Sunday, 12 October 2014

Strictly Come Dancing Week 3: Movie Week: The Girls

You say Movie Week. I say I Must Be Delirious With Ebolic Fever Because Scott Mills Has Appeared On My Television In The Form Of A Giant Lobster Week. This might just be the most bizarre episode of Strictly Come Dancing since The Puppet Final with Colin and Erin. And all evidence of that seems to have been completely expunged from YouTube, because it is so harrowing.

Luckily for me, most of the madness lies with the male celebrities, and it's up to Kate to decipher it in order that we can try to explain this senselessness to future generations. Best of luck, colleague.

What with it being Movie Week, there's a subtle and understated group number, in which Anton gets to act and the judges get to sing, most likely because Top Hollywood Producers may turn on BBC America and think, 'Hey, Movie Week! I do movies. Let's check this thing out.' Then, 90 minutes later, 'Get me that Du Beke guy's agent. If High School Musical: Exchange Programme gets the green light, I'm gonna need a dancing butler.'

They've really pulled the A-list into the studio audience too - Van Outen! D'Angelo! James! (Duncan, not Clive), Grimshaw! (Nick, not Aiden).

And there's a guest judge. It's Donny Osmond! The Donny Osmond! Who we're unfathomably supposed to be excited about! I can't work out if his input is more or less redundant and unhelpful than Jennifer Grey's! Anyway, Donny will be watching the celebrities cut some rug, then weaving some words of wisdom afterwards, and quite possibly, and for the purposes of what I'm clumsily driving at, wigging out at his favourites. Yes?

So. First tonight, Alison and Aljaz jiving to Footloose. There is no part of that sentence that doesn't make me excited. And at this point, let me say what I always say when I hear this record - only this time it's on my sofa in front of the TV and not on a half-empty dance floor at 1.30am - 'I LOVE THIS SONG SO MUCH. WHO DOESN'T LOVE THIS SONG? I LOVE THIS SONG. IF YOU DON'T LOVE THIS SONG, I HATE YOU AND EVERYTHING YOU STAND FOR.'

Here is the place in the show where you may apply your dobber to the square of your Strictly bingo card that reads 'not the dance for you, my love/darling/your choice of patronising nomenclature'. Still, despite Alison's obvious jivey shortcomings, it's very lovable, with a homage to Footloose's iconic (yeah, you heard me) title scene, and a cute opening sequence that Alison and Aljaz sell so hard they should be on The Apprentice.

Please, Aljaz, promise you will never leave us, taking with you your brilliant routines and your face that is more adorable than a kitten in a bobble hat holding a basket.

Next up, it's the dance-off-destined Jennifer, who is giving us her foxtrot to Mamma Mia. In keeping with the theme tonight, it is totally nuts. Jennifer is lip synching like her whole life depends on it, or at the least an audition for a part in the West End show. They are doing a crazy dance-acting fusion, which may be an attempt to cover Jennifer's lack of skill, but you can't pull the wool over our eyes even if you can pull it over Donny's head. But the real headline here is the appearance of a Brand New Prop. Tonight, the Strictly rowing boat makes its maiden voyage. I'm already looking forward to, oh I don't know, Ben Ainslie and Ola rumba-ing to I Am Sailing in a future series, and Ben Ainslie having a tantrum because it's not the right kind of boat. Or Brendan and Emily Maitlis quickstepping to 'This is the captain of your ship' from the Muller advert.

OK, now we must have a serious talk with Dave Arch about his beard, which makes an appearance here. Dave, it's good to experiment. But it doesn't make you look like Dave Grohl. It doesn't even make you look like Paul Hollywood. Just come back next week with your whole squeezable face clean shaven, and we'll say no more about it.

Judi and Anton. Here's a confession. I didn't watch Judi and Anton's dance last week because I have a very low cringe threshold so I went and hid in the kitchen and turned over the sausages. To provide you with the level of service you've come to expect from us here at And Dave Arch Played On... I must do better this week, but their opening VT tests me sorely. Still, they are quickstepping to Don't Rain On My Parade, aka an Anton Du Beke safe haven, and Judi does some good cheeky faces. Without having seen half of the others, I'm going to say it's her best dance so far, even if Anton is still dragging her around like a set of golf clubs. Tess and Darcy patronise her.

Caroline and Pasha are dancing the rumba to I Don't Want To Miss A Thing. It's excellent, but the fact is, they could be performing a traditional morris dance with handkerchiefs at this point and it would still be sexy because PASHA IS WEARING TIGHT SILVER TROUSERS AND HAS A BARE CHEST AND LITTLE ELSE MATTERS IN THIS WORLD. Caroline is wearing ANOTHER babydoll-style dress with fringing. Is it possible that Caroline's wardrobe notes have got mixed up with Claudia's hair and make-up notes? It would explain a lot.

Kevin and Frankie do the paso doble to America from West Side Story and go straight to the top of the shop. As far as I can see, Frankie mostly does angry walking around in heels and skirt-swishing, but you can't fault her. For me, the heat and sexuality and raw passion are slightly undermined by the fact that Kevin is dressed as a newly qualified primary school teacher. I would contend that it is hard for any man to look sexy in red trousers. As a control study, let's think of the world's sexiest men and then imagine them in red trousers. Clooney? Not sexy. Pitt? Not sexy. Cumberbatch? Hmm... hang on... still sexy. Sorry Kevin.

Len won the raffle to say 'Frankie goes to Hollywood'. Well done, Len.

Donny gives them a 10, but we all stopped listening to him roughly 6 minutes into this 2 hour+ show.

Pixie is dancing a quickstep to Be Our Guest from Beauty And The Beast. Pixie is brilliant. The routine is brilliant. Why do I not like her as much as Frankie? It can't just be that she doesn't have such good hair.

And now, Sunetra and Brendan, and the strangest part of this whole crazy night. The pair dance a  classic American Smooth to a classic song, wearing classic costumes – and it's wonderful. But where is the elaborate five-act narrative? Where are the shellfish? Where are the sea-going vessels? There may be a chaise longue and an occasional table, but in today's Strictly, they barely count as furniture. I'm not quite on board with Sunetra's much-praised arms, but she's the nearest thing we have to normality. Let's hold on tight to her and not let her go.

What's next for Strictly this series? Cheese Week? Racquet Sports Week? Tudor History Week? Whatever, we'll be here. From me and the girls, over and out. x


  1. As an aside wasn't Caroline actually waving a hanky during her rhumba? In a moment when the camera panned away from Pasha I thought I saw something strange going on...

    1. If she was, I am certain she was waving it WITH INTENSITY.

  2. You cannot blame Donny for wearing a wig he lost all his hair in the same accident that turned his face green and made the smile permanent.

    Love Alison. She listens to all the criticism so seriously. My mind was blown by a judge commenting that the jive wasn't her dance WHAT BUT IT'S A PARTY DANCE AND SHE'S ALL ABOUT THE PARTY DANCES I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS LACK OF STEREOTYPING oh wait it was just Darcy, as you were.