Strictly Dance Fever, BBC1

by | Mar 26, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

A brilliantly glitzy. camp, kitsch vehicle for Graham Norton

What to say if you disliked it

Another tedious show holding out the promise of fame to unlovely folk with tearful mothers

What was good about it

• Graham Norton adds value to the talent show format, something only Ant & Dec and the beloved Brucie have done in recent times i.e. he’s not a bland bore like Cat’n’Pat, Kate Thornton, Natasha Kaplinsky. He doesn’t overdo the cloying sympathy or hype up the acts as if their the greatest thing since… the last act. Any attempts at jocular joshing with the contestants fell flat because they were all bundles of nerves, prone to turning on the waterworks at any time, but Graham was very amusing as he watched footage of the horrifying auditions. His best line came as he observed a woman dancing with a broom. “It’ll be awful if the brush gets through and she doesn’t.”

• The first act was fantastic. Claire works in a chip van and looks like she eats its contents daily; James is a weedy fella. With her spinning like a whirling dervish, and his frail arms struggling to contain her, it was a miracle that she didn’t go flying into the audience and wipe out the first few rows.

• Arlene Phillips’ description of Wigan’s Paul as “the Matt Lucas of dance” after his exuberant performance of Knock On Wood with thunderthighs Susanna

• Eddie from Glasgow looking like Billy Elliot

• Adam – partnered by Victoria in a “Grimsby’s finest” combo – was brave enough to wear a see-through top created by his mum and Auntie Pat

• Coach Kevin Allen, who makes Graham seem butch

• Sadie and Joseph’s routine while dressed like Jordan and her pimp, which saw off George (the only beefcake on the show) and Stephanie (two pairs of knickers) who looked as if they’d tumbled out of the Eric Prydz Call On Me video

What was bad about it

• The judges are far too nice: Arlene looks like Cruella De Ville but says nothing at all bitchy. At least she bandied around a few technical terms. There was no insight at all from her fellow judges Stacey (overplaying her part like mad) and Luca (underplaying his part to the point of worthlessness). We prefer our judges to stick the knife in and send the wannabes home to a nice nervous breakdown.

• Seeing grown men wiggling their hips while festooned in glitter is, frankly, distasteful

• Too many thick thighs, sequins, floppy bellies, mwah mwah kissing and hairy chests

• The usual crop of idiot auditionees such as the woman dressed as a chicken, oldie Isabel and those feuding Asians

• The cameras didn’t dwell for long enough on the tears shed by the humiliated couples who’d been eliminated

• What the f**ck is line dancing? “It’s not just slap your thighs and tilt your hat,” we were told. But the couples who were supposedly line dancing were just doing their own thing, never in line, so we’re in the dark on that one.

• We only heard the pathetic line “it’s their loss” twice.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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