Saturday, 29 September 2007

Strictly Come Schedule-Filling

Preview show - 29th September, 2007

It's Strictly Come Dancing! It's the biggest show on British television - and worldwide!

But you needn't think the series is starting yet. Oh no. We're going to relive the best [And worst, natch - Georgi] moments of the previous four series, and it's our first chance to meet this season's celebrities, disregarding the fact that we've already seen who they are - and who they're dancing with - in the credits! Whoop! [If they're celebrities, shouldn't we already know them anyway? - Steve]

Bruce welcomes us to a "very special programme", and claims to be very excited. Tess confirms his excitement, which conjures up all sorts of grotesque images. Anyway, it's not special, it's just Bruce and Tess introducing a load of clips and a bundle of talking heads.

Julian Clary talks about his nerves; Esther Rantzen says the Strictly studio is the centre of the universe; Natasha Kaplinsky tried to break her leg rather than dance (maybe she should have asked Camilla, I'm sure she'd have been happy to oblige); Quentin Willson says that facing gangsters' Kalashnikovs is less frightening than dancing. He claims to have done 58 hours of practice and lost a stone, none of which made any difference. [I liked how Fiona Phillips called the show "ritual humiliation - if anyone should recognise that feeling, it's that witless concrete-footed waste of cartilage. - Steve]

Tess talks up the chances of the EastEnders actors, Matt Di Angelo and Letitia Dean, on the basis that EastEnders actors have done well before (and possibly because they're all stage-school puppies). [Although saying Christopher Parker "did well" is going a bit far. Okay, the Great British Public voted for him, but his dancing wasn't up to much. - Georgi] [I noticed they forgot Patsy Palmer. - Steve] Di Angelo reckons he'll do better if he learns with a pretty teacher. He's got Flavia, who welcomes him with a big kiss, and is pleased that she has a good-looking young man to dance with, rather than last year's dead loss she was lumbered with (Sicknote Tarbuck). We see them rehearse, and he clutches her breasts, much to his glee. Ugh. "You're too fast!" says Flavia, to which he responds, "The number of times I hear that from women." Ugh.

Letitia Dean is ready to work hard, and she's partnered with Darren. They do lots of beaming and hugging and giggling in ridiculously camp fashion. "You've got four weeks to turn me into a laydee!" sings Letitia. Darren rolls his eyes and says: "Mission impossible!" Much more giggles. Bless them.

Kelly Brook apparently hangs out in Hollywood these days, and that introduction is accompanied by a clip from Hotel Babylon, which is patently not Hollywood [But see how glossy it is! - Georgi]. She admits to camera that she told the producers that she could never work with Brendan, because he is awful. Therefore, she is partnered with Brendan, whose eyes pop out on stalks as soon as he sees her. All Brendan's former partners confirm how angry he is, and there are flashbacks to various weeping women, including Fiona Phillips, who is one of the worst dancers anyone has ever seen as well as being stupidly wet, and frankly Brendan did well not to punch her. Claire King is a bit more fierce, and handled him a bit better, and by all accounts he's a bit intimidated by the fabulousness of La Brook. There's a bizarre clip of him singing She's Like The Wind to her. This will be fun. Maybe Billy Zane will beat him up.

Oh, here are the judges. Tess reckons she is scared of Craig, which is patently untrue. I'm reasonably scared of Craig's new haircut, which looks a bit like Tintin's. Bruce says that Arlene knows what she likes and is very "self-opinionated". Well, isn't that what she's paid for? [And she's better at judging than she is at inventing her own TV series format and winning it. - Georgi] Arlene is in casual dress today, not sleek and shiny and Botoxed (well, possibly she's Botoxed, but her hair isn't very tidy). Bruce then claims "she's very women's lib". Oh, of course, because any woman who voices her opinion is immediately some kind of strident feminist. For God's sake. Tess's favourite memory of the judges is when Bruno informed Arlene, "The hills are alive with the sound of bullshit", which they have BLEEPED OUT and just in case that wasn't enough PIXELLATED HIS MOUTH. They have THOUGHT OF THE CHILDREN. Phew. [No repeat of Arlene bellowing "I just want raw sex!" while giving her score? Shame. - Steve]

"She was the closest thing to a professional dancer we have ever seen on Strictly," says Arlene of Jill Halfpenny, presumably excluding the professional dancers, showing her dance with Darren to I'm Still Standing, which got the first-ever perfect score. The only other clean sweep was Mark Ramprakash's salsa with Karen, and we're reminded once more why Karen was so very annoying, as they show her screaming and jumping around like a lunatic. [Clearly the British celebs just aren't as dedicated as their US 'Dancing With The Stars' counterparts, who have been getting perfect 30s left, right and centre for the last few weeks. - Georgi]

Craig claims that "Denise Lewis just used to thrill me". He means in a dancing way, obviously. A quick montage of the Bunton's best moments; a quick montage of Colin Jackson's best moments, which incomprehensibly omits [For now... - Georgi] the utter triumph of Erin's sodding blow-up dolls that lost him the competition, which still rankles with me two years on.

