Strictly Come Blogging

Louise. Lou. Loulabelle. Loulabelle44. Louby.
Proudly blogging about Strictly Come Dancing ALL YEAR ROUND since 2006. Always spoiler-free.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Celebrity No. 9: Susan Calman

The ninth celebrity for this year's Strictly Come Dancing is comedian Susan Calman.

Susan is a fan of the show (yay!) and joked on Jeremy Vine's show that her mother will be able to die happy, having finally seen her daughter in sequins and a dress.

She also said: "Being on Strictly is a dream come true. Finally I can reveal the moves I have been practicing in my kitchen to the nation. I am an enthusiastic home dancer and now Saturday nights I'll be dancing in other people's homes in a (hopefully) entertaining way. I am terrified but excited to start my Strictly journey."

I like Susan, and I like this signing. I think she'll throw herself in and give it a go. Not sure she'll be any good, though. And I'm not sure she's well-known enough to have much of a fan-base. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see her lasting that long.

Celebrity No. 8: Aston Merrygold

Former JLS singer Aston Merrygold was announced yesterday as the eighth celebrity for this year's Strictly Come Dancing.

Aston was a guest on Scott Mills' show on BBC Radio 1 yesterday, and was clear about his objective: "The aim is to win."

He also said: “I’m so happy to be joining Strictly 2017, it is such a brilliant show and I’ve followed it for years. I’m both nervous and excited to learn from the professionals about a whole new way of dancing!”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, within minutes there were shouts of 'ringer' on Twitter. It's true that, at least on paper, Aston should be capable on the dancefloor. He was a judge on Sky 1's Got To Dance, which means he knows a thing or two about dancing, and can be critical and analytical. He should be able to see and correct his own imperfections.

It will be interesting to see how he gets on.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Celebrity No. 7: Simon Rimmer

Sunday Brunch co-host Simon Rimmer is joining Strictly Come Dancing.

Chef Simon will be hoping to cook up something good on the dancefloor (sorry for the terrible pun - I've been watching this show too long!). He'll be following a long line of chefs which includes James Martin, Gary Rhodes and Ainsley Harriot.

Simon said: “I am so excited, terrified and proud to be invited to be part of Strictly 2017. I've always been a HUUUUGE fan of the show. When I put on my sequins and hit the floor it will genuinely be my very first time dancing ballroom and latin. Nobody will try harder, have more fun or get more out of it than me. I can't wait.”

I like Simon, but I can't see him as a dancer. I hope he gets time to prove me wrong.

Celebrity No. 6: Joe McFadden

Soap actor Joe McFadden has joined the line-up for Strictly Come Dancing.

Joe has been in Holby City and Heartbeat. He's also appeared in other soaps, and has worked in musical theatre.

He said: Strictly is one of the biggest, most entertaining shows on TV and being asked to be part of it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m thrilled and terrified about in equal measures!”

I have literally no idea who Joe is. I've never seen him before. I'm guessing that with a background in musicals, he'll be able to learn choreography and should do OK.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Celebrity No. 5: Rev. Richard Coles

Reverend Richard Coles was announced this morning as the fifth celebrity to be participating on Strictly. The announcement came on Chris Evans' show on BBC Radio 2, where Richard is a regular contributor.

If you're as old as me, you'll remember Richard from '80s duo The Communards with Jimmy Somerville. He became a reverend in 2005, and returned to the media spotlight through appearances on Have I Got News For You and other shows. He co-presents Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4.

Richard said: “Cometh the hour, cometh the overweight Vicar with arthritis in his knees.”

I am genuinely excited about Richard's signing. He's funny, genuine and a pleasure to listen to. I'm not sure that he'll be the greatest mover - he admitted to Chris Evans that God didn't bless him with dance ability - but I think he'll be a fan favourite. He'll be a nice antidote to all of the pretty pop stars and soap actors.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Celebrity No. 4: Gemma Atkinson

Soap actress Gemma Atkinson was announced this morning as the forth celebrity to be participating in this year's Strictly Come Dancing.

Gemma is best-known for playing Lisa Hunter in Hollyoaks, and has also been in Coronation Street and Casualty.

Gemma said: “I am honoured to be asked and so thrilled to be joining Strictly Come Dancing 2017! I'm beyond excited and incredibly nervous but I am looking forward to learning a new skill in ballroom and latin dancing and taking on this new challenge.”

I haven't watched soaps for a long, long time, so soap stars are always a bit of a mystery for me. But last year I had never heard of Danny Mac, and he ended up being one of my favourite of last year, and is up there with my favourites of all time.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Celebrity No. 3: Ruth Langsford

Congratulations to Strictly fan Ruth Langsford, who has finally made it on to the show. 

Ruth was announced as the third celebrity on today's This Morning

Ruth said: “I have dreamt about doing Strictly for so long, I can't quite believe my dream has come true! The sum of my dance experience is throwing a few shapes at a party, I've never had a dance lesson in my life. Without doubt it will be the scariest yet most exciting thing I've ever done. It'll be a welcome change worrying about my next hot move instead of my next hot flush!”

