the boys are back in town… Ripper Street 2.01 “Pure as the Driven”

I adored series one of Ripper Street.

Despite the occasionally predictable plot lines and over-abundance of female flesh.   This left me happily expecting great things of series two and equally dreading it would be dumbed down and not quite so grimy.  After all S1 opened with the invention of snuff films and bare knuckle fighting – including a tooth embedded in the dogged Sgt Drake’s bare knuckles.

Luckily my fears were unfounded.  So far at least, and we got a fast paced, potential filled opener.  Not the best ever but the language was still that wonderful mix of flowery Victorian with the odd modern anachronism but delivered so well it always feels authentic.   Yes, you have to concentrate and listen properly but that’s not a hardship.

S1 did raise questions about the portrayal of female characters, mainly that it showed women as either wives or whores.  I can’t entirely argue with that but it isn’t the whole picture – we also got to see a female engineer, ruthless businesswomen and the redoubtable Deborah Goren.  And some wives and quite a lot of whores…

Ripper Street Drake Reid Jackson S2

It’s a little early to judge the female representation in S2 but let’s be honest, Ripper Street is a (grown up) boy’s own adventure.  The Three Amigos are back, striding through the streets of Whitechapel in perfect formation with their coats and their bromance in full swing.  To be honest their various partners aren’t that important – we’re just mad about the boys.

Apart from the formation striding there have been changes since we were last at Leman Street.  Reid’s wife is absent and unmentioned and Long Susan is offering him a chop for his pantry.  I don’t think that’s a euphemism.  Jackson and Long Susan, now outed as man and wife, seem less settled when you might have expected a modicum of matrimonial harmony.  Jackson has itchy feet and no more reason to linger among the bedclothes – and underclothes – of the staff.  I suspect conventional domesticity is not his thing.

Drake on the other hand is positively wallowing in Ripper Street drake fighting 201domestic  harmony with new wife Bella (when we all know it should have been Rose).  Is he happy?  He thinks so but is he in love with the idea of love and marriage more than the reality?  Sadly, I saw little real chemistry between him and Bella and I’m looking forward to seeing how Rose views the one that got away – and the one that got him.  Jackson accuses him of going soft and he does seem a little further from the streamlined fighting machine than before.  He needed help in the cell altercation from an amused Jackson and his arse was getting properly kicked by Brother of Blush.

Ripper Street ArthertonAmong the changes I’m relieved to see Sgt Atherton’s beard remains present and correct, yet sadly still without its own billing.

We get to escape Whitechapel and venture into Limehouse – the Chinatown of the day – in search of the mysterious Blush Pang and her frankly magnificent earrings.  After Sgt Linklater got a bit hung up and ended up in hospital on a diet of cold turkey our boys got suspicious.  A plot was afoot.  Forsooth.  After a dose of the shiny new wonder drug from Reid – the administering of which which rather dented his moral superiority – he provided useful information to speed the plot along before being bumped off by the wonderful Jedediah Shine, witnessed by the Elephant Man and about to be blamed on the morally upstanding (yet chop-less) Reid.  Sounds totally perfectly sensible and logical doesn’t it?!

But that’s the real joy of Ripper Street.  It’s histrionic, overblown and historically dodgy but it gathers us up in its flouncy skirts and hustles us along in the story, not letting us catch enough breath to go “But hang on a minute…”

Ripper Street Jedediah ShineJoseph Mawle swept in as corrupt Inspector Jedediah Shine, the antithesis to the upright moral decorum of Inspector Reid.  He clearly had a ball playing Shine with the loudest checks and the best moustache and he’s a character that could so easily tip over into panto villain.  But he got it pitch perfect, a mwah-ha-ha short of parody and it felt as though he’d been there all along, just out of shot.  And just what is he actually up to?  The drug smuggling plot seems done and Blush has hopped from Shine’s bed to Reid’s cells.  I hope we see her again.  I think they’d be a formidable partnership.

Shine also got one of the best lines: “You think him caught getting his jollification?

There are a lot of seeds sown in this hour to be harvested over the next seven.  So many that I suspect I’ll have missed some but here are a few of my thoughts on what’s to come.

