Strictly Come Dancing – Halloween


It’s the best night of the Strictly competition, and for all of you who play Strictly bingo, a slug of gin is compulsory every time:

  • Len says “that was no trick, that was a TREAT!” (and variations thereof)
  • Len makes reference to someone’s dancing being so bad/good “it’s scary”
  • Len shouting “that was devilishly good/bad!”
  • Len says “you haven’t a ghost of a chance”

Anyway, we kicked off with a passable paso (see what I did there) from Anton and Katy.  They danced to ‘Phantom Of The Opera’, a musical I saw decades ago and left half way through because I was so bored.  The judges hated it but Anton said “well next week we’re dancing a Quickstep and they’ll love it!” Confidence, much?

Kirsty and Brendan danced the Charleston to ‘Bad Romance’ by Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox; it was pretty much as bad as anything I have seen on a dance floor, and I speak as a woman who learned Irish dancing with a boy called Adrian who had a club foot.

Jeremy and Karen danced the Salsa to ‘Thriller’ by (who else) Michael Jackson. It was a salsa in name only, as he hardly danced a step, and we had to endure Len sniping “It wasn’t super and it wasn’t natural” (drink everyone) but Jezza threw himself into it and it was hugely enjoyable nonetheless.  Anita and Gleb danced the Waltz to the suitably odd ‘Once Upon A Dream’ by Lana Del Rey and it was boringly proficient.  Gleb is very good at hogging the limelight which I don’t mind because he’s very easy on the eye, but I can imagine might annoy Anita somewhat.  “Ar don’t wanna be glib, Gleb,” smirked Len, who practically expired with delight at his own cleverness, “but ar didn’t know wot woz going on!”

Next up came Jamelia and Tristan, who danced the Jive to ‘The Time Warp’ from, obviously, the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  She was as flat-footed as a duck with bunions and Len was on hand to deliver the line he’d been practising all week: “It was a bit rocky, burrit wozzent a HORROR!”

Jay and Aliona dancing the American Smooth to ‘Lil Red Riding Hood’ by Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs.  It was unbelievably elegant and the judges loved it.  Her off EastEnders danced the Paso to the Glee Cast version of ‘Schools Out’, with about five seconds of Hedwig’s Theme by John Williams at the beginning to explain the sub-Harry Potter costumes. “Will they ENCHANT the judges?” enquired Tess, unable to suppress a shudder at the terrible lines she is forced to speak.  When she’s finished murdering her stylist she should head for the script writer.  It was all a bit random and messy.

Carol and Pasha danced a Rumba to ‘I Think I Love You’ by The Partridge Family.  It was as much like a Rumba as a bottle of port is like a trampoline, and because I like Carol the kindest thing I can do is to draw a veil over the whole proceedings. A very thick, very heavy veil.

Georgia and Giovanni the sweating Sicilian danced the Tango to Ghostbusters. Dressed like Mussolini’s office staff for no apparent reason, they were terrific. The judges adored it; Giovanni’s eyeliner ran down his face in gratitude whilst his partner bounced up and down and made a noise like a hamster in a blender.

Peter Andre and Janette danced the Foxtrot to ‘Ghost’ by Ella Henderson. Maintaining the dictator theme, Peter was dressed as Castro after a particularly vicious bar brawl; he gave a somewhat anodyne performance.  “For me, performing is for life,” he confided to Tess, worrying news for anyone who hoped he might retire.

Finally, it was Helen George and Aljaz, who danced the Samba to ‘Take Your Mama’ by Scissor Sisters.  “Helen’s in ‘Call The Midwife’, so she knows all about MUMMIES!” shrieked Tess, who at least had the grace to look embarrassed. Seriously, who writes this shit?  Len (who else) pronounced Helen “a yummy mummy!” Oh, they were dressed as mummies, in case you hadn’t realised.

Next week, get ready for all of them quacking on about wanting to get to Blackpool. Like anyone really wants to go there.


Strictly Come Dancing – week five


It was an interesting week for many reasons, not least of which was that Tess had finally cracked and murdered her stylist.  We knew this because she wore a rather lovely dress and her hair looked nice.   No sign of any plain clothes policemen in the audience, but then there wouldn’t be, would there? No. An arrest however is imminent.  Take my word for it.

