Strictly Come Dancing’s pairing ceremony is like the NFL draft for Z-list celebrities — where nothing and everything happened

Strictly Come Dancing’s pairing ceremony is like the NFL draft for Z-list celebrities — where nothing and everything happened

- in Usa News

WEEK one of Strictly Come Dancing and viewers already have an answer to Tess Daly’s question: “What sort of judge will Motsi Mabuse be?” A top-heavy one, by the looks of her.

’Cos she is stacked like the Orkneys, bless her, and goodness only knows how Motsi became German champion three times in a row. But talk about vorsprung durch technik. They are quite a distraction.

PA:Press Association

Strictly Come Dancing’s pairing ceremony on Saturday was our first look at new judge Motsi Mabuse (L-R Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli)[/caption]

According to my notes, though, Motsi’s also: “Hoping to give them a bit more encouragement. It’s a tough journey and blah blah blah.”

So, aside from being hopelessly compromised by the presence of her contestant sister, Oti, it was situation normal at Strictly’s pairing ceremony, which was a bit like the NFL draft for Z-list celebrities. Nothing happened and yet everything happened.

An occasion that actually asks quite a lot of the contestants, who have to feign wild enthusiasm for the announcement of their partner, no matter who they get.

Levels of sincerity varied on Saturday.

Dear old Anton Du Beke looked genuinely delighted to be paired with the dance-trained Emma “Honey” Barton off EastEnders and avoid the Anneka Rice bullet.

Anton Du Beke looked delighted to be paired with EastEnders’ Emma ‘Honey’ Barton
WARNING: Use of this image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture

While BBC pundit Alex Scott resorted to the pat footballer’s response: “I’m over the moon,” to avoid saying anything too specific about how she really felt about Neil Jones, and Giovanni Pernice wasn’t fooling anyone with his fist pumps for landing Michelle Visage (real name Michelle Shupack).

Before we even got to that stage, though, viewers had the almost as tricky task of identifying this year’s celebrities, who came with some pretty desperate pleadings.

“You may know me from being a CBBC presenter.” No.

“You may have seen me on BBC’s Animal Park.” No.

“People may have seen me cooking on Saturday morning TV.” Yeah, and they may have seen aliens doing a conga down Falkirk High Street at closing time, Viscountess Emma Weymouth, but I haven’t and I’m supposed to be doing this stuff professionally.

It’s the height of arrogance, of course, for the BBC to serve up such an anonymous line-up on its biggest show and, one day, it will bite them on the backside.


At the moment, though, a certain level of complacency is probably justified, because I’m pretty sure I said the same thing about Seann Walsh last year, and he turned out to be one of the most talked-about bookings in Strictly history.

As unimaginative as these new bookings are, there’s also the tantalising prospect of some serious dancing stiffs among that line-up, particularly from the blokes.

Mike Bushell said he liked  jumping up and down to Faithless – does he mean WITH Faithless… Katya Jones?
WARNING: Use of this image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture

My expectations are especially high/low for Mike Bushell, Chris Ramsey, the ping-pong bloke and rower James Cracknell, who’s “got Luba” (warm hands before applying), but is already being talked about by the presenters in terms that wouldn’t have flattered Professor Stephen Hawking.

“He’s used to sitting down.”

All of which, you may have noticed, ignores the real elephant in the room at Saturday’s pairing ceremony, who was teed up perfectly when Mike Bushell laid out his dance credentials.

“I like jumping up and down to Faithless.”

Well, today’s you’re lucky day, Michael. You’re going to be jumping up and down WITH Faithless.

“It’s Katya!”

And may that be a lesson you’ll never forget, young lady.

Great TV lies and delusions of the week

DIVA Forever, cosmetic surgeon Dr Ourian to Gemma Collins: “You are already gorgeous and you’re going to be even more beautiful.”

Celebs On The Farm, Caprice: “We need to encourage Arg.”

Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan: “Mickey (Rourke), it’s great to see you in such great shape.”

And please send flowers and tributes if Piers ever thinks Mickey looks “a bit off colour”.

Scent mad by GC

HAVING almost run out of people to offend, patronise and revolt in Los Angeles, it was time for Gemma Collins to choose a fragrance for her new brand of perfume on last week’s final episode of ITVBe’s Diva Forever.

Something to reflect her “personality” was the instruction.

Gemma Collins was choosing a fragrance for her new brand of perfume on Diva Forever – shame Novichok is ruled out

But with Novichok now on the proscribed list, it looked like being a long old haul as she road- tested a few of the alternatives supplied by her visibly horrified US agent.

