Strictly Come Blogging

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

Friday, July 20, 2018

Strictly Come Farming

If you're as old as me, you'll probably remember Channel 5's reality show The Farm. It is most remembered for Rebecca Loos doing to a pig things that our former prime minister can only dream about.

Well, now it's back as Celebs On The Farm.

Eight 'celebrities' spend 10 days helping out on a farm. Probably not helping with pig insemination this time, but you never know.

What has this to do with Strictly, you ask? One of the aforementioned eight is former Strictly pro Gleb Savchenko.

So while everyone has been busy speculating about whether Brendan Cole will venture into the jungle, Gleb has been going for welly fittings. Although judging by this publicity shot, he needs to find a shirt that fits properly as well.

Broadcast date for the show is not yet fixed, but it will be on over the summer.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Samantha Womak For Strictly?

Is former EastEnders actor Samanth Womak heading for the Strictly dance floor?

The Daily Mirror reports that Samantha has a job lined up for the summer, as she told them: “I’m going to have the summer off and then I’m going back on the telly in September for something that hasn’t been announced yet."

So that's obviously Strictly.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

TV Choice Awards - Short List Voting

Strictly Come Dancing made it through to the short list vote for Best Talent Show in the TV Choice awards. Strictly is up against Britain's Got Talent, Dancing On Ice and The Great British Bake-Off. 

Vote here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Three New Pros!

The BBC announced today that three new pros will be joining the line-up for 2018, taking the total to 18. The new pros are Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe and Luba Mushtuk.

Strictly fans may already be familiar with Russian born Luba. She has joined Giovanni on both of his tours, whom the tabloids claim she is dating. Luba also performed on the last Strictly Come Dancing Live tour and is a veteran of Burn The Floor (of course).

Johannes (left) is a two-time Strictly finalist in his native South Africa. And yes, he too has been in BTF.

Guess which touring show Sicilian Graziano Di Prima has been in for the last three years...

The rest of the pro line-up remains the same, with the exception of Brendan Cole and Chloe Hewitt who are not returning.

Executive producer Louise Rainbow said: “This is the biggest line-up of pros that we’ve ever had on Strictly. We are so lucky to have such an array of talent. A huge thank you goes to Brendan from all of us for 15 amazing series of Strictly. We wish him all the very best with his future projects. We would also like to thank Chloe and wish her well.”

All that remains to be seen is if Neil will get a celebrity partner this year...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

TV Choice Awards - Long List Voting

The long list voting round for the TV Choice awards has now started, and Strictly Come Dancing is in the running for Best Talent Show.

You can case your vote here. You have until 1st June to cast your vote.

Vote for Strictly!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tinders For Strictly?

Could former England and Gloucester rugby player Mike Tindall be in the running for the next series of Strictly?

The Daily Mirror reports that producers are keen to sign Mike, who is married to Princess Anne's daughter Zara, because of his royal connections. 

A source told the paper: “They are keen to bag Mike in the year of one of the biggest royal weddings the world has ever seen. They think he’d be great on the show as he’s shown himself to be a big character and they are certain he would be a fans’ favourite.”

I suspect that the producers are hoping that if Mike takes part, they might be able to get a royal in the audience. Maybe the Duchess of Cornwall can persuade him. I'm sure she'd be happy to use one of his guest tickets.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Cha Cha Cha-llenge Anneka

Anneka Rice has reportedly been approached to take part in Strictly Come Dancing.

A source told The Sun: “Bookers are very keen to get Anneka and know she would be a huge signing. After Debbie McGee’s popularity last year there is a sense the more mature lady does well and resonates with older viewers. They’re in talks and hoping that she finally says yes.”
I'd love to see Anneka on Strictly. She was a fixture on TV in the 1980s on Treasure Hunt and Challenge Anneka, but we haven't seen very much of her since. It would be great to have her on Strictly. And I think she'd do quite well.

Coleen Rooney For Strictly?

Coleen Rooney is reportedly in talks to take part in Strictly Come Dancing.

Coleen was rumoured to participate in 2017, but fell pregnant which ruled her out. Now she has been approached again.

A source told the Daily Mirror: “Coleen deferred her place last year after falling pregnant but has the option of taking it up this year – and talks have begun to make that happen. This would be one of Strictly’s biggest ­signings ever. And it would be a ratings ­sensation. Producers know that they will need to pull out all the stops to land Coleen. But they have been told she is interested.”

Chloe Not Returning?

Chloe Hewitt will reportedly not been invited to return to Strictly Come Dancing this year.

The Sun reports that after two years on the show without a celebrity partner, Chole has been let go. A source told the paper: “While [Chloe's dance partner] AJ has done well on the show, Chloe has been skipped over two years running when it came to celeb pairings. So while others perform every week, she has only danced with other pro dancers in the group numbers, and hasn’t really made her mark.The bosses weren’t that impressed and so they have not given her a new contract. By now she would expect to have one if she was returning.”

If this is true, I think it's a shame. Chloe did make her mark on ITT, and to not even give her a go with a celebrity partner is really unfair. I'll be really sad to see her leave.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Latest Rumours

More rumours swirl around possible participants for 2018.

The Sun reports that former England goalkeeper David James is on the wishlist. A source told the paper: “The Strictly casting team are really keen to sign up a former footballer this year. It’s been a while since we had a celebrity from the world of football and, as 2018 is a World Cup year, a footballer makes perfect sense. David would be a fantastic signing for us, and he is interested. The question is whether or not he will be able to balance training with his other commitments, as he is currently coaching a team in India.”

Thanks to Soccer AM of yesteryear, I cannot hear David's name without my inner monologue chanting 'Dodgy keeper, dodgy keeper'.