Georgia May Foote danced a decent salsa.  “That woz so good arm gonna change your name to Georgia May HIP!” shrieked Len, keen to get his famed word play into gear early in the proceedings.   Lovely Carol Kirkwood danced the Viennese Waltz, which requires lots of spins.  Pasha prepared for this by taking Carol on lots of spinning rides at a theme park. I’d  have gone for extra training myself, but Strictly Law is that we must endure terrible VTs before every dance. Carol looked terrified and her spare arm seemed to belong to someone else – possibly a farm worker wielding a shovel.

Anita and Gleb danced the Tango to Temper Trap’s ‘Sweet Disposition’ which was a rubbish choice of music because all the drama – and Anita was good – went for nothing, and the make-up team had given her Ming The Merciless of Mongo eyebrows, but the judges loved it so clearly I know nothing and I don’t know why I’m bothering to write this.

Peter Andre danced the rumba to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud, which is, I believe, 2015’s ultimate first wedding dance for everyone without an imagination.  It was, to my mind, utterly sexless, but then I think Pete is the human equivalent of a Shirley Temple cocktail; looks great, but no chance of getting drunk on it, so what’s the point?   Next up strode angry Kirsty Gallacher, a woman who believes herself to be a much better dancer than she is and as a result is furious every week when she doesn’t get better marks.  She wore a dress like a piece of satsuma peel dipped in glitter and took half an hour to get down the stairs, but gave a pretty decent account of herself once on the dance floor proper.  “Vat is wivvart dart your best dance!” declared Len, and Kirsty agreed loudly if not entirely modestly. We’ve all been at school with someone like Kirsty, haven’t we, children?

Ainsley and Natalie danced the Jive to ‘Shake Rattle and Roll’ by Bill Haley and the Comets because pots and pans (geddit?). It was as camp as Christmas, he was as flat-footed as a camel and the judges hated it, but I thought it enormous fun so shut up Craig.

Jamelia and Tristan danced the Foxtrot to Celine Dion’s ‘Because You Loved Me’, a song so terrible it makes me want to use a rusty spoon to remove my eyeball and feed it to a dog. The routine began with a load of tedious shizz about horses and carriages in Central Park, and I didn’t see anymore of her dance because I was battling with a recalcitrant wine bottle cork, but the judges told her she was crap (illegal lifts, wrong footwork blah blah) so do with that information what you will.

Next up, Anton and Katie danced the salsa.  Anton was dressed as a 1970s’ sales rep in a beige suit and Hawaiian shirt, and declared the routine would be “hot and spicy”. Latin is not Katie’s, or Anton’s for that matter, strong suit, so they were pretty dreadful, which was a shame as Katie is probably as competitive as Kirsty but at least has the grace to hide it.

Jezza Vine danced the waltz; horrible gapping, lifeless topline and all the lyricism and panache of Judy Murray, but he’s game and takes his criticism well, so I like him. Craig awarded him three points, Len six.  Len is an idiot.

Helen “Call The Midwife” George was next.  Helen is my little niece Lauren’s favourite, perhaps because they are both blonde, tiny and sweet, so for her sake I hoped for good things from Helen’s Quickstep.  Fortunately she was fabulous; so fabulous in fact that Craig awarded her nine points and Helen made a noise that sounded like a squirrel trapped in kettle.

Ooh, Jay and Aliona dancing the Paso.  They were brilliant.  “Great lines, great control, great shaping, great dance,” declared Craig.  “The best male arms ever,” added Darcy, weirdly.   Len blathered on about nothing in particular like the wizened old fart he is, Bruno waffled about Jay getting his bum (Jay’s, not Bruno’s) in the wrong place and said “bollocks” which forced Tess to apologise for his language.

The woman from EastEnders danced a jive to “One Way Or Another” which is a Blondie, not One Direction, song, so shut up toddlers. It was alright and a bit of a meh note on which to finish the programme but I suppose everyone must get their turn.  The judges however were fulsome in their praise. “Ar know the clocks gar back tonight, but ard like the clocks to go back RAHT NOW so ar can see it agin!” yelped Len.

The sensational madness that is Strictly Halloween is next week. Remember Pasha as Shrek, complete with green face and ears? It’s the BEST.

The Apprentice – episode three


The episode kicked off with a video message from the Great Leader, who had been kept away on urgent business (apparently).  “Arm sorry ar carnt be wiv you,” intoned Siralanlordsugar to the 16 remaining candidates, gathered in the “wartime tunnels” underneath Dover Castle.  “Where’s Dover?” enquired one dunderhead.  “I know it’s on the coast,” she added knowledgeably.  “But…., er….” There was a long pause as the cogs whirred and GCSE Geography papers were recalled.  After what seemed like an age, everything fell into place. “Are we going to Ireland?”  Okay, a failed GCSE.  How does Sugarlordalansir stand it? I’d never manage to run The Apprentice.  I’d fire the lot of them in under five minutes.