“Nah, car air ­freshener,” said Gemma, pulling a face at the first one.

“And this one’s got something that makes me feel sick.”
Bingo! A much quicker process than you’d think then, which (sort of) meant Gemma had time to attend the Hollywood premiere of Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, where Her Ladyship didn’t quite get the level of recognition she was expecting.

“They don’t know who I am,” she bellowed. “You have to explain who I am. The GC.”

Ladies and gentlemen of the US press, meet Godzilla’s Cousin.



Minty mounds at zoo

THOSE eye-watering meatballs Neil “Razor” Ruddock served up for London Zoo staff last week have already passed into Celebrity MasterChef legend, but probably not out of the systems of anyone who ate them.

The size and consistency of hand grenades, they were. And one of the keepers should probably have checked the elephant house, just to see if the bulls were missing anything.

Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock’s meatballs may have passed into Celebrity MasterChef legend but probably not out of the systems of anyone who ate them
WARNING: Use of this image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture

They were definitely the culinary highlight of the week though, on a show that always stands or falls on the quality of the bookings.

Last week it stood thanks to Razor, Joey Essex and dear old Zandra Rhodes, 78, who now occupies the same DNA space as a Barry Humphries impression of Su Pollard.

A lot of the camera’s attention, of course, was focused on Joey, who was funny here in a way he’s really not on a lot of other shows, probably because so much of his food was “dense”, “thick” and “simple”.

The real danger to life and limb, however, was Zandra, who’s deaf as an egg whisk and absolutely lethal with a 3ft-long kebab skewer in her hands, which may or may not have explained a slight edge to the commentary.

“On the red team, Zandra and Oti are preparing the trout for the smoker.”

A bit harsh. Plenty of life left in the old girl.

Quiz show dough balls of the week

TIPPING Point, Ben Shephard: “In 1955, which British Prime Minister resigned and was replaced by Anthony Eden?”

Keisha: “John Major.”

Ben Shephard: “What relation to you is the daughter of your aunt?”

Martin: “Sister.”

Lucky Stars, Ben Shephard: “Which cereal grain is the main ingredient in sushi?”

Kimberly Wyatt: “Seaweed.”

And The Chase, Bradley Walsh: “In 565AD a man is said to have been attacked by what Scottish monster?”

Rosie: “Giants.”

No. Kenny Burns.


This week’s winner is Nigel Mansell and Grandmaster Glitch, from The Go Jetters
News Group Newspapers Ltd
  • Sent in by George Dyer.
  • Picture research by Amy Reading.


    INCIDENTALLY, if you’re wondering what the correct term is for a schedule featuring Arg on Sink Or Swim, Diva Forever, The Crystal Maze and Celebs On The Farm, it’s Arg-ageddon.

Random TV irritations

DEAR old Auntie actually sounding proud of the fact, “Gemma Collins is now at the BBC”.

Anyone who thinks 40 years of politicians shouting “let me just finish” on Question Time is a cause for celebration.

Good Morning Britain’s human anaconda, Piers Morgan, almost dislocating his jaw at the thought of swallowing British Airways’ eight-course tasting menu.

Britain’s Got Talent’s Wembley Arena audience voting for the best sob story (MerseyGirls) instead of the best act (Paul Zerdin).

And Brazilian knife thrower Alfredo Silva announcing he’d split from wife Anna, then ruining everything by revealing he’d dropped her from the act as well. Just as things might have got interesting.

  • Compiled by Graham Wray


Stable condition

IN place of the scheduled ten-paragraph review of Channel 5’s Celebs On The Farm, there now follows a six-word statement from Caprice at the stables.
“Oh God, this is pure s***.”

  • Compiled by Graham Wray

TV Gold

TREASURE Island’s cash-snaffling bounder Lord Ivar Mountbatten already looking like the most inspired reality show booking of the year.

Russell Crowe’s stunning transformation on Sky Atlantic’s brilliant The Loudest Voice. Lost Voice Guy’s drooling emoji getting a genuine belly laugh, rather than the sympathetic variety that normally greets Britain’s Got Talent comedians.

And the final episode of Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, where the overwhelming sense of peace, calm and friendship is only enhanced by the knowledge the BBC’s best show ticks none of its precious and idiotic boxes.

  • Compiled by Graham Wray

Great Sporting Insights

SHANE Warne: “As a commentator I was told two things. One, don’t tell me what I can see. And three, take me out to the middle.”

Matt Murray: “It looked a really bad injury when Bloomfield was stretchered on.”

Lewis Hamilton: “At Mercedes you’re in the family for life. So long as you stay with them.”

  • Compiled by Graham Wray

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