Strictly Come Dancing returned to our screens this evening in a whirlwind of glitz and glitter. Amongst the celebrities dancing for our pleasure over the coming weeks are pop stars Will Young and Rochdale resident Anastacia, Olympians Greg Rutherford and Claudia Fragapane, model Daisy Lowe and TV presenters Louise Redknapp (formerly of girl band Eternal) and Naga Munchetty.
The opening dance showed the resident Strictly professionals in all their glory introducing multiple World and European latin and ballroom dancing champions, previous Strictly Come Dancing champions, new and exciting talent and Anton du Beke.
As the nervous contestants were introduced to their dancing partners the Strictly professionals tried their best to disguise the terror that they might be paired with one of the more rhythmically challenged celebs.
During the opening show we were treated to a short film showing the first meeting between professional dancers and nervous celebrities. It included some completely ad lib and unscripted banter from Tess and Claudia and a snapshot of rehearsals for the first group dance.
It became apparent very quickly who had natural talent which can be honed and fine tuned over the course of series 14 and who, quite frankly, doesn’t (yes, I’m looking at you Ed Balls). Once the business of who dances with who finally started, the relief on the faces of the pro’s who were partnered with one of the celebs who can actually dance was physically palpable. The new series of the eternally popular ballroom dancing show and bitch fest was underway.
The face with the most markedly fixed grin, staring sideways from the corners of his wide eyes at the producers of camera, was that of Chiswick’s own Tony Beke. Better known as the bastard love child of Bruce Forsyth and Fenella Fielding, Anton du Beke, Tony has been partnered with a few duffers in his time on Strictly. However, having made the final with tv presenter Katie Derham during series 13 it was obvious that he was hopeful of being paired with an actual dancer again this year.
As the ladies were gradually shown up to meet Claudia Winkleman with their new dancing partners Tony was still waiting. The last group arrived and there he stood, grin still in place, eyes still wide and hopeful until it became clear that it was down to the short chubby one off of Eastenders or the old one who used to be in some sitcom or other.
And then the death blow was duly dealt. Yes, ballroom stalwart Anton du Beke was paired with John Cooper-Clarke lookalike Lesley Joseph. The phrase “If looks could kill” was coined for moments such as these.
Never mind Tony, we love you, even if the producers think you’re a bit of a joke. And by “love you” I mean we think you’re a bit of a joke too. I will be collecting my winnings from the “who will Anton get” sweepstakes shortly.