They were told some of them would be dispatched to Calais while the rest stayed in Kent. Also told to remain in their girls vs boys configurations, they were given a list of shizz they had to buy.  Project managers were chosen.  Vana spoke French but Elle, inexplicably, declared that working in the construction industry meant she was good at cracking problems.  Vana generously allowed her to be her deputy, whilst smirking happily.  Vana does not like Elle.  Elle looks like Nigella Lawson.  Perhaps that’s it?

Gomez Addams, aka Joseph (the bloke I’ve drawn in the office sweepstake God help me) confessed that although he couldn’t speak French – to be fair, it didn’t stop Girls Aloud – he nonetheless wanted to be leader. Several other team members had French language qualifications but craftily agreed to Joseph’s wishes, presumably in the hope that he would fail.

Tasked with buying champagne flutes, lace, a mirror, cheese, a galvinized anchor, (yes, really), an inflatable boat – or goat, I didn’t quite catch – and, if I heard correctly, animal poo, half the team headed to Calais (not Dublin) and half glumly stayed put in Kent.  Joseph declared that the girls would have an advantage because they were pretty.  His pencil moustache drooped at the thought of this unfair qualification.

In Calais, he wasted a great deal of time asking people if they spoke English. Sam, who could speak some French, was not allowed to come forward until Joseph had run out of permutations of the same question:  “Madam, Do you speak English?” “Miss Your, do YOU speak English?” and finally the desperate, although admittedly direct, “ENGLISH?”  Meanwhile Claude stood close by, gleefully confiding to camera: “I’m fluent in French.  I’m going to know EVERYTHING.”  He might as well have thrown his head back and give us his full plot laugh.  Claude is ace.

Anyhoo, lots of running around, paying daft prices for stuff, hurling themselves into restaurants and asking to buy mussels, and one idiot, Gary, who bought a child’s inflatable dingy instead of a proper one as Sirsugaralanlord had stipulated. Remember the cardboard skeleton of last year, Gazza? Fool.

Back in the boardroom, Joseph was questioned by Lordalansugarsir.  “You woz made project manager?” “Yiss. Fust fing ar did woz find out oo could speak French.” This is the kind of spectacular business acumen boardrooms across the country are looking for, people.

There was much amusement at the teams’ ignorance over the Frenchie’s tendency to “go on strike” over lunchtime, hahahajingoismha.  The girls bought the “wrong cheese” and the boys won and went off to a wine tasting.  Wowser.  Vana looked like Wallace being told that Grommit had run out of Wensleydale, and off they trooped to the Café de Despair.  Accusations of being a “morale vacuum” were bandied about.

Back in the boardroom, the girls quickly descended into being vile to one another and it really wasn’t pretty.  Vana chose Elle and Jenny for the chop, and quickly lay into Jenny, who didn’t buy anything at all.  Why did she choose Elle? “I was counting on her logistical prowess.”  Elle gave an excellent account of herself, being reasonable, fair and avoiding any kind of snarkiness.  “Ultimately, this is Vana’s fault.”  Jenny didn’t buy anything in the task, and in Alansirlordsugar’s book, that’s a crime punishable by death.  Goodbye, Jenny. She eschewed the usual “thank you for the opportunity” and instead gave a long speech that made Vana and Elle look at each other with identical “spot the loon” looks on their faces as Jenny finished her Oscar length oration.  Packed resentfully into the Taxi of Doom, she declared “I’m gonna achieve massive things.  I bet you anything in a couple of years he’s gonna be knocking on my door wanting to be part of my business.”  Er, okay.

When Vana and Elle returned to the house, Selina eyed Elle speculatively, as a cat might an unsuspecting mouse.  Watch out, Elle.

Strictly Come Dancing – Week Four


Welcome to Week Four, although what’s the point in wondering who should win after Jay’s triumphant jive last week?  Presumably the posse of desperate women who think the pair of American Tan tights that is Peter Andre would disagree, so let us plough on and watch once more, dear friends, as Henry V would have said had he owned a telly and had nothing else to do on a Saturday night.