  • Long Susan is in debt and under threat.  Of course she could confide in her husband and take a sensible approach.  And no, of course she won’t.  What terrible price will nasty landlord extract?
  • Reid is apparently wifeless.  More to come on that one.  And how long can he keep his suits pressed and his linen pristine if Long Susan gets distracted from his laundry?  And just who will be filling his pantry?
  • Bella has dark secrets and/or a dark past.  I think we can take that on trust.
  • Jackson was just a little too keen to try shiny new wonder drug heroin on himself, especially as he’d seen the effects.  The BBC treated us to some rather gruesome close up injections and vomit but we’ve already seen Jackson’s cocaine based hangover cure.  Now the excitement of his life of deception is gone will he try to find new thrills at the end of a needle?
  • Jedediah Shine of the twirl-able moustache.  So openly venial there has to be so much more going on than general corruption and a sideline of drug smuggling.  Hopefully.

So onwards into series two, with hope in my heart, a chop in my pantry and the smell of Whitechapel under my finger nails.  Such jollifications!

Afterthought…

Given that both Drake and Shine are fighters I will be lodging a formal complaint if we don’t see them pitted together at some point.  Preferably shirtless.  And sweaty.  I’m quite prepared to come over all kinds of unnecessary.

OK, I hear you.

You are quite right.

That is shameless and shallow objectification of two very fine actors.

So shoot me.

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I’m sure just about everyone has already seen this but if it doesn’t make you giggle you need to get your funny bone tested…

what’s up doc…

One of the TV shows I should have written about last year was ITV1’s Monroe.  As the second series starts in a week it seems a good time to revisit series one.

I didn’t intend to watch it.  If I’m honest it sounded dreadfully derivative.  Maverick, sharp-tongued surgeon with disastrous private life; faithful but very slightly drippy best friend poised to point out the error of his ways; cold-hearted, damaged female surgeon with no private life at all to speak of and a sprinkling of trainees seemingly selected on the tick box system.

So far, so House

I was wrong.

I should have known I could trust Peter Bowker.  Monroe does have all those potentially clichéd characters but it does something very clever with them and twists them in ways that makes them properly three-dimensional.  Within the classic medical drama case of the week format there’s a lot to get your teeth (or scalpel) into.

Gabriel Monroe (James Nesbitt) is provided with the traditional touch of tragedy and ravaged home life but it’s easy to find some sympathy.  His wife calmly leaves him after they see their son settled in his University rooms, a move she’s planned for six years, since Monroe had an affair.  It seems cold and calculating but as we learn more about the family it’s hard to see how else she could have done it.  The death of their daughter Charlotte was always going to fracture the family eventually.  It’s warming to see how the three do manage to find some kind of new relationship throughout the series and the scenes of Monroe and Anna after he’s failed to save a girl a similar age to  Charlotte are touching and real.

Of course if this were a proper clichéd drama there is the perfect set up for an unlikely romance between Monroe, the brain surgeon ruled by his heart, and Bremner, a heart surgeon ruled very firmly by her head.  As it isn’t, there isn’t and Bremner actually gets entangled with the oh-so-nice Shepherd (Tom Riley), much to Monroe’s amusement.  Although he does seem to take just a little too much pleasure in seeing them floundering.  Monroe’s plea to Bremner that she and Shepherd join their damaged souls together to form “one great big damaged… thing” falls on determinedly deaf ears.

When I started writing this it took me by surprise how little we know about the lead characters.  There’s a but of back story for Monroe and his family and something that Bremner reluctantly confides to Shepherd? But there’s not a scrap of detail about Shepherd.  he’s the proverbial good sort; popular, kind, funny, good at his job, probably a bit of a romantic – but how has he managed to stay so nice?  Charmed life?  Genie in a lamp?  No idea…  I’d like to know more about him.

He can’t be as good as he seems, can he?  Bremner calls him a rescuer and I can see that but I wonder why he is?  Did something happen in his past to make him that way?  The occasional flashes of anger hint at a much darker side to Shepherd that we’ve yet to see.

Jenny Bremner (Sarah Parish) can’t see why anyone feels the need to fix her or why Shepherd wants to rescue her.  She’s fine as she is.  The suicide of her father when she was 16 taught her to keep people at arm’s length, that way no one gets close enough to hurt her.  I’m sure she thinks of herself as firm but fair although her trainees certainly find her daunting.  When she finally tells Whitney she had no doubts about her competence it obviously comes as a relief and a shock.

She gets some of the best lines though, especially when she – well, I was going to say consoles but that’s not the right word at all – Mullery when Fortune is in surgery for the aneurysm that Mullery blames himself for.

Masculinity requires many myths to sustain it but there is no orgasm on earth that caused an aneurysm all by itself.  Fortune’s condition cannot be put down to your unbridled passion.  I’m sorry to disappoint you.

