Is Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC programme that has trounced many of its competitors, about to suffer a mortal blow to its ratings this autumn?
From the list of this year’s line-up just released, it is bound to leave many of its devoted fans scratching their heads and murmuring to themselves: ‘Who the hell are these people waltzing across our screens and why have they been chosen to entertain us?’
With Bruce Forsyth’s retirement I would have thought the BBC would have tried much harder to embellish their line-up with more bankable names, in order to launch this new series with some form of gravitas to make up for the absence of their master of ceremonies – who despite his age was, in my view, the star of the show.
Among the fifteen contestants, most will be familiar with Judy Murray whose main claim to fame is being the mother of the tennis champion. Although Judy is no doubt an accomplished person in her own right, I’ve never found her to be simpatico or charismatic enough to warrant her inclusion. Perhaps the show will reveal some aspects of her character that will surprise us all, but nevertheless it was a gamble I would not have taken.
As for Pixie Lott, the blonde pop star who topped the charts in 2009, she is arguably well known but probably less familiar with viewers born before the 1980s who represent the majority of the show’s audience. Miss Lott, twenty-three, is joined by a coterie of B-list actors, daytime TV presenters and minor music stars. But in general the celebrities chosen are not household names likely to uplift the series to its usual high standards or brighten our screens.
As a great devotee of Strictly I ponder whether this bunch taking part will enliven proceedings enough to compel me to eat my words and be chastised for jumping to irrational conclusions. But I can take it for I believe that unless you stick your neck out, you remain stagnant and a boring old has-been who;s afraid of his own shadow and that, I hope, I’m not.