Strictly Come Blogging

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

Monday, September 01, 2014

Brucie Bonus

Sir Bruce Forsyth will return to Strictly, and is expected to hand the glitterball over to Tess Daly, symbolising her promotion to lead co-host of the show.

A source told the Daily Mirror: “It will be a symbolic ceremony. And knowing Bruce, it will be sure to involve a nifty dance move or two. It’s great to have him back. He is such an iconic part of the show.

Strictly The Best?

Is Emma the best Strictly participant ever?

Readers of the Radio Times seem to think so, as they have voted her the show's best dancer, taking 23% of the magazine's poll. Emma, who was partnered by Darren Bennett, only managed third place in Series 3.

Emma's best score was 37, achieved for both the waltz and paso doble in the same week.

Completing the top five were Kara Tointon, Jill Halfpenny, Mark Ramprakash and Matt Baker.

Emma was great, and it's good to see someone who took part such a long time ago recognised, but I am surprised that the crown wasn't taken by a series winner.

Final Four Participants

The final four celebrities were announced late last week (I really need to stop taking weekends away!).

First up is TV presenter Caroline Flack. Caroline is no stranger to 'reality' TV, having worked on the sister shows of some of TV's biggest programmes, most notably I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here Now! and The Xtra Factor. I fondly remember her on The Games: Live At Trackside with Justin Lee Collins.

It is not the first time Caroline has donned the sequins and hit the floor. Caroline won BBC Three's Dancing On Wheels competition with wheelchair dancer (and now Paralympic swimmer) James O'Shea in 2010. Judging by this clip, she could do pretty well again.

Caroline said: “Ever since I was a presenter on CBBC and used to see the Strictly judges walking around Television Centre I have wanted to be on the show. I am so excited to get started and I just want to get through the first dance with no mistakes….plus I really want to master my ‘dance face’!”

Actress Jennifer Gibney is next on the list. Jennifer plays Cathy Brown in Irish comedy Mrs. Brown's Boys, and is married to Brendan O'Carroll who plays the titular role.

Jennifer said: “As a child I wrote to Blue Peter asking could I dance with Pan's People. Now at last I get a chance to earn my badge - excited doesn't cover it!!"

Blue Peter isn't known for fixing it for children to fulfil their dreams. I have suspicions about this statement, but I cannot raise them for legal reasons...

MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace has been linked with Strictly on-and-off since 2010, and was always keen to do it, but was too busy. It seems he has now cleared his diary and is ready to rumba.

He said: “I absolutely love the show and I love dancing! I cannot wait to get engrossed and live in a Strictly bubble!”

The final celebrity to sign-up is Bargain Hunt presenter Tim Wonnacott. Tim is the second BH presenter to take part. Those who have watched the show since the start will have fond memories of David Dickenson's jazz hands.

Tim is having a go in the hope of impressing Mrs. W: "My wife and I are big fans of the show and this year we’ll be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. She loves dancing but it’s never really been my specialty. I would love to pick up even just a few moves so that come our anniversary, I can take her out and show her a good time!”

So there you have it. Fifteen participants. One glitterball.

To find out how the celebrities are feeling ahead of the first show, tune in to see Zoe Ball interviewing them on the Strictly Red Carpet programme, available via the red button from 7.30pm on Wednesday evening, and two find out which pro will be partnering each participant, don't miss the Strictly Come Dancing Launch Show on BBC One on Sunday at 8pm.

Keeeeeeep dancing!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Celebrity No. 11: Pixie Lott

Singer Pixie Lott is the latest addition to the Strictly Come Dancing line-up.

Not only is Pixie a number-one recording artist, as a youngster she appeared on the West End stage in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She attended Italia Conti stage school, so should have a good grounding in the performing arts.

Pixie is looking forward to being a part of the show: “I'm so excited to be doing Strictly, it's going to be a lot of fun. I always want to push myself as a performer so can't wait to learn the routines.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Celebrity No. 10: Scott Mills

Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills is the tenth celebrity to join Strictly.

I really like Scott, and this is probably my favourite announcement so far. Scott has been doing a brilliant job covering the Eurovision Semi Finals on BBC Three for the past few years (unfortunately at the expense of Paddy O'Connell, but that's another story), and also did a lot of work for LivingTV (now Sky Living) in the past, including a couple of documentaries following around David Hasslehoff.