The Sun also reports that producers are interested in Union J singer Josh Cuthbert. A source said: “Josh has caught the eyes of producers and they’re seeing if he could take part. He could easily be a fan favourite. He’s young, in good shape and can dance. He’d be a strong signing.”

Friday, March 16, 2018

Kevin & Karen Clifton Confirm Split

After months of speculation, Kevin & Karen Clifton have confirmed that they have split up, but claim their dancing is better than ever.

Speaking to Chris Evans on his breakfast show yesterday, Kevin said: "Privately, we're not together anymore, but professionally we are stronger than ever. Dance is how we came together, and has been the glue which has held us together for years now. We've danced on Broadway together and West End, got five Strictly finals between us and we're still the best of friends. We've got a lot of love and respect for each other."

You can hear the interview here.

This is very sad news, but it sounds as though they are happy to work together. I hope they are both as happy as they sound.

I remember when Vincent and Flavia split up. The pain was obvious, but they put in some of the best performances of their lives in my opinion. And now they have four successful tours under their belts and are still amazing dancing together. I wish Kevin and Karen the same success.

Congratulations, Brendan!

Congratulations to former Strictly pro Brendan Cole and his wife Zoe, who have welcomed their second child, a boy, into the world. According to The Sun, Danté was born on Tuesday.

It was quite clear from an Instagram post from Zoe that she was nonplussed with the tabloid revealing the news before they could.

Brendan is currently on tour with his own show, All Night Long, which is on the road until the end of the month.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Latest Rumours

There have been quite a few rumours about possible Strictly participants in the past few days.

The Daily Star reports that producers are keen to sign former Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan. Michelle is married to Mark Wright, who made the final in 2014 with Karen Clifton. A source told the paper: "She has a huge and loyal fanbase, but more importantly to bosses they know her supporters are young. That’s a demographic that they are desperate to attract to the show and something they are willing to break the bank for... Everyone behind the scenes thinks she would set the dance floor alight. It’s now a matter of convincing her to sign up.”

The Daily Mirror reports that The Chase star Mark Labbett is on the wish list. Mark and his fellow 'Chasers' won Let's Sing & Dance For Comic Relief last year. A source said: “Mark has become one of the best-known personalities on TV so he has come on to Strictly’s radar. They think he could be a real hit with viewers, as he has been on The Chase. He would certainly make people stand up and take notice with his stature.” 

The Sun reports that Big Brother's Bit On The Side host and former This Morning reporter Rylan Clark-Neal is also being considered. A source said “Rylan is charismatic and popular, and the bosses are sure he would be a huge hit on the show. He is definitely one of their targets for 2018.”

With about six months until we find out who will take part, expect to see lots more names linked with the show.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Anton Will Return To Strictly

Anton du Beke will reportedly return to Strictly Come Dancing this year, following speculation that he may be axed alongside Brendan Cole.

The Sun reports that Brendan is the only pro not to have his contract renewed.

A source told the paper: "Brendan is the only major name not returning. Anton will be back again this year. He is now the only dancer who has been around since the very first series, but he’s a big character and the show wouldn’t feel the same without him. He’s also been much more relaxed about missing out on the spot on the judging panel than Brendan was.”

The Sun also alleges that it was the judges who requested Brendan's removal from the pro line-up.

A source told the paper that it was Brendan's on-air spat with head judge Shirley Ballas over his tango with Charlotte Hawkins that was the catalyst: "He sulked rather than apologised after the show. Everyone told him 'Don't bite the hand that feeds you'. But his stubbornness got the better of him. The judges and show bosses had to put up with a lot over the years, but doing it to Shirley was a step too far. It was after that moment that the judges said: 'Off with his head'. They told bosses - it's him or the show. They had simply had enough. And Brendan was the last to know."

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Brendan Let Go From Strictly

Brendan Cole has not been invited back to Strictly Come Dancing this autumn.

The dancer broke the news yesterday on Lorraine, explaining that it was an editorial decision, although he's not completely sure of the exact reason why.

In in emotional interview, he said: "I've been very lucky. I've had 15 incredible years, not many people can say that." 

He wasn't ready to give up just yet, though. "I've always said that as long as I've got a passion for it, I want to be there. And my passion is still very much there. I'll miss being a part of the team. I'll miss being a Strictly dancer."

Following his somewhat contemplative exit interview back in October, there was much speculation that Brendan was ready to hang up his Cuban heels, but it's clear from his words and demeanour on Lorraine that he is gutted by the news.

I have always enjoyed seeing Brendan on Strictly. With the right partners - Natasha, Lisa, Kelly, Sophie - he has put in some magical routines. And it's been a delight to watch him grow up and mature into the caring family man he has become.

This also begs another question. What about Anton?

I always felt like Anton and Brendan were kindred spirits. The old guard, who take little pops at each other, but work hard to keep up with the ever-younger pros around them. I always pondered that Anton might give up if ever Brendan did, because would the job be as much fun without a partner in crime?

It will be interesting to see what other changes will be made for the upcoming series. They have a new celebrity booker, so will the kind of celebrities approached be changing?

Watch this space.

To mourn Brendan's departure, here are a couple of my favourite Brendan routines. I actually wanted to include his paso with Sarah Manners, but sadly there are no YouTube clips.

Here is his Viennese waltz with Kelly Brook:

And his Charleston with Sophie Ellis-Bextor:

And, of course, no Brendan look-back would be complete without the 'Bacofoil' routine (aka Lisa & Brendan's showdance). He got a lot of stick for it, but I still respect what he was trying to do with this routine, even if it wasn't quite executed in the way he might have had in his head:

Thank you, Brendan, for your passion, your backchat, your choreography and the entertainment you have given us for the past fifteen series.

I am very sorry to know that my 'This girl' klaxon is falling silent forever.