The moment when Mullery tells her that he’s happy to be talked about tells much about both of them.  It’s a glimpse of his ambition and a certain ruthlessness that lurks below the surface.  For Bremner, I’m sure she’s content enough with professional accolades but the thought of her personal life being discussed and dissected is anathema and she looks at him as if he’s a new and unknown species.

It’s Sally Fortune (Manjinder Virk) who shows us the side of Monroe that teaches and cherishes his protégés.  He’s sarcastic to her – as he is with everyone – but encouraging and supportive.  If he’s on your side that must feel like a good place to be.  Sadly Fortune is sacrificed to a convenient (plot wise) brain operation after some – presumably enthusiastic – sex with Mullery much to the surprise of pretty much everyone.  The sex, that is, not the operation.  On top of that she also has a heart complaint and Monroe and Bremner get to fight and then bond over her treatment.  When I say bond I mean they talk about each other quite nicely to other people, not any of that sloppy face to face stuff!

A more cynical person – like Springer – might wonder if trainees Whitney (Christina Chong) and Wilson (Michelle Asante) were chosen to round out the ethnic balance.  Although he does concede that Whitney isn’t “ethnic ethnic”. How she managed not to slap him is a mystery.  Wilson moves on from fainting to being quietly competent but she lacks confidence and you wonder how she’ll ever elbow her way past the brash Springer.  Whitney, however, has the confidence and the backing of Bremner and – out of the four – seems the most successfully integrated into hospital life.  She goes home occasionally for a start!  And she’s invited to the poker nights, a privilege that Springer takes time to earn.  Were Wilson and Mullery ever invited?  Somehow I don’t think so.

Springer (Luke Allen-Gale) is weighed down by the terrible burden of being white, male, middle class and affluent.  It’s a nasty affliction with the side effect of being snidely and viciously competitive.  Basically he’s a slug and I rather enjoyed despising him until he made me laugh in episode six.

I could say something tactless and offensive if that would help?

Damn him. I can’t possibly get to like Springer, house colours for Bridge forsooth.  I shall have my little red book confiscated…

my blog hat…

With my other blog hat on (the rather lovely one that I wear when I write about Being Human) it would be remiss of me not to give a slightly disproportionate amount of space to Andrew Gower as Mullery.  Monroe was his first professional role and he followed it with a rather different doctor in Frankenstein’s Wedding.  He then went on to play an absolute blinder as nasty vampire solicitor Cutler in series four of Being Human.

Mullery – AKA Dozy Bollocks – doesn’t get a great deal to do for a while except be slightly vague and rather endearingly ineffectual.  It’s to Bremner’s credit that she doesn’t make total mincemeat out of him as she well could!  He strikes me as better academically than practically or maybe the confidence in applying his diligent research just needs to catch up a bit.  He’s an awkward mixture of eager to please, ambition and foot in mouth.

It’s interesting that there are a number of characters who give no hint of any life outside the hospital, Mullery being one of them.  Always in scrubs, never seen in street clothes, but I suspect there’s a determination and a steely edge somewhere under that fluffy head of hair – or possibly a level of petulance that we’ve only glimpsed.  (And it’s not fair…)    Will he stick with Fortune? Or she with him?  I doubt it; I think his ambitions go further than that.

And for those fans of Andrew Gower’s music did you spot the song played when he invited Fortune on a date after her operation?  It was “Better of Me”, performed by Emerson, co-written and sung by Andrew Gower.  Nice touch!

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Only a week until series two starts so what am I looking forward to?

Neil Pearson.

Seeing what happened to Shepherd and Bremner and maybe seeing more of the darker Shepherd that I suspect he’s been hiding.

Slightly concerned about Mullery’s development as ‘quirky’ and I really hope the writing stays good enough to pull that off. Please don’t let quirky = zany, ‘I’m mad me’ or the acquisition of unusual hobbies.  No taxidermy.  No casseroling road kill.  No morris dancing…

Neil Pearson.

Please let Springer be vile so I can happily resume despising!  The glimpse of braces bodes well on that front.

Series two starts 18 months on from the end of series one – that’s a really good gap to get a whole new set of challenges and stories started.

Oh, did I mention I’m looking forward to seeing Neil Pearson back on my TV?

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hobby horse…

It’s official.

I have too many hobbies.

In case you haven’t figured it out that’s my excuse for being MIA on this blog for an embarrassingly long time.

