As a great fan of Strictly Come Dancing, I was very sorry to hear that Sir Bruce Forsyth has decided at long last to step down from the show after a decade.
I can understand his decision as he was already feeling the strain at the age of eighty-six, and was fluffing some of his lines with his usual élan.
The public nevertheless loved him and he will be sorely missed.
However, the announcement by the BBC that Claudia Winkleman is to join Tess Daly as the pair to host the show comes as no surprise. They were widely expected to land the slot after impressing viewers with their performances in the weekly results show, and during Sir Bruce’s absences.
The pair will take over in the autumn when the series returns with Daly switching to Sir Bruce’s role of introducing each of the dancers and asking the judges about their reactions.
Winkleman, who will be upstairs hosting the post-dance interviews, said: ‘I have loved Strictly since the second it appeared on our screens and I’m honoured and thrilled to now be part of the Saturday night team. Working alongside Tess is always fantastic and I can’t wait to spend the weekends with her, our amazing dancers and the greatest judging panel on the planet.’
Daly, on the other hand, said: ‘I’m so pleased that I’ll be working with Claudia – she’s long been part of the Strictly family and I’ve loved doing the Sunday show with her. It’s really exciting having two women host the show, and we are great mates so there’ll be lots of fun to be had – and, of course, I’ll look forward to being reunited with Brucie for the Children in Need and Christmas shows.’
It’s all very well to cast two women who each in her own right is a successful television personality, but the strength of Strictly built over the years was the affinity that existed between Sir Bruce and Tess Daly – who frolicked and had the kind of frisson that the public was entranced by.
It is unlikely that the two women will generate a similar relationship to delight the audience in the same vein.
To achieve this, it needs the sexual banter that often manifests itself between man and woman to galvanise the whole sensual atmosphere of the show.
It’s a bold step that the BBC has taken and I sincerely hope it will work. I will be more than happy to eat my words and still feel the better for it if the show triumphs despite my reservations.