With the nights getting shorter comes something marvellous – the addition of admittedly terrible TV shows to the viewing lineup for the weekend. No matter what your proclivity for crap telly is, there’s bound to be something for your taste. X Factor has started for those who either enjoy seeing someone singing well, or for those who enjoy the horrors of the auditions. Red or Black (which I’m fairly certain no-one watches anyway) is on for people with absolutely zero taste and are quite possibly brain dead. My own personal “guilty” pleasure is Strictly Come Dancing, which previewed tonight, and which I’m going to run down for you. I love Strictly, and I have since the first series came on. I have dreams of becoming some glamorous, leggy woman in a beautiful dress (I may not be the most feminine of women, but I love pretty dresses), strutting around a dancefloor with a man in tight trousers to a piece of music that gets your energy going.
Sadly, I wasn’t blessed with natural glamour, I’m as graceful as a deer trying to walk on ice. I wasn’t ever going to be tall, given I’m pretty certain my sister and I are the first of our family to grace the wonderful world of being over 5ft tall (just). I’m pretty awful at walking, never mind dancing in high heels. And on top of all of that, I just can’t dance. For all the trying in the world, I can put my feet and arms in the right steps, but I can never look good doing it. I’m not destined to grace the grand ballroom in Blackpool, my limit’s making a total fool of myself in nightclubs when I’m too drunk to care.
Anyway, I digress. I have been quite looking forward to the new series of Strictly starting, as I’m always interested to see which celebrities will be taking part. It has taken all sorts of people to make up the cast over the years: newsreaders, soap stars, cricketers (who until Phil Tuffnell took part did very well), pop stars, all sorts. And this year is no different. Now, let me introduce you to the female stars of Strictly Come Dancing, 2012/13 version! For the men, please click here.
Dani Harmer and her partner, Vincent Simone:
Every series of Strictly, there’s always the little “pocket rocket”: the spunky, short woman who surprises everyone by doing well. Rachel Stevens has been that woman, as has Jill Halfpenny who won the show’s second series. By being small, these women usually do very well in the latin dances because their legs are shorter and they can move them faster. So it’s good to know that my short legs would be worth something if I could make them move in a rhythmical fashion. This year’s pocket rocket is Tracey Beaker star, Dani Harmer. She is a good 4 inches shorter than the next shortest contestant.
It made sense for this tiny lady to get the tiniest male dancer, Vincent Simone. I’m not his biggest fan, although his latin professional dances with his partner Flavia are absolutely phenomenal. I think Dani may be a surprise (not just to me, when I realised that she may be around the same age as me, and I watched her on CBBC).
Denise van Outen and her partner, James Jordan:
Denise van Outen may be the celebrity I dislike irrationally this series. Purely because she mentioned that it’s her excuse to wear fake eyelashes. I hate fake eyelashes. Almost as much as I despise seeing people in Scotland being orange with fake tan (you’re Scottish, you’re pale – deal with it!). Her most notable appearances on the public consciousness are as a presenter on The Big Breakfast, and she has since resurfaced in the West End, as Roxy Hart in the musical Chicago. I very much like her partner, however, James Jordan.
Himself and his wife (another dancer on the show), Ola, always stand out in the professional group dances which start each of the live shows. And the arms! Though he does have a rather ill-advised tattoo on his right arm which is quite disappointing.
Fern Britton and her partner, Artem Chigvintsev:
Fern Britton has already had her chance at the Strictly limelight, taking part in a Christmas special version of the show, where she did very well. I can’t for the life of me remember who she danced with at that time, but this lady may be one to watch. She is still a much-loved star of daytime TV, so the young and the jobless may vote for a familiar face. I don’t have any notes written on her (I took notes as the show was advancing), other than the others should definitely not write her off because she’s a bit older than the average winner. She was very impressive.
Artem won the show two series ago with soap star Kara Tointon, and is a very impressive dancer. He’s also an incredibly likeable and rather cute (in that I’d want to smother him with cuddles), so their dynamic could be like a son teaching his mother how to dance. I think this couple may be a dark horse in the competition, and they are a sure-fire hit with the general public.
Jerry Hall and her partner, Anton du Beke:
Jerry Hall, in her first interview on Strictly with Tess, came off a pure filth. Though I guess you could assume she was at least a little dirty because she is an ex of Mick Jagger’s. When asked what her ideal partner would be, she calmly replied with “Oh, someone tall, handsome and with a lot of stamina” with the cheekiest look after she’d said it. I already liked her.
My problem arises with her partner, Anton du Beke, who has competed in Strictly from the very beginning of the show, yet has never won. Why? Because no-one in the general public likes him (except my granny, but she’s the weirdest old woman you could ever know). You may have seen him on the show Hole in the Wall (which was terrible, not just because he was involved). I can’t see him winning this year either, but the couple may do better than most expect them to.
Kimberley Walsh and her partner, Pasha Kovalev:
Kimberly Walsh, of Girls Aloud and now West End fame stands to continue Rachel Stevens and Emma Bunton’s trend that girl band members do reasonably well (but don’t win) Strictly. I imagine with her practice (starting from Sound of the Underground) in choreographed dancing, she’ll do reasonably well.
I’m not so keen on her partner, Pasha, he seems far too over-confident, and that just doesn’t fit with the whole idea of the show, where everyone takes on the criticism of the judges (which with Alesha Dixon gone and replaced with the brilliant Darcey Bussell, is a truly knowledgeable panel), takes it away and come back improved the next week. I don’t want this couple to do well, but I imagine they’ll do okay.
Lisa Riley and her partner, Robin Windsor:
Lisa Riley was a much-loved part of the Emmerdale cast a few years back as the ever-likeable Lisa Dingle. She has never been a tiny, skinny girl, and has always been on the bigger side. Now, sadly, she looks bigger than ever (though, the Strictly diet has been proven to work, and her partner seems like a workhorse) and may struggle through the fitness aspect of the next three weeks of training before the tough stuff really begins.
Her partner, Robin Windsor may have to do without working lifts into his choreography this year, but I don’t think that will hold him back. He will challenge Lisa in all kinds of ways. I don’t imagine this couple will go very far.
Victoria Pendleton and her partner, Brendan Cole:
Cycling’s golden girl has taken her leave from the velodrome, and has stepped straight into the Strictly world. With legs to die for, Victoria will certainly not be lacking the stamina to survive the long training sessions. I think she could do very well indeed, if she has rhythm.
Brendan is the firecracker of the dancers, known for mouthing off to the judges after unkind comments. He won the first ever series of Strictly and has been unlucky to have had some awful partners since then. If Victoria has any semblance of rhythm, this couple could go very far indeed.
Do you agree with my picks for the Strictly ladies? If you have an opinion, please voice it in the comments below!