WHEN I read the grovelling apology issued by Craig Revel Horwood to Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley after the filming of Strictly Come Dancing’s first episode, I was convinced something truly offensive must have gone down.
“I’m deeply sorry for the offence caused to Kevin and Stacey and everyone who works on the show,” the show’s former Mr Nasty whimpered in a statement to The Sun on Sunday. “I recognise that what I said was hurtful, cruel and incredibly disrespectful. It was a huge error of judgment that I very much regret.”
My goodness, this must surely be worse than when Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross made those prank calls to Andrew Sachs.
Had Craig revealed during filming just how many of his former dance partners’ relationships Kevin has REALLY broken up?
Or maybe he had finally done the unthinkable for a BBC star and acknowledged that Ms Dooley doesn’t have the qualifications or experience to be described as a journalist?
Nope, nothing like that.
Craig had made the quip about Stacey sleeping with her dance partner Kevin[/caption]
Joking to presenter Tess Daly while giving advice to this year’s crop of Strictly stars in waiting, Craig quipped: “Of course, if you sleep with your dance partner that helps . . . ”
So a man who became popular and famous because of his waspish sense of humour was forced into a humiliating dressing-down for making a spiky but very funny joke.
After all, the entire country knows by now that the gruesome twosome have spent a lot of time doing the horizontal tango, although they claim it took place after they won.
It is yet another example of the apology overload culture sweeping the entertainment industry.
Craig, a man who became popular and famous because of his waspish sense of humour, was forced into a humiliating dressing-down for making a spiky but very funny joke about Stacey and Kevin[/caption]
Obviously it’s important to be fair and truthful and kind to people on TV, just like all areas of society, especially when producers are putting potentially vulnerable people on air. But a healthy balance has to be struck.
If I were Craig, the message I would take from such an immediate over- reaction is obvious: The BBC don’t want me to make any on-the-nose jokes any more – play it safe, don’t offend at any cost.
And that’s why we get bland programming lacking even the slightest edge.
In the past, being a pantomime villain on TV shows was highly valued by broadcasters. Simon Cowell became one of the most powerful and famous men in the world thanks to that approach.
But Jason Gardiner’s swift exit from the newly revived Dancing On Ice – a few months after he called Gemma Collins a refrigerator – provides a stark warning.
Simon Cowell has plumped for two separate versions of the X Factor – both featuring people we already know[/caption]
Rather than the usual version of X Factor, that searches to find a new star from members of the public, Cowell has plumped for two separate versions of the show – both featuring people we already know.
There’s a celebrity version of the show featuring ex-Love Islanders, ditched Strictly judge Brendan Cole and Vinnie Jones competing for a record contract with Syco.
That will be followed by an all-stars version with X Factor singers we remember from the past like Matt Cardle.
It’s understandable he would want to do this, given the pressure on producers, now, relating to contestant welfare.
However, I’m genuinely worried about a scenario where we will start to see fewer members of the public on telly.
Mike Thalassitis’ tragic suicide was quickly pinned on the show – but that couldn’t be further from the truth[/caption]
This week former Love Island contestants appeared at the DCMS select committee inquiry into reality TV.
I have a very personal viewpoint on this.
The late Mike Thalassitis was a friend of mine. He found fame as “Muggy Mike” on Love Island, where he became an overnight star and the subject of media and commercial interest.
His tragic suicide was quickly pinned on the show – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Jason Gardiner’s swift exit from the newly revived Dancing On Ice – a few months after he called Gemma Collins a refrigerator – provides a stark warning for the likes of Craig[/caption]
I once asked Mike if he had been at all affected emotionally by being called Muggy wherever he went.
He shook his head, laughed and quickly told me the opposite was true.
In fact, Mike credited his famous tagline for giving him opportunities, both personal and financial, that he could have only dreamed of in his previous career as a semi-pro footballer.
Of course, anyone in the media should be conscious of mental-health issues when casting or making a show.
But to come to conclusions about the entire industry, based on three isolated and very tragic cases, is wrong.
Craig Revel Horwood could be lucky to still be on air by this time next year[/caption]
If we stop putting ordinary folk on TV there would be no Harry Styles – a 16-year-old X Factor auditionee turned multi-millionaire heartthrob.
Or Susan Boyle – the Scottish spinster initially laughed at by the BGT audience, who ended up living the showbiz fairytale.
And with the type of woke censorship and sense-of- humour failure currently in place at the Beeb, Craig Revel Horwood will be lucky to still be on air by this time next year – and Strictly would be poorer for it.