Strictly Come Blogging

Louise. Lou. Loulabelle. Loulabelle44. Louby.
Proudly blogging about Strictly Come Dancing ALL YEAR ROUND since 2006.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Three New Pros, Gleb Departs

The BBC have announced the pro line-up for 2016, with three new pros joining the competition.

Photos Igor Malakhov; Gorka Marquez; Edward Gelhaus

Gorka Marquez is a Spanish latin specialist and a veteran of Burn The Floor (of course!). Here is a clip of him performing a paso with his professional partner Irene Martin in 2012.

He said: “I feel very excited and grateful to be joining Strictly Come Dancing and to be one of the professional dancers for the new series. It’s something that every dancer dreams of and something that I always wanted to have the opportunity to do.”

The name Katya Jones might ring a bell with some. Russian-born Katya is the wife and professional partner of Strictly choreographer Neil Jones. Here is a clip of Katya & Neil performing a show dance in 2013.

Katya said: “I am so privileged to be joining Strictly Come Dancing. I know it is extremely intense, but so am I! I am fierce, fabulous, and would love to win!”

The final newbie is Oksana Platero. Oksana is from Ukraine, and was formerly a troupe dancer on Dancing With The Stars in the US. Here she is performing a samba on the show with Kiki Nyemchek.

Oksana said: “Words cannot describe how extremely excited I am to be joining the Strictly Come Dancing family this year. I am so fortunate to be given the opportunity. It feels so surreal and I cannot wait to get started.”

It has also been announced that Gleb Savchenko has decided not to return: “I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the last series of Strictly Come Dancing and especially the way that the UK gave me such a warm welcome but due to family commitments I won't be returning to the show for the next series - I'll definitely be tuning in though.”

A nation mourns the fact that the 'Gleb special' will not see the light of day again.

So, the female line-up will be Katya, Oksana, Karen, Janette, Natalie, Oti and Joanne, who returns to the competition after only featuring in pro numbers last year.

The male line up will be Gorka, Anton, Brendan, Aljaž, Giovanni, Kevin and Pasha.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Putting The 'Strict' Into Strictly

Strictly Come Dancing's professional dancers are facing a raft of new rules in their new contracts, which will attempt to prevent controversy around the Saturday night family favourite.

According to the Daily Mirror, the new rules prevent pros from cutting their hair, having cosmetic surgery or setting up call centres to generate votes.

A source said: “Some of these stipulations are ridiculous, it’s always funny when they come through. There’ve been instances where dancers have run into trouble after flouting these rules.”

Dancers must also be respectful of their partners on social media and declare any political involvement, and the BBC retains all final decisions on make-up and costume.

Len Set To Return To DWTS

Len Goodman has decided to resume judging duties on Dancing With The Stars, enticed by a £3m pay deal.

A source told The Sun“Len genuinely wanted to take a step back and enjoy a bit more free time. But he still has the energy of a man half his age so he thought why not. And the money is a bonus.”

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Theatre Review: Norma Jeane - The Musical

When Joanne Clifton first announced she would be starring in a musical, I raised an eyebrow.

I'm usually first in the queue to support the Strictly fraternity in their endeavours outside the programme. A theatre tour. Maybe a panto. But this was something that no other dancer from the show had done - a proper acting role.

Norma Jeane - The Musical is set in the mind of the eponymous movie star, as she spends time in Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in New York. She is visited by relatives, all voices in her head, and looks back on her troubled life.

On stage, Marilyn is represented by three actresses - Sarah Rose Denton as the troubled and lost Norma Jeane, Joanne Clifton as the glamourous and confident Marilyn Monroe, and the pair are later joined by Ruth Betteridge as a young Norma Jeane.

So, what of Joanne and my raised eyebrow?

Joanne Clifton and Sarah Rose Denton

Joanne is a marvelous Marilyn. She embodies the sexy, glamourous and confident persona of the starlet, deluded and caught-up her own hype. She sings and dances, and delivers some of the funniest (and most profane!) lines in the show. And this is no cameo. No token casting to get bums on seats. Joanne pulls her weight with the rest of the cast, only leaving the stage at brief moments to change into another one of Marilyn's signature outfits. Not once did her character slip.

Joanne can carry a tune too, performing several songs, although at times her voice was lost in the music. I'm sure she'll only improve as the run goes on. The music itself tells the story, but you probably won't leave the theatre humming any of it.

While this is far from being a dance show, those who cannot live without for a bit of Strictly fairy dust are catered for. Choreographer Adam Scrown has included some dancing for Joanne, so you get to see her do what she's known for.

The rest of the cast are not to be forgotten. Denton is the perfect juxtaposition to Joanne in her role as Norma Jeane. And Joseph Bader keeps things moving as her uncle Marion, serving as the piece's narrator.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and I wish the whole cast and crew a very successful run.

Norma Jeane - The Musical is on at the LOST Theatre in London until 18th June. Visit TicketSource to purchase tickets.

I attended the press night on 1st June 2016.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Congratulations, Katya!

Congratulations to former Strictly pro Katya Virshilas and her husband Klaus, who have welcomed a new baby son into their family.

A spokesperson for the couple told Hello!: "Katya Virshilas and Klaus Kongsdal are delighted to announce the birth of their beautiful baby boy. Mother and baby are doing well."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Michaela Wants To Dance

Wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan would love to appear on Strictly, but has never been asked.