Tess and Claudia, whose wardrobes in past weeks have been worryingly normal, returned to form in two hideous outfits: Tess in an I-Made-This-In-My-Year-Nine-Textiles-Class number, featuring cheap lace panelling and a missing sleeve, Claudia in a Matalan bargain basement jumpsuit, complete with 80s shoulder pads.

First up, Anita Rani and Gleb dancing the Samba to Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie. Len, who had clearly spent the afternoon reading up on the music to each dance in order to make one of his terrible attempts at word play, shouted: “I’ll tell you this. YOUR hips don’t lie!” and sat back, looking delighted with himself. Anita and Gleb were fine but nothing special.

Next up, the man whose Wikipedia claims he is only 54 years old, Daniel O’Dyedhair, dancing the American Smooth to Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon. Dressed vaguely as flight attendants, they spent a lot of time flinging their arms around as though signalling the location of the exit doors.  “It had a lovely, easy feel,” smirked Len, for no other reason than to line up his next bon mot. “You could have been on Easyjet.” GEDDIT? Next.

Kirstie and Brendan danced the Pasa Doble to that well known Spanish dance anthem, U2’s Beautiful Day.  They were rubbish.   “It was a bit like a paella,” opined Len, building up to his next witticism. “Tasty in places, but there’s always a few weird bits floatin’ abaht.”  I hope the next time Len visits a Spanish restaurant, the waiter spits in his gazpacho.

Georgia and her partner, sweating Sicilian sausage Giovanni, danced the Quickstep to S Club 7’s pop classic Reach. They were incredibly fast.  “From drab….” winked Len, unable to think of any pun related to stars/night sky/trying to get the biscuit tin off the top shelf, “to FAB!”

Jeremy and Karen danced the Jive to Bobby Darin’s Splish Splash.  Ever literal, they began with Jeremy standing in a bath.  There was a moment where he lay on the dance floor and we all held our breath worrying if he could get up again, but otherwise it was… what was it? It certainly wasn’t a jive.  “Has he improved, Craig?” enquired Tess.  “No.”

Kellie and Kevin danced the Foxtrot to Dream A Little Dream by Mama Cass.  They were supposedly telling the love story of Kellie’s grandparents, and Tess was on hand to play the role of famous psychic, Doris Stokes. “They would’ve loved that.”   Jamelia and Tristan danced the Charleston to Straight Up by Paula Abdul, who send Jamelia a video message wishing her luck, although had she known how the Dave Arch singers would murder her song she might have thought better of it.  JamTris were pretty good though, and there were echoes of Josephine Baker in Jamelia’s performance, no bad thing for a Charleston.

Jay and Aliona danced the Quickstep to My Generation by The Who. It was fast and furious and Jay made a few unexpected stumbles.  He looked absolutely gutted when the judges picked apart his performance (try saying that after three gin and tonics) but he will be back next week better than ever so SHUT UP JUDGES.  (Just as a side note, is something going on between Jay and Aliona? She looked completely in love and the pair of them pawed each other a bit.  Watch this space.)

Next up, it was Carol and Pasha dancing the Paso to Trad’s Espana Cani, which is proper Paso music for bloody once. It worked as well; it was easily Carol’s best dance as she really got into character.  Take note, everybody else who chooses bollocks like the Birdy song for the Tango.   Then it was Ainsley and Natalie who danced the Waltz to What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, a song I absolutely adore.  Nerves made Ainsley assume the vacant facial expression of a village idiot, but otherwise it was all rather lovely.

Helen and Aljaz danced the Salsa to Miami Sound Machine’s Doctor Beat, a song I loathed in the 80s and Dave Arch’s crapola version didn’t make me change my opinion. In the preceding VT, Aljaz took Helen up the Shard *sideways look to camera* and yes, some of it was a bit stiff *stop it* but Helen did a fabulous splits move and overall I really liked it.

Peter and Janette chose to dance the Tango to New Order’s Blue Monday, beginning with some shizzle sitting at a card table.  There are no words to describe what Dave Arch did to the song, but when I rise to power he and his singers will be forced to sing Tiptoe Through The Tulips whilst accompanying themselves on the Stylophone for all eternity.  The pair gave a decent account of themselves, sufficiently rousing a sleeping Len so that he was able to produce another linguistic gem: “Ar dunno wot card game you woz playing, but it had plenny of SNAP innit!” and then sat back, thrilled with his own genius.

