Strictly Come Dancing.

Courtesy of thisisbigbrother.com

Courtesy of thisisbigbrother.com

It’s become a bit of a Saturday night tradition in our house this autumn, that we all sit in our pyjamas (now there’s an image) watching Strictly Come Dancing.

My girls adore Strictly, and the dark nights and cosy appeal of the fire, combined with the safety of Tess and Claudia’s familiar presentation, serve to keep them enthralled all evening.

I must admit that at this early stage of the programme, I usually find my mind wandering part way through. There are too many couples and not much of a competitive element, so I prefer it when things have warmed up a tad. Nevertheless, I enjoy the mindless reverie, the therapeutic snuggliness of autumn nights with the promise of Christmas to come, as well as the sense of family that surrounds the ethos of Strictly.

It was a hideous shock therefore to have to witness 53 year old Daniel O’Donnell pretending to be a teenager whilst strictly prancing to Summer Lovin’. What was THAT all about?

It’s a rare day that my gag reflex is induced by something on the television that does not involve gore, but my skin crawled as I watched it. And this in itself was one of the very worst bits about it, in that it made for compelling viewing. In the same hideous way that some people enjoy watching blackheads being squeezed on Youtube, I found myself unable to fully disengage from the visual and emotional disturbance that was being played out in front of me.

As for Daniel’s poor dance partner, she’s earned every penny of whatever her salary entails simply for managing not to sprint as fast her lithe legs could carry her, straight off the stage, into the nearest London cab, never to dance again.

The sight of O’Donnell, mouth hanging open in what I presume to be a heinous attempt at a Travolta cum Elvis lip curl, but more closely resembling one who had been for root canal surgery and administered with too much anaesthetic, was a sight to behold (from behind a cushion.)

The cringe factor of his hip thrusts was up there with when Cliff Richard played Heathcliff. And don’t get me started on that travesty of literary depiction. On the one hand we have Cliff, and then, on the other, a few years later, Tom Hardy. Hands up ladies, whose window would you prefer to claw at on the moors? That’s right, get lost Cliff. And whilst I’m at it, good riddance Daniel, too.

First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 27th October 2015.

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