Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 6°C

min temp: -0°C

Search

Why it’s time to get strict with Strictly

PUBLISHED: 18:49 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 23:02 14 October 2018

The 2018 Strictly couples. The series continues tonight on BBC One, with the results show on Sunday night and the behind-the-scenes show It Takes Two on weekdays    Picture: BBC/Guy Levy

The 2018 Strictly couples. The series continues tonight on BBC One, with the results show on Sunday night and the behind-the-scenes show It Takes Two on weekdays Picture: BBC/Guy Levy

WARNING: Use of this copyright image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture Service (BBC Pictures) as set out at www.bbcpictures.co.uk. In particular, this image may only be published by a registered User of BBC Pictures for editor

Five tweaks to stop the risk of this beloved and successful Saturday-night show growing stale

Pasha Kovalev and Ashley Roberts showing their skills      Picture: BBC/Guy LevyPasha Kovalev and Ashley Roberts showing their skills Picture: BBC/Guy Levy

I’m used to being a Contrary Mary in matters of popular culture but, even so, it’s a bit daunting staring 13million fans in the eyes and asking “Don’t you think you deserve something a little bit better?”

But despite my being outnumbered (vastly) the moment has come to be bold, commit the ultimate heresy and suggest we get strict with Strictly.

The BBC’s flagship light entertainment show has provided us with colourful moving wallpaper since 2004 – and, when you’re pulling audience figures in millions, why change a winning formula?

Well, you tweak it because anything that doesn’t move forward starts slipping backwards. And all those fans of Strictly Come Dancing surely want the Saturday-night sparkle to retain its lustre.

The truth is that Strictly is becoming a pastiche of itself.

It’s a harsh accusation to level as there is so much right and good about the show. It upholds the cherished Beeb tradition of top-notch production values and integrity. It’s a competition, yet underpinned by warmth and mutual respect – the kind of decency the world needs as much of as it can get. And there’s no hungry commercial imperative lurking beneath the surface, as in some other talent shows.

All that must remain. Here’s what they should tinker with.

Go compare: How can we really contrast the celebs’ skills when they’re all dancing different choreography to different film music, for example? Variety is usually something to be welcomed, but in Strictly couples should perform the same routine – so we can see who’s got it and who hasn’t. There would be no place to hide, and that should make for compelling TV.

Prune the posse: Those post-dance chats are too cosy and crowded. Ditch the gaggle of supporting dancers simpering at the camera and bring in a second interviewer to ruffle a few feathers by playing bad cop to Claudia Winkleman’s good cop. Someone like Chris Packham would do nicely.

Grit, not glib: The filmed inserts of contestants learning routines in the dance studio have become too polished and superficial, and invariably end with a cliché. I want to know what it’s really like waking up with rock-hard calf muscles the next morning and how you treat them; how celebs dovetail practice sessions with normal life; how they cope when the physical effort turns them into mental zombies; how it creates pressure because they’re not around for their children because the timetable of life has changed…

DON’T MISS: Strictly - a sparkle of sunshine in an otherwise drab world

Strictly Come Dancing couple Camilla Dallerup and Ian Waite gave a dancing display outside the Forum, Norwich, in 2006.     
Picture: Nick ButcherStrictly Come Dancing couple Camilla Dallerup and Ian Waite gave a dancing display outside the Forum, Norwich, in 2006. Picture: Nick Butcher

Crank-up the cast: It can’t be easy to secure a cracking list of celebs series after series, but the show’s success rests on the quality and character of its contestants. We need more light and shade, because it’s the differences between people that create that sense of drama.

Power-up the panel: On balance, the make-up of the judging panel has remained remarkably stable over 14 years… and the panel’s “performances” are, as a result, predictable and often pantomimey. Viewers do like to anticipate what they know is coming, but a shake-up is due. Let’s rest one of them and bring in a new voice. (Who would you nominate?)

And: Let’s have one of the judges visiting each practice session and offering advice to the couple. That surely would be enlightening to watch.

All this isn’t a revolution but a gentle adjustment designed to stop Strictly growing stale and keep a spring in its step as it keeps on dancing. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

A substance misuse service for people across Suffolk has been rated ‘good’ by health inspectors.

Suffolk’s primary schools have seen a boost in their Key Stage 2 results - although the county is still behind the national average.

Two defendants accused of murdering Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens allegedly showed no reaction when they were told he had died, a court has heard.

An ex-housing support centre in Ipswich will be revitalised to provide 47 rooms in the town after the borough council approved plans for a new development.

Burglars who broke into the St Elizabeth Hospice charity shop in Ipswich stole around £300.

Three of the defendants accused of murdering Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens were allegedly seen together in the town centre two hours after the attack, a court heard.

A commercial parking enforcement company has been criticised for fining lorry drivers trying to serve customers at a distribution park - with claims it is being “unethical” and operating a “mafia-style protection racket”.

Colchester Zoo announced the death of one of their beloved residents yesterday. Readers took to social media to express their condolences.

Today the luxury candle market is booming, and while it’s still dominated by giants like Yankee Candle, which takes up 46% of the market, a number of smaller firms are lighting up the sector too - especially in the festive season.

Households in Suffolk could see council tax bills rise by 4.7% next year if the county’s local authorities and police do as the government suggests in its local government settlement.

Most read

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24