Finally, Katie and Anton.  They hadn’t done too well last week, but they were to dance the Viennese Waltz to Elvis Presley’s If I Can Dream, and everybody knows Anton is a whizz at Ballroom, not Latin, so great things were expected of them. They didn’t disappoint, with fiendishly difficult content that was well executed.

Who will be voted out? Daniel or Jezza, surely.  Whatever. I’m just hanging on for Halloween Week and the mad costumes.  Two weeks to go, people. Can’t wait.

The Apprentice – episode two


It’s a bit early in the series for my favourite task (advertising and branding of course), but I’m not complaining.   After all, who can forget the arse-squirmingly appalling Pantsman ad of 2009?  Tonight Siralanlordsugar challenged both teams – back to boys versus girls, yawn – to create and market a brand new shampoo.  And not just any old shampoo. One with a unique ingredient – cactus seed oil.  I shall refrain from making any reference to it being suitable for a bunch of pricks.

Back to the teams.  Elle was more than happy about the battle of the sexes, as it meant she didn’t have to put up with someone she considered to be entirely unsuitable for the task, Brett: “coz he’s bald”.  Nice, Elle.  By the way the team name that eluded me last night is “Connectus” which I erroneously imagined to be the most ludicrous name ever but a quick Google revealed it’s not just idiots on telly who come up crap names.


The teams picked their leaders. Ten seconds after she was anointed, Aisha threatened her team with the boardroom if they lost the task. Richard went for the diplomatic approach.  “Everyone will get a chance to pitch their idea.”  He forgot to add “and then we’ll go with mine regardless,” but top marks for effort.

Onwards to the brainstorming.  Mergim’s contribution was invaluable: “My idea is sexiness.”  Ground-breaking.   And what would they call this sexy cactus shampoo? “What about…. Cactus?”  Eventually they chose Western, because, er, cacti. Meanwhile the girls adopted a similar theme and called their shampoo Desert Secrets, even though most of them hated it but Aisha, whose role model appeared to be Mussolini, overruled them.  There was an immediate stampede to confide to camera they thought the name was rubbish, just in case they lost and Aisha dragged them into the boardroom with her.

Let us draw a merciful veil over the filming of the ads, and speak of them no more, except to say the boys’ ad featured so much foam on the male model’s face it looked like the Phantom of the Opera taking a shower.

So, it was time to choose who would pitch their shampoos to a leading panel of industry experts.  Charleine and Natalie stepped forward, but Mussolini picked Natalie, which incensed Charleine who declared everybody to be intimidated by her shampoo expertise.  Er, okay.  The pitch was terrible though, so maybe Charleine had a point.  The boys prepared themselves.  “The time is now,” declared David Brent, I mean Richard.  Their pitch was equally terrible.  I really think Siralansugarlord should consider firing squads rather than being sent home in a taxi. That might sharpen them up.

Back in the boardroom, Ruth eschewed her clown suit and instead plumped for a leopard print, Jackie Collins-meets-Siegfried-and-Roy-the-Las-Vegas-years, jacket.  But she was the only one on her team to give a firm but softly-spoken explanation regarding the ideas behind the creation of the ad, and described Mussolini as being “good, but also frustrating”, so snaps for Ruth.  Alas it counted for nothing.  The girls lost, and the boys won an afternoon of anti-gravity yoga.  Clearly the budget had all been spunked on last night’s visit to Nobu and next week the big prize will be 20 minutes in a paddling pool in a field, described by Alanlordsugarsir as a “visit to a luxury spa”.

Mussolini chose Vana and Natalie to beg for survival, and immediately laid into both of them.  Natalie was slammed for delivering a shite pitch (true) and Vana was slammed for no other reason than Mussolini didn’t like her.  Lordalansugarsir saw this immediately and saved her.  Natalie was told off for her negativity, but it was Musso who got the boot.

In the Taxi of Despair, she made it clear she hated everyone in her team and that she was utterly brilliant and should be made Empress of All She Surveys.  She’ll go far.

The Apprentice – week one


Claude Littner, the scourge of weasel-worded CVs everywhere, has taken over from Nick Hewer.  This must be why this series has been billed as “the toughest ever”.  18 quaking candidates gathered in the boardroom in order to listen to Siralanlordsugar tell them he doesn’t want them to suck up to him.  One idiot said he wanted to be like Alexander the Great.  It’s not everyone who wants to die from strychnine poisoning, but let us not judge. Somebody called Joseph declared “Arm feh godfarver of BIZZNISS” (I think I might have drawn this idiot in the office sweepstake, alas).