I’ll have you know I’ve really been quite busy – blogging about Being Human, making jewellery, watching TV, buying shoes, thinking about buying shoes, location stalking sightseeing trips, a bit of photography, generally making things – oh, and boring stuff like working for a living, eating and sleeping.  And there was you thinking I was just filing my nails and looking out of the window.  I mean, have you seen the state of my nails?!

Something had to give.

(Mostly it was housework.)

And I now realise that random blogging had been pushed behind the sofa cushions of my brain and got lost, and until just recently I hadn’t missed it.

Now I do miss it so here we go again.

Random thoughts. TV reviews.  Probably on the sarcastic side although I like to think affectionately so.  You may disagree.  Please do!  Some new shows, some I meant to write about when they were on and just didn’t.  There will very likely be shoes.  Possibly a rant or two.  Maybe even a few chuckles.  There may even be something reasonably thought-provoking…

Here’s hoping anyway!

Back soon…

…promise.

things’ll be great when you’re Downton…

I suppose the water cooler talk on the return to work will be all about Downton Abbey.  If you work somewhere normal that is – no one speaks by the water cooler near my office.  It’s an entirely private experience.  Anyway, I digress…

Did I watch Downton? Well, yes I did.  I’m not a huge fan – allergic to bonnet drama – but did wade through the previous episodes and have a vague but hopefully sufficient idea of who is who and what is what.  I may be about to prove that a complete lie!

The Christmas special lasted several eons and lurched dangerously close to Acorn Antiques territory at times.  I really expected Mrs Patmore to don a leotard and present her macaroons

Bates is in jail or gaol or clink or prison.  He’s been eating well in there hasn’t he?  Conveniently his trial was slotted in between the shooting and the servants’ ball – good of the courts to sit in the hols just to expedite the plot.  And of course the upstairs toffs would have flocked there in support, waving their pom poms and starting the Mexican wave, free the Downton one and all that. Rather more likely they’d have both been sacked with alacrity and without a reference.  But let’s not get too hung up on historical accuracy or we’ll be here all night.  I don’t care – I’ve nothing else on.

After the good folks of Downton had done their level best to condemn Bates to every hell possible the judge had no choice but to pop on his black cap and pronounce the death sentence.  There was weeping and lamenting and the consideration of an appeal.  Luckily this was swiftly resolved, a reprieve obtained all within, well, minutes.  Just so the New Years Eve servants’ ball could continue unaBATEd.  Sorry.  The servants all produced some decent frocks and amazing dancing abilities and were whisked around the floor by their various employers to the strains of a small orchestra who were luckily without a festive booking and available at short notice.  How lovely, no side at all, not a scrap of historical accuracy to get in their way!

Best use of a spurious prop ever?  I know, let’s use the Ouija board – sorry the planchette – that has popped up from nowhere to convince the daft kitchen maid to GO TO THE FARM.  No one will realise…  It’s been in the kitchen all along.

Honestly.  Did you never spot it?  Me neither.

Nigel Havers charmed his way in for a spot of upstairs/downstairs dalliance.  You just know he’s going to be a cad of the very first order from the moment he opened his mouth.  And he was.  No fortune, fiddling with the maid – disgraceful, do pass the smelling salts.  Banished, of course, but not until the morning train.  How terribly civilised.

Finally we were near the end, I’d grown several years older and it snowed.  Not cold snow judging by the lack of goose pimples around the edges of Lady Mary’s frock but enough to give a suitable setting for Drippy Matthew to propose (again).  And not just because his mother told him to.  Or probably because his mother told him to.  Luckily his mysterious unmentionable injuries have gone unmentioned for some time and we have to assume all is in proper working order.  An heir and a spare please and look snappy.  Unless he knows he’s protected from the Lady Mary’s seemingly voracious appetites with some lingering war wounds that might just stop him going the same way as Pamuk…

Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess got all the best lines as always.  When the panto villain newspaper magnate (bet he was hacking the telegrams) said they would never meet again her instant riposte of “do you promise?” was the best laugh in the show.

Oh, and was anyone else shouting “Fenton” during the grand hunt for the random plot device?  Sorry, the mysteriously missing Isis?