The Daily Express reports that Michaela told Event magazine: "I've never been asked to go on Strictly Come Dancing. I wonder if producers overlook me because of my dance background, but if they're reading this, come and get me! I used to be a can-can dancer. When I was training as a dancer I formed a little can-can troupe with some of the girls I was studying with. We did a lot of shows - the biggest one was a charity do at the Royal Albert Hall. We did a 15 minute can-can, which was totally exhausting."

I think Michaela would be a great choice. She so fun and likable. Make the call, BBC!

Actress To Get Down-ton?

Strictly producers are reportedly keen to sign former Downton Abbey actress Michele Dockery.

A source told the Daily Mirror: Strictly bosses have been trying to get her on the show for years. But she’s always been tied down to ITV because she was in a contract with them, and filming with Downton would always overlap with Strictly. Now she’s not working for ITV they’ve pounced on her. They know she could be a star attraction.”

Strictly Hoping To Recruit Olympic Stars

Strictly producers may have to delay the announcement of the Strictly line-up this year in the hope of recruiting some successful Olympians for this year's show.

The Brazil games closes on 21st August, so the pressure will be on to get any potential stars of the games signed up before the show begins.

In 2012, Victoria Pendleton and eventual winner Louis Smith were signed up after their Olympic success.

A source told The Sun: “It will most definitely mean a chaotic rush and race against time to get at least two Olympic stars contracted and costumed ahead of the launch. It will mean a delay in the official line-up being made public but there is no doubt amongst the researchers that to get a couple of sporting names fresh from the games involved will be a huge ratings winner once again.”

Murder On The Kitchen Floor?

Strictly pro Gleb Savchenko is swapping samba for sorbet on the upcoming series of Celebrity Masterchef.

He's in a lot of Strictly company, too. Not only has host Greg Wallace appeared on the show, but Gleb will be up against former Strictly contestants Simon Webbe, Sid Owen and Audley Harrison. 

A total of 20 celebrities will be taking part in the show which begins in June. If you can't wait until then, here's a picture of Gleb in his apron...

Lauren Pope Would Like To Do Strictly

Former TOWIE star Lauren Pope would happily follow Mark Wright onto Strictly.

The Sunday World quotes her as saying: "Oh yes, definitely. I think that's the one everyone wants to do. People always play it down but I think that's the one everyone loves doing. It's fun and you'd come away with a banging body, everyone that comes out of it has this toned and tight body."

Shaun Ryder Turned Down Strictly

Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder was rumoured to have been approached to take part in Strictly, but has turned it down because he doesn't like the judges.

He told The Sun: "I got asked to do Strictly. The problem with Strictly is it doesn’t really do anything for you, does it? You go on and you dance like a twat, right, and then you stand there while some c**t tells you how bad you are and what a wanker you are."

It seems odd to me that the BBC would approach Shaun. Strictly is a live show, and Shaun got into very hot water for his language on TFI Friday in the mid-1990s.

Paul Burrell Rumoured For Strictly

It's that time of year when speculation is rife about who will appear on the next series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The Daily Star Sunday reports that Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell is on the list. A source told the paper: “Paul has been keen to do Strictly for years because he loves watching it. He’s now made the final shortlist of star names so he’s thrilled. The line-up is finalised around July each year, but it’s pretty much a done deal.”

I think Paul is a terrible choice. He's not very well-liked by large parts of the public, and I think he'd be a complete turn-off for viewers.

Monday, May 09, 2016


Strictly Come Dancing won a television BAFTA award last night for Entertainment Programme.

It's Strictly's first win in the main TV awards, beating out Britain's Got Talent, Adele At The BBC and the TFI Friday Anniversary Special.

Congratulations to everyone involved in making the show such a success!

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Strictly Too Hard For Kirstie

TV presenter Kirstie Allsop would love to have done Strictly in the past, but it's too difficult now.

Kirstie told DigitalSpy: "I would have done Strictly in the past, but when there was an opportunity to do it I wasn't able to do it. And now I wouldn't do it, because it's so much bigger a beast, so much more time away from the children, and it just is so much more difficult. Denise Lewis is a friend of mine and she says it is much more than it was when she did it [Series 2]. And it's much more competitive and a lot of people train for much longer and everything."

I do understand how she feels, but it is a shame because I think Kirstie would be great. I think she'd really give it a good go.

Perhaps she'll turn up on a special...

Debbie McGee Wants To Do Strictly In Paul's Memory

Debbie McGee would like to participate in this year's Strictly in honour of her late husband Paul Daniels.

Debbie told The Sun: “Paul was on Strictly Come Dancing and that’s something I’d just love to do in his memory. I’m getting my agent to ring them. I’ve written it on my list of things to get finalised. I would love to do it. In my life with Paul we always pushed for work. We loved working and loved showbusiness, you never know what’s around the corner."

Paul participated in the competition in Series 8 (2010), partnered with Ola Jordan. They were the second couple to leave the competition.

Despite spending her career as a magician's assistant, Debbie trained as a dancer, attending the Royal Ballet School. She was a member of the Iranian National Ballet company, until political unrest forced her to leave Iran and return to Britain.

I'd be quite happy for Debbie to participate. And based on her experience, she would go quite a bit further than her husband did.