Sporting a Gomez Addams moustache, Joseph was clearly being set up as the early front-runner for ‘biggest chump’.  Someone called Dan admitted he nearly bankrupted his elderly parents, and wanted to call his team The Sugar Babes. Move aside, Joseph.  There’s a new chump in town.

Sirsugaralanlord instructed the 18 hopefuls to go to a “famous London fish market” to buy a load of fish – surprise – which they then had to cook and sell for a profit. They all looked suitably underwhelmed. This year there was no dividing them into girls v boys, as he mixed them up instantly, smugly wearing his “I’m a maverick, me” face.    Off they went to Billingsgate to buy fish. I’m calling it early I know, but “Charleine, I’m going to make you fish finger team leader,” may well be the best line of The Apprentice, ever. Selina led one team, April the other.  Girl power.

What would they serve? April went for fishcakes and tuna salad (Ruth’s suggestion of lobster was ignored, boo) and the other bunch went for fish finger sandwiches, which as anyone who’s been to a gastro pub knows, are a licence to print money.   April thinks she can sell tuna salad for £9.  Yes that’s NINE WHOLE POUNDS. Twitter hooted with derision.  Let’s face it, only an Apprentice candidate would be fool enough to pay that.

Gutting fish, hairnets, gutting fish, more hairnets, cooking, hairnets etc.  They departed the Kitchens of Doom to sell their wares in their respective vans.  Ruth’s sales technique was described by Karren as “creepy”, as Ruth felt men’s biceps and described them as “meaty” then took their money before they’d even noticed.  But the creepiness worked.  “Well, I’ve learned something,” admitted Karren.  Ruth could be one to watch; she was supremely unfazed by anything that was thrown at her, and got results.   She also wore an eye-wateringly lurid suit, but hey, you can’t have everything.  Dan couldn’t sell salad to save his life. His tone didn’t help.  Doing everything but rugby tackle frightened pedestrians, he thrust his tupperware box under their noses and whimpered: “Are you interested in buying…. a…. SALAD?” He remained unmoved however by his lack of success.  “I didn’t come into this process to stand on a street selling fish.”  Dan has clearly never watched The Apprentice.

What felt like a lifetime later, Elle noticed that it was no longer lunchtime.  People who had already eaten refused to spend nine quid on a tuna salad.   Whodathunk? Meanwhile Team Versatile’s squid went rogue and was no longer fit for human consumption.

Back in the boardroom, some goon from Team Versatile got the first reflexive pronoun in early.  “Oo came up wiv the name?” questioned Alansugarlordsir.  “Fat woz ackshully myself” replied the goon, instead of saying me, but in fairness the team made about £200, whereas their rivals (what were they called? I missed it) made £1.87.  Versatile’s prize was to make their own sushi with the chef from Nobu, which by Apprentice standards is practically a lottery win.  April looked gutted (see what I did there? Oh please yourself.)

Sirsugarlordalan gave April a lesson in margins.  April wasn’t interested.  Dan agreed that he couldn’t sell. “Wotcha good at fen?” queried Alansugarlordsir.  “Online stuff,” said Dan, confidently.  April decided to bring Dan and Brett back into the boardroom with her.  Ruth and her clown suit looked relieved, and sauntered off to find a flower buttonhole from which to squirt water at unsuspecting passers-by.

April, Dan and Brett shouted at each other about the size of their fishcakes, whilst Claude looked bored, as well he might.  Dan got the boot and uttered the obligatory “Thank you for the opportunity” instead of yelling “OH YEAH? WELL FUCK YOU!” like a normal person.

In the taxi of doom, Dan cheerfully admitted “my selling was rubbish, hahahahahaha!” How did he even get into the final 18?

Strictly Come Dancing – Movie Week


The show was introduced by a BBC announcer, who confided randomly, “You know how the movies make you feel totes happy?” Setting aside the fact that nobody has said “totes” since 2011,  no, I don’t know that.  For example The Wicker Man (Nicholas Cage version) makes me so unhappy I despair for the future of humanity, never mind the film industry,  Totes miserable, Beeb.

But away with continuity goons and on to the dancing; first up was Carol and Pasha dancing the Quickstep to ‘Wash That Man’ from South Pacific. Carol danced like a woman trying to wash treacle off her shoes, but she’s lovely so I hope she stays in a few more weeks.