Bruce and Tess patronise the hell out of Peter Schmeichel, with the usual "gentle giant" cliches. I'd completely blocked out Carol Vorderman's appearance in the show, so we'll move swiftly on, nothing to see here; Lesley Garrett made it to the semi-finals with Anton.

This year, Anton's lumbered with Kate Garraway, who describes her new partner thus - "The brain of a world leader. The sex of Brad Pitt. The muscular tautness of someone like Arnie. He's amazing." He's apparently the Don of the Dance Floor. I love Anton. He says lots of nice things about Kate, concluding it with, "She's quite bendy, which is nice. I like that in my partners." Hee! They rehearse, and Anton has his shirt all buttoned up resplendent with yellow tie.

Dominic Littlewood, who claims to be "over-competitive", is with the fabulous Lilia, who frankly it would be a crime not to have a bit of a crush on regardless of sexual orientation. She walks into the room and Dominic runs up to her, enveloping her in a bear hug, shouting, "Yes! Lilia! I hoped it would be you! I'm pleased, I really am pleased, I thought it would be either you or Flavia [Because they are the only ladies as short as he is? - Georgi], but I'm so glad it's you!"

Tess's favourite paso doble memory is Christopher Parker's [Who is NOT DEAD - Georgi] gallop around the floor with cape flowing. "It sorts the men from the boys," declares Tess, and that's an obvious cue for Arlene to tell Ramprakash, "Once again you lit my fire." Eww. James Martin loved his cape. He was less happy about being whacked in the face by Camilla as they performed their paso. More generic mockery of bad celebrities.

Ooh, here's the lovely Gethin Jones. He is an Action Man. Tess said so, so it must be true. And Camilla is apparently "determined to go all the way". Insert your own dance-whore joke here. She's gone all squeaky and fluffy as she talks to him. Keep AWAY. [I have dibs on Gethin, bitches. - Steve]

Brian Capron killed people in Coronation Street and was a fairly rubbish Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show. He says that he has never danced before, which is an outright lie because I have seen him Timewarp with my own eyes. He's stuck with the insanity and high strings of Karen. She is happy because he is an actor and can act things when she tells him to. She recalls being worried that Ramprakash would be too shy and nervous to dance properly, which is why she kept pushing him. They trained eight hours a day, six days a week, so it's no wonder that he got snippy with her, which she says "was one of the saddest moments" of her Strictly career. Aww. It all ended happily though, so hurrah!

He was the second cricketer to win, after Darren Gough in 2005. "He was our amazing transformation story," says Tess. Surely she means it was "a journey"? Goughie reminds us that he was scared of what his mates would say, and first off he rejected the offer of a contract, but signed two days later. Obviously not because of the money.

John Barnes was twinkletoed when he played football, but he's eaten some pies since then, which he admits to. He wants to lose some weight. Bless. We're reminded of his cameo in World In Motion, in which he rapped for England. He'll be dancing with Nicole, and both of them have been warned by their beloveds that they should not get too close. Barnesy asks her if she likes football, to which she responds, "I love football!" He enquires as to her favourite team, and she refuses to tell him. Barnesy and I then chorus: "It's Manchester United." She confirms that is indeed the case. Yawn. Nicole is wearing a black blouse with the top three buttons undone, and her breasts look weird. [While Barnesy doesn't use the actual words "club dancing", ie the style favoured by DJ Spoony last year, I'm pretty sure that's what he meant when he was talking about his style of dancing. Expect an early exit, courtesy of the racialist British public. - Georgi]

Crashing on, then, Erin is with former snooker player Willie Thorne, who says he can hear music, due to not being deaf, but he can't necessarily hear the beat. This should be fun. Give him some puppets, Erin, that'll distract from any choreography or dancing ability he may have. She tells him he's looking at three or four hours a day of rehearsal. "Won't I be dying?" he replies. "You won't die," she snaps, with a look of disdain. [Jimmy Tarbuck almost died last year - surely it's only a matter of time if they keep making fat, middle-aged men dance. That'll show you, Erin. - Georgi]

Kenny Logan, who's dancing with Ola (who made a SHOCK EXIT last year with DJ Spoony, thanks to the racialist British public), used to play rugby for Scotland, but let's face it, he's only famous because he's married to Gabby, so let's move on to her.