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Ever since I typed the title of this post I’ve had Petula Clark in my head… it’s only fair to share!

fluffy family-friendly telly…

Due to a lack of new programmes for grown ups I was forced into the TV land of ‘family entertainment’ this Christmas.  It was all very strange, but frankly – I think I might have got a better deal here than with the programmes that should have been more to my taste!  Especially given the dire lack of new programmes more to my taste…

Nativity

I started with a film.  Normally I avoid anything involving small children, especially those that do ‘cute’ and are used shamelessly to draw a tear or six from the sherry soaked watchers.  However, Nativity had good reviews, good director, good cast and I’d done with Xmas prep and needed a feet up treat.

Adding to the pleasure was Jason Watkins, a favourite actor, who provided a great contrasting character to Martin Freeman’s inept, depressive primary teacher who was – of course – redeemed through children’s cuteness and the prospect of regaining a long-lost love (yes I’m a such a cynic…)  JW’s Gordon Shakespeare was nasty, clever, just a touch camp and with the addition of a glimpse of green tights and the ability to walk on his hands… well, what’s not to like?  (OK. It might have been a double but leave me some illusions) (I do mean the handstand not the tights by the way…)

Mind you, school Nativity plays weren’t like that in my day!  Where were the tea towel head dresses and the costumes made entirely out of crepe paper with a touch of tinfoil?  The wonky tinsel and wire coat hanger halos?   My disbelief was suspended almost as high as the death slide Gabriel.  And did no one actually miss the two random children dragged off to Hollywood to do Brit-cuteness in the sunshine?

It all ended happily, weeping abounded (the next show may need to be Noah and his Ark) and the cute-o-meter in my living room flew off the warning scale and  hasn’t been the same since.  Reluctantly I admit I enjoyed it although I used the child-heavy bits to nip out and make several stiff drinks!

I did rather like the look of Herod – the musical.  Would have fancied a part in that myself when I was at school…

Lost Christmas

An interesting one this one.  Starred Eddie Izzard, produced by CBBC so what to expect?  Complicated concepts or child friendly exposition?  Well, both actually.  Huge amount of potential and some interesting ideas but it seemed to be both very simple and very complicate at the same time.  Confused? Yes me too.

Eddie Izzard is usually wonderful at being enigmatic and he went some way to that here but somehow for me it just missed.  Not by much and maybe I’m just being fussy.  Lost Christmas was certainly bleak for a family/kids show but maybe would have worked better if it had been allowed to be darker.  It cheerfully pulled at all the heartstrings it could find and dragged us through 90 minutes of what-if tragedy before neatly wrapping it up in the requisite happy (if a touch predictable) ending.

And guess what – more Jason Watkins who popped up as a dodgy antique dealer/fence.  Beautifully nasty and with a much sharper suit than anything he got to wear in Nativity…  He’s been a busy boy this Christmas.

Despite a few niggles (including some over powering music) I liked Lost Christmas, I always find Eddie Izzard worth watching and it’s good to see him stretching his acting muscles, and they are developing nicely. (Let’s not talk about Day of the Triffids…)  I would have liked to see what this story could have done if it had been targeted at an older audience and allowed to be as dark as it seemed to want to be.

OK – I’m getting worried about myself now…  What next in the cute kids/tearful ending front?

The Borrowers

The BBC’s new version of The Borrowers is relentlessly up to date.  That’s clear from the first appearance of action-man Pod in the form of the rather lovely Christopher Eccleston.  That massive Eccleston grin, after surviving a near miss, does make me come over all unnecessary.  I’m not sure that’s even allowed at a kids show?!  Oh well – never mind…

So – forget what came before and just go along with the ride and what you got was a decent show.  I really liked the laptop cinema – some of the updating was really well done and let’s be honest the BBC does do these sort of imaginative settings pretty well.  The ball pool style Quality Street tin was a treat!

Some of the detail was shifted in order to appeal to a slightly older audience and that put Arrietty into troubled teen territory and Pod and Homily were therefore less worried about her getting caught than worried about her getting… well, caught.  It also lead to the  morphing of Spiller into an urban motorbike-riding wide boy and much – slightly awkward – flirting.

The Beans were all well cast – Shaun Dooley played the desperate dad, only wanting the best for his family, in an understated way that worked well.  Victoria Wood is always more than adequate but I didn’t get why Granny suddenly switched from Borrower-beating nasty to cuddly and understanding with no explanation.  (Except that it was in the script.)  I’m not a huge fan of Stephen Fry but he did OK here, a relatively undemanding task to play what seems to be a slightly nastier version of himself while wearing a lab coat.

What I didn’t understand was, with all the new technology lovingly used in the setting why did no one take photos of the Borrowers?  Or film them??  Surely everyone snaps everything on their iPhones nowadays?