Next up was Anthony, who is a boxer, and Oti; they danced the Paso Doble to ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ from Rocky, because, er, boxing.  There were a lot of ridiculous moves based on sparring in a boxing ring (natch) and he was rubbish. “Has he come back fighting – can you get him off the ropes?” asked Tess, failing to suppress a shudder at the terrible script she is forced to parrot each week.  Len, of course, waffled on about how Antony had really “gone for it” then awarded him five points so what was that all about, Len.

There was a particularly excruciating VT from Katie and Anton about millionaires, because they were dancing to ‘Pretty Woman’ from, well, Pretty Woman.  Lots of fake diamonds and mentions of the stock market, but strangely no reference to being a hooker giving blow jobs in the back of a parked car.  Katie, who in the past two weeks has been fabulous, looked sensational but her dancing wasn’t awfully good.  “That’s my fault,” said Anton gallantly throwing himself under the bus.

A woman from EastEnders (apparently, I haven’t watched it for years) danced a Charleston with Kevin (I like Kevin) who had chosen Star Wars as his movie theme.  How on earth would that work? Rather brilliantly, it turned out. “Kellie Bright and a Jedi Knight – JUST RIGHT!” yelped Len, thrilled with himself.  Ainsley and Natalie danced the Cha Cha to ‘Boogie Wonderland’ from Happy Feet. Ainsley gave it his not inconsiderable imitation of a penguin, but alas it was a penguin who had forgotten most of his footwork.  “It didn’t get my seal of approval,” smirked Len smugly, who only just managed not to add “GEDDIT?”

Next up, Georgia and Giovanni the Sicilian danced a Rumba to ‘Writing’s On The Wall’ from the new Bond film Spectre, which is one of the worst Bond songs ever, and I love Sam Smith.  It was pure filth and Craig loved it.  Giovanni, a great looking bloke but alas one who sweats like an ice lolly in a furnace, looked wetly stoic as Len shouted about the routine not containing sufficient Rumba moves.  They were followed by Helen and Aljaž dancing the Foxtrot to ‘I Wanna Be Loved By You’ from Some Like It Hot. Helen channelled her inner Marilyn Monroe, wearing a dress every woman on Twitter wanted for themself, and was sensational.  Unsurprisingly, the judges loved it.

They were followed by Daniel and Kristina performing the Cha Cha to ‘Summer Nights’ from the film Grease. 54-year-old Daniel, who I confess I thought was at least 70,  took on the role of 23-year-old John Travolta playing 18-year-old Danny Zuko with enthusiasm, if not talent.  “It was a mix of Summer Nights and Last of the Summer Wine,” opined Len, who was spot on for once.  Kirsty and Brendan danced the American Smooth to ‘He’s A Tramp’ from Lady & The Tramp.  Despite lovely choreography from Brendan, Kirsty, although beautiful and talented, is just not a very good dancer.

Ooh, The Andre.  Peter and Janette danced the Paso Doble to ‘He’s A Pirate’ (nope, me neither) from Pirates Of The Caribbean.  Looking more like The Bearded Lady than Jack Sparrow, it was high on drama and low on shaping, as Craig and Bruno pointed out to loud boos from the audience.  If the voters have their way (and they will) Peter Andre will win this thing, no contest.

Jamelia and Tristan danced the Salsa to ‘Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel’ from Charlie’s Angels (I thought it was from Tavares and my primary school disco, but no, apparently not.)  I thought she was tremendous, notwithstanding the banana-coloured dressing gown she was forced to wear, but Craig disagreed with me, the fool, although he finished his nitpicking critique by saying “this is your dance,” which rather rescued things.

Up came dad dancer Jeremy Vine, whose genuine pleasure at being part of the competition is his saving grace because he can’t dance for toffee.  He and dance partner Karen danced the Charleston to ‘Top Hat, White Tie and Tails’ from the Fred Astaire movie Top Hat. Gulp.  Big shoes to fill and all that.  Jezza danced the whole thing with an expression of absolute joy at just being there and only a lump of rock could fail to be joyous with him.   “An unexpected delight,” said Bruno, summing up what everybody was thinking.  Craig hated it but the J-Bomb didn’t care.

Anita and Gleb performed the American Smooth to ‘Unchained Melody’ from Ghost. Gleb is without question the hottest dancer Strictly has ever had and thus caused me to lose concentration and I focused entirely on his muscular arse, so I’ve no idea if the routine was any good.  Soz.

