"Strictly Come Dancing" is a truly appalling, stomach-turningly awful show. It represents the very worst of modern television, the lowest form of an entertainment medium that has scraped the bottom of the barrel so many times lately that we all thought, naïvely, they couldn't do anything worse. Until they did.
Now let us be clear: it does have redeeming features. The orchestra is excellent. The dancers themselves, both the professionals and the celebrities, are magnificent. Alesha Dixon, last year's winner, is a real sweetheart. We mention her just for an excuse to include this picture …
The GOS even has nothing against John Sergeant. He's probably a much better dancer than the GOS would be if he could be arsed to try, and he seems amiable enough. His partner has managed to put up with him for several weeks without having a nervous breakdown or being sick over Bruce Forsyth. Perhaps it would have been more entertaining if she had.
Forsyth is pretty awful, of course, asinine and laboured, while his blonde sidekick appears to have the intellectual capacity of a Jaffa cake. And although the judges may once have been real experts in their field, they've succumbed to the lure of TV so much that they think the entire show is all about them, and spend all their time trying to outdo each other with their cheesy, over-the-top accolades. It's provided a measure of satisfaction that the John Sergeant affair has cast them in such a poor light.
There's been even more satisfaction to be gained from the events of the last few weeks as the audience have taken such mischievous delight in thwarting the will of the judges by voting for Sergeant however bad he was. They were having a laugh like a bunch of naughty schoolkids and boy, did the judges hate it!
But there's one thing that damns this programme for all time, in the GOS's view. It's the studio audience, and their ignorant habit of clapping in time with the music.
Now clapping in time is not in itself much of a crime. Musicians and people who have any knowledge of or appreciation of music will sometimes do it themselves, but they will almost always clap on the off-beat (that is, on the second and fourth beat of the bar in popular music which mostly has four beats to a bar). Only the musically illiterate will clap on the first and third of the bar and that, of course, is exactly what we hear ad nauseam on Strictly Come Dancing.
It starts right at the top with the opening credits, it accompanies every single piece of dancing throughout the entire show, and it plays the contestants out at the end, hundreds of people with vacant grins on their faces, heads lolling as they flap their hands together like performing seals, thinking "Look at me, I'm showing how much I'm enjoying myself!" when all the time they look and sound like a mob of witless morons. The kind of people who actually find Bruce Forsyth funny, in fact.
It's like one of those dreadful entertainments school choirs and amateur dramatic groups are forced to give in care homes, where the audience are wheeled in by Philippino ladies in lilac coveralls. We shouldn't be at all surprised if the BBC has had to recruit a whole army of minimum-wage immigrants to mop up the puddles of drool from the studio floor afterwards.
Nice to realise that's how your TV licence money is spent. It's a toss-up, really. What would you rather contribute to, Jonathan Ross's obscene salary or some Ukrainian people wiping up dribble?
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