On Saturday the nerves will be jangling for this year’s new line-up of Strictly Come Dancing. Stars including 63 year old actress Felicity Kendal and Jimi Mistry – of ‘East is East’ and ‘The Guru’ fame – will be donning their sequins and sparkles to hopefully brighten up those dark winter nights as autumn draws in.
A performance-related pay structure has been introduced so the longer stars stay in, the more they will earn, and the format will be changing slightly as presenter and awards host Claudia Winkleman will be taking over from Bruce Forsyth to present the results show on Sunday with Tess Daly. 82 year old Bruce is rightly reducing his incredible workload slightly "It's a 12-hour show and I don't know any other TV presenters who do a show like Strictly, where it stops and you have another two-hour show for the results program…I will finish about 9pm, get home in time for Match Of The Day and it turns my 12-hour day into a 10-hour day, which is much more manageable." The BBC and ITV have also been in talks and any clashes in scheduling which affected Strictly last year have been altered. The hour-long Strictly will now finish at 7.25pm and X-Factor will start at 7.45pm so there will be no overlap for at least the first month. Bossed hope this will boost audience ratings given that the last Strictly final attracted 11 million compared to the 19.1 million people who tuned into the X-Factor final.
The judging panel will remain the same for this year. Len Goodman will once again be joined by Bruno Tonioli, former winner Alesha Dixon, and Craig Revel Horwood – famed for his phrases from “fab-u-lous” and “chah chah chah” to “a total disaaaaarhster daaarling”. Given the former success of cricketers Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakesh –who won their respective series – the hopes are high for former England goalkeeper – and most capped played – Peter Shilton and rugby star Gavin Henson. Kenny Logan was among those who advised Gavin not to take part given that he is in the prime of his career so it will be interesting to see how the youngest contestant fairs.
TV presenter of BBC 1’s Blue Peter and Countryfile Matt Baker has been tipped early on by the bookies to win but he may face tough competition in the form of Destiny’s Child star Michelle Williams who is fresh from her run with Chicago on Broadway. Ann Widdecombe has described herself as “this year’s John Sergeant” and 60 year old Pamela Stephenson will also be taking a break from her role as psychologist to put on her dancing shoes. They will be joined by 72 year old magician Paul Daniels and a host of actors and actresses including Holby City star Patsy Kensit.
So if you fancy a few sparkles and some entertainment to warm the nights of winter, Strictly could be the one to watch and we will see if the bookies’ premonition is on the ball.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017