Yippee, Jay! I love Jay. He and Aliona danced the Jive to a medley of ‘Misirlou/You Never Can Tell’ from Pulp Fiction and it was FAULTLESS.  Who knew a jive could be sexy? If this had been Week Eight it would be 10s across the board. As it was, he got three 9s and one 10, and he bloody well deserved them.

So, who will be voted out? I’d say Len but unfortunately we’re stuck with him.

The Great British Bake Off – the final


The Great British Bake Off

The final of the Great British Bake Off did not disappoint.  More than 14 million viewers tuned in to see Tamal, Nadiya and Ian bake, among other things, classic British cakes.

Here in our house, we played Bake Off Bingo.  Devised by my daughter, it is a fiendishly quick game and involves knocking back one measure of gin and tonic for any of the following:

• Any contestant stares despairingly into their oven
• Sue/Mel make an innuendo-laden remark
• Sue/Mel nick some of the bakers’ food
• Mary looks quizzical (think Clint Eastwood staring into the distance)


• Paul or Mary says “that’s a good bake”
• Paul puts his index fingers in his jeans pockets and stands with his legs astride, as though suffering from painfully enlarged testes
• Mary says “I can really taste the lemon”
• Paul says “I’m not getting any lemon”

They kicked off with filled, iced buns, two flavours, their choice, completed in three hours. Pfft, that’s not difficult, is it? “All of them must be IDENTICAL,” declared Mary, sternly. “Just make sure that the shape and the icing is all perfect,” warned Paul. Oh. Tamal chose cinnamon and apple, and toffee and marmalade. Toffee and marmalade? Seriously? (It turned out that Paul and Bezza loved it, which just goes to prove how little I know.) Nadiya made nutmeg fingers with sour cherry filling, as well as cardamom and almond flavour buns.  “Will your buns be touching?” enquired Paul, as she worked the dough. Nadiya’s eyebrows shot up into her hairline. “Er, not when I bake them, no.” Paul looked disappointed. “I like my buns to be touching.”  TMI, Paul. TMI. Tamal and Nadiya made one batch of dough but Ian, surprise surprise, made two batches, one with fresh elderflowers, and one where he forget to put any sugar in it.  Bad luck, Ian.

The technical challenge was one of Paul’s devising: six raspberry millefeuille.  Hey, I can make millefeuille, why am I not a contestant? Paul confided that the reason he had chosen this recipe was because all three contestants had struggled with the pastry before.  Swine.

paul hollywood gif

There was much opening and closing of the only freezer cabinets in existence without at least half a dozen peas encased in two inch thick ice. Nadiya triumphed. Would she emerge the overall winner?  It was time for the showstopper challenge.  A single-flavoured, but multi-tiered British cake. Four hours. Who would emerge victorious?

Paul, whose hair gel had now solidified so completely not even an expert in fracking could have removed it from his perma-tanned head, explained that that each layer “had to be identical”.  Tamal made a sticky toffee pudding fruit cake, with decorations based on an abandoned fishing village in China.  How can you not love the utter randomness of Tamal?  Ian made five cakes (of course) which he described as looking, when finished, like a “kind of cascading carrot”. Er, okay. Nadiya made a lemon drizzle wedding cake decorated with saris, and confessed it was the one she would have wanted had she got married in the UK rather than Bangladesh, where they apparently don’t do wedding cake. She even included some of the jewels from her wedding dress.  There was a brief VT of her three adorable children and unfeasibly handsome husband. Nadiya has it all, folks.  Winning #GBBO would simply be the icing on the cake.  See what I did there?  Oh please yourself.

Nadiya’s cake was spectacular.  “The lemon comes through beautifully.” DRINK, EVERYONE.  “Nadiya,” said Paul, seriously. “That’s stunning.”

Tamal’s fishing village cake featured breath-taking sugar work. “This is genius,” said Paul, and it really was.  “You’ve done exceedingly well,” added Mary, possibly revealing she was secretly sponsored by Mr Kipling.

Ian’s cascading carrot was, frankly, unbelievably.  “That’s one of the best carrot cakes I’ve ever had,” confessed Paul. Wowser.  The three came out of the tent carrying their cakes to loud applause from family, friends, and the other contestants.

Nadiya won, of course, and burst into happy tears. Her family went loopy, and the other contestants hugged her with genuine warmth.   It was almost impossible not to have a little cry at the loveliness of it all, and thus the incredible success of such a simple programme was revealed.