I used to like Gabby Yorath when she was Gabby Yorath, but she lost all my respect when she did a stupid photo-shoot covered in mud and clutching a ripped football shirt to her body - to accompany her sports column in a national broadsheet. Admittedly I wasn't too impressed when she changed her name when she got married either, but that's another debate altogether. A former rhythmic gymnast, she's dancing with James Jordan, and I expect him to tell her off for being a fat bitch and having stretch marks from giving birth to twins in the very near future. [Poor Georgina. Didn't she only get roped in because ITV forced Gabby to pull out at the last minute last year anyway? - Steve] Oh! Do you see? Just in case you hadn't noticed, the married couples [The properly married couples, as opposed to the ones who have "dance partners" rather than wives - Georgi] are dancing with the respective partners! It is like Wife Swap through the medium of dance! Cue various dull and unfunny jokes from Bruce and Tess about teaching one's spouse to do anything. [In Tess's case it's probably fair comment - the World's Greatest Village Idiot probably needs instructions to keep him breathing in and out. - Georgi] Arlene expects fireworks as James tries to keep an eye on his wife and assert his authority over Gabby.

Of course, we all love the shiny costumes. The costume lady Su Judd says that in series one "it was impossible to persuade anyone to wear anything". Snarf. The macho men don't like wearing the sequins, but of course Julian Clary enjoyed it. Those crazy gays, eh? Zoe Ball loved her pretty dresses. Arlene stresses how important the visual impact is, and everyone teases Louisa Lytton about the tininess of her outfits. [They're just jealous. - Georgi] Oh, and now we've got to re-watch Erin and Colin and the blow-up dolls. Bruce hypothesises that the routine lost them the final. Ya think?

A series of costume malfunctions - Spoony splitting his trousers, Lilia losing a strap, and the microphone tangle between Mark and Karen last series. Bruce says he likes it when things go wrong. Craig chortles at the memory.

Matt Di Angelo doesn't want sparkles; John Barnes is worried that the tight pants won't look so good on him any more; Gethin Jones isn't at all phased by dressing up [Yay! - Steve]; Dominic Littlewood will wear anything as long as it isn't a pink tutu. Gabby Logan tells James, "I want to wear as many dresses as possible." He replies, "Yeah, me too." Hee!

Back to the contestants. I'm not going to dignify Penny Lancaster with her hyphen and married name, because it's ridiculous. I suspect she agreed to do the show because Rachel Hunter did Dancing With The Stars. Ian -"Strictly's tall, leggy blond bombshell", according to Tess - is pleased because she is tall, and hopes he has found himself another Zoe Ball. "Can you do the splits?" he asks. She replies in the negative. He glances at her. "Not yet."

Aw, it's Alesha Dixon, showing her HUSBAND WHO IS A BASTARD that she is over him through a televised reality show, which is clearly the way to do it (see last week's Bitch Factor) . She's dancing with Matthew, whose hair looks odd, and stresses that although she was in Mis-Teeq, she never had any dance lessons because her childhood was TOO POOR. [But even poor kids get to dance. Hasn't she seen such classic movies as 'Take The Lead' or 'Step Up'? - Georgi] Wrong show, love. Try the sob stories elsewhere. [Alesha has a filthy laugh. I love it. - Steve]

Vincent is partnered with Stephanie Beacham, and this will be marvellous, because the woman is a goddess. She prefers to be around people "who are endeavouring to make showbusiness showbusiness". Forget Brucie's pathetic attempts at flirting and wishing that she will "eat him for breakfast", the Beacham is going to pwn Vincent. "He's 29 years old. I can double that and have a drink," she says. "I spoke to Gloria Hunniford, she says it's frightening and so much fun, and she lost 15 pounds in five weeks. I signed up." Footage of rehearsals, and she's brilliant: "Don't say chassis to me like I should know what it is." I love her.

All the contestants are rehearsing RIGHT NOW AS WE SPEAK. AS WE SPEAK, kids! [Well, I can authoritatively state that Kenny Logan wasn't, because he was doing the rugby commentary on ITV. - Georgi] Bruce says so, and he always tells the truth and doesn't ever talk bollocks at all. Craig's advice - helpful - is, "Work hard." The competition among the girls is fierce. The Beacham is back, snarling, "That Gabby creature can put her leg over her head!" Beacham rules this year. Montage of all the contestants rehearsing, including Anton kissing Kate's hair. Bless. Well, that's our lot for this week. It starts properly in seven days! Whoop! Whoop!

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