COMMENT: Strictly Farcical29th October 2012
Strictly Come Dancing is back for its tenth season on BBC, but why is it proving to be such an entertainment ‘disaster, darling’?
Beginning in 2004, this series came back to life with a blast, relaunching the original 1949 ‘Come Dancing’ version; one of television’s longest running shows. Since then, each year has managed to provide a celebrity spectacular, wowing its TV audiences.
The series reignited its education of Latin and Ballroom dancing by utilising celebrities to attract a new, perhaps youthful, audience. But it is my concern that the original philosophy of the show has been compromised too much by a distasteful ‘theme week’ entertainment; a superfluous addition to the shows integrity. This can be highlighted by this weekend’s ‘Halloween’ show. Dani and Vincent dancing to Scooby-Doo, Victorian and Brendan dressed in some ridiculous living-dead outfits, and Denise and partner James evoking circus freaks? This has gone too far. The show should not be about creating some tacky pantomime, instead, it should be about dancing, which the show is failing to address significantly. A similar kind of cheap entertainment can be seen on ITV’s X Factor, which questions the originality and longevity of its acts.
As a kid, I used to Latin and Ballroom dance every week. Being from Blackpool it seemed apt, with the Tower Ballroom only a stone’s throw away. The magnificence of this ballroom has a magical quality to it, encrusted in its decorative golden surfaces, and the twinkling chandeliers; like a musical box where charm is brought back to life. It is a rare jewel steeped in history and narrative. Over the past couple of weeks, I have taken regular visits to sit and watch the glamour and romance that space offers. There is a sense of naughtiness through expressions of the elderly dancers who come to reminisce whilst eating their cream teas. Here the entertainment, or theatre, comes alive through dance, and not absurd costumes or farcical routines.
But even this World famous Tower Ballroom, which used to host the season’s final, is no longer the case. The show’s bosses have decided not to screen this year’s finale at the centre of dance splendour. While the Strictly bosses keep a tight grasp on BBC budgets, this puts into question other flops for the BBC, such as the £22 million spent to secure The Voice.
Strictly has had its fair share of controversies throughout its history of the show. A major public outrage of disappointment came in 2009 when judge Arlene Phillips, a highly respected choreographer, was axed from the show. It was at this point in the shows history a definite sign of change was coming; change not for the better. With this in mind, it is understandable that the BBC has provoked strong criticism from its loyal viewers. Shows bosses have a duty to their audience, and it is my feeling that this is being sacrificed. Why can’t they see that a shows entertainment will come from quality, and not a ridiculous pantomime?
As an advocate of both quality and integrity, I urge the bosses at BBC to reconsider the fundamental philosophy of this show. If you want to maintain the credibility of longevity and success, then you need to urgently re-address the formula of the show. Step to it, quick quick slow.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.