Scott said: "I’m honoured be part of the biggest show on television and hoping this could be the start of a brand new skill for me. When I was younger, my Nan danced the foxtrot and waltz and it would be great for me to learn those dances, but I will be out of my comfort zone. Whatever happens, I’m really looking forward to the weekly fake tans!”

I can't wait to see Scott, although something tells me he might get really nervous. I don't know why I think that. I get the feeling he's not used to being so exposed. But I think he'll work hard no matter what, and I can't wait to see who he is pared with. I think Janette might be a good match.

Scott Mills

Celebrity No. 9: Steve Backshall

Naturalist and presenter of Deadly 60 on CBBC, Steve Backshall, is the next celebrity lined-up for Strictly. For those old enough not to be current CBBC viewers, he was also a presenter of The Really Wild Show for four years.

He said: “My day job filming wildlife in jungles and swamps is nothing like as scary as what is ahead. I think Strictly Come Dancing is going to be my wildest challenge by far!”

He's taken on sharks, snakes, crocodiles and spiders. How will he manage against Craig Revel Horwood?

Steve Backshall

Celebrity No. 8: Jake Wood

Actor Jake Wood is celebrity number eight. He is best known for playing Max Branning in EastEnders, a role he has had since 2006.

Jake is hoping that the public will get the chance to get to know the real him.

He said: "I'm really relishing the prospect of hitting the Strictly dance floor this year. I'm doing it for all the dads out there and you never know, there's always a chance of being the first Walford resident to take home the glitterball... Bring it on!"

Poor Jake. Someone should tell him that Jill Halfpenny, who played regular character Kate Mitchell in EastEnders, already won it in Series 2...

Celebrity No. 7: Sunetra Sarker

Actress Sunetra Sarker is the 7th Strictly participant this year. She is best known for roles in No Angels, The Chase and Casualty.

Sadly, I don't watch any of those shows, so I don't know anything much about Sunetra.

She said: “I don't quite know what I've let myself in for... I'm in total denial! But the chance to swap my stethoscope for sequins was just too tempting. I am very excited to be part of the Strictly team!”

Celebrity No. 6: Simon Webbe

I think I am getting these in the wrong order...

Anyway, next up is Blue singer Simon Webbe. There is no doubt that Simon should be a bit good. Not only have we seen his moves with Blue over the years, but he has already been on the floor. Simon was partnered by Katya Virshilas in the 2011 Christmas Special. He scored 36 for his cha cha.

Simon said: "I am so happy to be joining the team and I cannot wait to get started. I'm hopeful that Strictly Come Dancing will help me to improve on my daddy dancing skills. I want to make my daughter proud and no doubt she will be teaching me a pirouette or two along the way"

So Wrong. It's Wright.

I went away for the bank holiday weekend, and returned to find a whole raft of new participants have signed up for Series 12 of Strictly Come Dancing.

The list starts with more barrel-scraping. Mark Wright, best known for appearing in 'structured reality' show The Only Way Is Essex, and who also hosts Club Classics on Heart FM, has joined the line-up.

Mark said: "Doing Strictly is going to be so completely different from anything I've done before. I'm the sort of guy who loves to bust out some moves at a party but I'm certainly not a natural dancer. Any of my friends would tell you that - they call me 'Markey no-moves'! I'm genuinely petrified about dancing on national telly but Strictly is such an amazing show to be a part of and I can't wait to get stuck in and give it my all!”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Celebrity No. 4: Thom Evans

Today the next celebrity was announced for Series 12 of Strictly, ex-rugby player Thom Evans.

Rumours about Thom joining the programme first surfaced back in July. He played for Scotland and Glasgow Warriors before a neck injury prematurely ended his career. He is now a model slash actor.

He was also in a boyband called  Twen2y4Se7en, which means he should have some musicality, although it looks like it was a 'standing and looking moody' kind of boyband, rather than the 'singing and dancing' type. Here's a track called Hide.

As a man who used to wear bodyfit jerseys for a living, he's not afraid of a little Lycra: “I'm so happy to be doing the show, I cannot wait to get started. I’m really looking forward to my Strictly makeover – bring on Strictly and bring on the spandex!”