I'm really thrilled for Ruth. I love it when genuine fans of the show get to be on it. I know she's going to love it. I hope she does really well.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Celebrity No. 2: Davood Ghadami

EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami was announced this morning as the second celebrity taking part in Strictly Come Dancing.

Davood has been on the soap since 2014. I haven't watched it in a long, long, time, so I am not familiar with him or his character. But does that really matter? It certainly doesn't to me. In six weeks or so, I will almost certainly have an opinion about him.

He said in a statement: “Having the opportunity to take part in this year’s Strictly is such an honour. It’s going to be exciting, challenging and terrifying all at once and I am so looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to dance. See you under the Glitterball!"

Monday, August 07, 2017

Celebrity No. 1: Mollie King

Time to get on board the merry-go-round again! Celebrity announcements are go!

The first celebrity for Strictly Come Dancing 2017 has been announced as Mollie King from girl group The Saturdays.

The news was announced by Nick Grimshaw just after 8am this morning, and Mollie joined him to talk about being a part of the show, telling him she's looking forward to spray tans and wearing pink, and hopes that Craig isn't too mean. She did make a point of saying that she didn't go to stage school. 

I'm sure Mollie will be great. She's musical which is a great starting point, and although that doesn't necessarily translate to fluidity of movement, most music stars have done well. The only music performer to be eliminated first was Goldie, and it's not like he was from a boyband.

Can she get as far as her bandmate from The Saturdays, Frankie Bridge, who was a runner-up in 2014 with Kevin 'Always The Bridesmaid' Clifton?

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Welcome Baby Bella!

Aliona Vilani has done a photoshoot with Hello! magazine to introduce her baby daughter Bella, who was born on 10th June.

She told the magazine: "I feel so lucky. We genuinely feel so blessed and happy. We got lucky. She's very chilled. Vincent [Kavanah, Aliona's husband] is, too – as am I when I'm not working. They say a baby is often more calm if the parents are, too."

Read more of the interview in the latest issue of Hello!.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Congratulations, Ian!

Congratulations to former Strictly pro Ian Waite, who married his partner Drew Merriman recently.

The wedding features in the current issue of Hello! magazine, and some of the photos are on the website.

The wedding was attended by a whole host of Ian's Strictly friends, past and present, as you can see from the photo above.

Latest Rumours: Ross Kemp And Mollie King

Former EastEnders actor Ross Kemp and Saturdays singer Mollie King are the latest names to be linked to Strictly.

The Daily Express reports that Ross hinted that he might do Strictly in a interview with the Daily Star. He said: “I love Strictly Come Dancing. I have been asked before. I was going to do it. Then I got home from Camp Bastion after being shot at and thought, ‘No, don’t be so silly’".

But now he may be reconsidering: “I’ll never say never to anything... You know what, in life, particularly if you work in television, who knows? Never rule out anything!”

The Sun reports that Mollie King has already signed up: “Mollie is all signed up and will be this year’s Strictly babe. She’s a talented performer because of all her experience with The Saturdays and her solo career — so she’s someone who is very likely to make it to the final rounds. Producers loved the sex appeal and performance skills of Daisy [Lowe] last year and believe Mollie offers the same. She’s also very well connected and has a lot of celebrity friends who will attend filming each week.”

The first participant in Strictly 2017 will reportedly be announced tomorrow.

Janette & Aljaž's Wedding

There are some gorgeous photos, and a lengthy article and interview, from Janette & Aljaž's wedding in the current issue of OK! magazine.

Well worth a read.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Jonnie Peacock For Strictly?

According to the Daily Mail, Team GB Paralympian Jonnie Peacock is being courted for Strictly, although typically there is not even an anonymous source to verify the story. Pure speculation.

Jonnie won Gold in the 100m in 2012 and 2016, and became one of the best-known atheletes in British para sports.

I kind of hope it's true. I think Jonnie would be great. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Judges' Pay

A lot has been made over the past week about the salaries of high-profile BBC talent, and about the gender pay gap. But the BBC's Annex to the BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17, which revealed the figures, threw up some interesting questions regarding Strictly.

According to BARB, Strictly was second only to The Great British Bake-Off in viewing figures (which also happens to be presented by two women!). The final of Strictly was the highest-rating episode, with an average of 13.3m viewers. 

Admittedly, Strictly is only on air for three months - some of the presenters on the list work daily for most of the year - but for such a high-rating show, is it fair that Tess Daly is only paid £350-£400k? Claudia Winkleman earns £$50-500k, but this includes other work such as radio, not just Strictly.

It Takes Two host Zoe Ball earns between £250-300k, again including radio and other work.

What's more of a mystery to me is the difference between the pay of the judges. As far as I can see, they do exactly the same amount of work, and yet Len and Bruno get paid more than Craig and Darcey. Len and Bruno earn £200-250k, while Craig and Darcey earn £150-£200k. I really can't understand this at all. Even if you wanted to argue that Darcey is less experienced (which would be ridiculous anyway), Craig has been with the show since day 1, and therefore should be earning exactly the same, surely.