring to marrying a footballer and going on endless shopping sprees. I think as reality television goes, it’s at the top of its class.