Thom Evans

Thom is the seventh rugby player to participate, and has a lot to live up to. Ben Cohen was the only rugby player to not finish in the top five (8th). But no rugby player has ever lifted the glitterball either. Matt Dawson came the closest, being beaten out by Mark Ramprakash in series 4.

Participant No 3: Alison Hammond

Following the excitement of Tuesday when the BBC announced that someone's mum was going to be on Strictly, came yesterday's announcement that they've found there is still something left at the bottom of the barrel.

The BBC have finally admitted defeat, and employed a former reality TV star in Big Brother's Alison Hammond. Alison had the honour of sharing the Big Brother house with the late Jade Goody in Series 3, back when it was on Channel 4 and people actually watched it (sorry, James!).

Alison has done other things since, some of them not even reality shows. Most notably, she works as a showbiz correspondent on This Morning. No doubt, she’s familiar with the story of how Madeley turned down Strictly 1,352 times. So, you know, it could have been worse…

I expect that the BBC are looking for ‘bubbly’ Alison to get the regional vote like Lisa Riley, which, if she’s any good at dancing, could carry her through to the second half of the series.

Alison said: “I am absolutely overjoyed to be joining the Strictly team. I am ready to immerse myself in glitter and hard work, with a dash of fun along the way!”
At least Alison has done something other than Big Brother. She probably knows her way around an autocue better than Sir Bruce. It’s better than someone off TOWIE

Monday, August 18, 2014

Second Participant Confirmed - Judy Murray

Judy Murray has been confirmed as the second participant (I refuse to say celebrity) to be confirmed for Series 12 of Strictly Come Dancing.

Judy, famous for little other than being the mother of tennis star Andy Murray, is a former tennis player herself, once being ranked eighth in the UK.

It's no secret that Judy is a fan of Strictly, and therefore she is excited about being a part of the show. She said: “I'm a huge Strictly Come Dancing fan but a total armchair dancer. It's going to be a big challenge for me and for whoever has to dance with me but I absolutely can't wait to get started!"

Judy Murray

As you may have picked up from the tone of this post, I am not especially excited about this announcement. Simply being the mother of someone famous and a fan of the show should not be enough to get you on the series.

This is nothing against Judy herself. I'm sure she is lovely, and I'm sure she will embrace everything that Strictly represents. But I believe that participants should at least have some degree of celebrity based on something they have done themselves. This is Strictly, not Celebrity Big Brother! Are they really having so much trouble signing up celebrities that they have to resort to celebrities' mothers?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Celebrity Confirmed - Frankie Bridge

The first celebrity has been confirmed. Frankie Bridge from The Saturdays will be taking part in series 12 of Strictly Come Dancing.

Frankie made the announcement on BBC Breakfast this morning.

She said: “I’m such a huge fan of Strictly! I’ve always wanted to be a part of the show – it looks like so much fun and the costumes are just gorgeous. Like so many little girls, I used to take dance lessons when I was in primary school and I really love dancing but this is going to be so different from anything I have done with The Saturdays. I just can’t wait to get started!”

I would expect Frankie to be a bit good. She has been singing and dancing since childhood, most famously in the S Club Juniors. I'm sure she will shine on the dancefloor, and should be confident and competent. At 5' 3", I would imagine that Pasha is a likely candidate to partner her. Or, as she is already popular herself, they might pair her with one of the new boys. Either way, I can't wait to see what she's got.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Robin's Out!

Strictly pro Robin Windsor has sadly had to pull out of the upcoming series of Strictly due to a back injury.

In a statement from the BBC, Robin said: "I'm devastated to have to pull out of Strictly this year due to a pre-existing back injury. It's been a really difficult decision, but I plan to focus 100% on my recovery and hope to be back in the ballroom as soon as possible, doing what I love best. In the meantime, I wish the rest of the cast and crew the best of luck with the new series which I'll be watching every week."

Robin will be replaced by a new pro - Australian Trent Whiddon. Trent of course has been in the case of Burn The Floor, and has appeared on Dancing With The Stars in Australia.

Trent said: “I am so excited to have been asked to join Strictly. It’s such an honour to be a part of the show and I can’t wait to step onto the famous Strictly dancefloor!”

Here is a clip of Trent performing in Burn The Floor.