It was a satisfying adaptation overall, although I’d probably have dropped the Arrietty/Spiller flirting as it seemed forced and left her younger but then I’m not writing TV drama for any age group so what do I know!?

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So three family shows down and now I need to search out something rather more adult before I succumb to going ‘ahhhhh’ and needing a hankie at happy endings.

And that will never do!

is there anything on…?

The Christmas Radio Times has arrived.  I think I may leave the warm sense of anticipation undiminished by not taking off the cellophane wrapper and actually reading it.

We didn’t have the Radio Times at home when I was younger – too expensive – and now I’m all grown up (debatable though that is) it still feels like a bit of a treat and an extravagance.  My habit is to decide what I want to watch by who is in it and I usually skim through the cast lists of the week ahead.  It’s horribly depressing that there are whole days when the listings for the main five channels are totally bereft of actors.  Property shows, cooking shows, misery shows, reality a-go-go but not a scrap of make-believe.

I often find refuge on ITV3 of all places.  Having worked many years of evenings and weekends I find there are dramas on repeat for the seventh time for most people that I’ve never seen.  It’s a bit tougher to choose through the listings as most are without cast details and it does take a bit of work.  I do like a challenge.  Me and IMDb – we’re like that nowadays!   Oh, lets not forget ITV4 and endless reruns of The Professionals.  The blousons, the artificial fabrics, the leisure slacks, you can feel the static through the screen.  But the memories…

I’ve never actually got the highlighter pens out to the Christmas listings although I do think about it.  I always assume I won’t forget the highlights (sorry) and then, of course, I always do…

Maybe this year really is the year of the pink, green and yellow pens…  After all, there’s not much that really grabs me this year so I’m hardly wasting ink!

And that’s a whole other story for another day…

strictly done dancing…

So, Strictly Come Dancing. I’ve watched every series right back to when Spangles Kaplunk strutted her stuff on the very first series and went from ‘whatever’ to ‘winner’ seemingly overnight. I watched in awe when Jill Halfpenny jived like a professional and I still remember Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy’s Argentine Tango and Viennese waltz as utterly magical.

Another memorable occasion (I hesitate to say high point) was Brendan Cole and Lisa Snowdon’s showdance. You can’t possibly have forgotten it?? Most of her was in a bacofoil leotard that was eye-wateringly high cut and a fantastic advertisement for whoever did her waxing. The sound track was the immortal tune of “I would do anything for love” (except wear that) (or dance that dance…) (insert your own joke here). Brendan gamely lugged her around the floor like a man hauling home a sack of spuds. He also added an enthusiastic mime of how to wrestle a large oven-ready turkey into a slightly too small oven. Both useful and seasonal.

Oh how we chortled! I laughed until the tears ran down my legs…

I love to watch dance done well and I enjoyed watched the celebrities learning new skills from professionals as well as seeing well staged, imaginative routines to show the clebs what they were aspiring to.

That was then. This is now. Somewhere along the line I’ve fallen out of love with the glitter ball. Yes I know it’s a reality show. I don’t really expect the best dancer to win – although they sometimes do. I’m sad that I’m not glued to the TV any more.

I don’t know exactly when it happened but I do know why, so here’s the list – in, of course, the oh-so-traditional SCD-style no particular order.

(To make this feel authentic please hum dramatic music and pretend it’s tomorrow)

  • Theme nights – especially Halloween theme night. Why? Just why? So much dry ice they might as well have pushed the couples round the floor on casters. Feet! I want to see the feet! That’s what you dance with. Honourable mentions also to the nasty nylon fancy dress box costumes and themed music. How many horror related songs can there be? (Too many, way, way too many…)
  • Endless props and pointless bits of scenery, doors without walls, bars, mirrors, even a coffin for goodness sake. If memory serves correctly Pamela Stephenson had an entire office to Charleston in…
  • The use of said endless props and pointless bits of scenery to delay any actual dancing for as long as possible. I’m just waiting for the time when after the miming, the ‘expressive’ faces and the wrangling of glasses, typewriters and randomly chosen furniture there is only enough time left for six steps and a flourish. (And Alesha will still give it a seven…)
  • I have always been sarcastic (in what I like to think is an endearing way) about the frocks. I actually have no more words to describe them. They have got worse and worse and lately they are, quite frankly, appalling… What was Holly wearing to do the quickstep in? Was it even finished? Did Chelseeeeeeee really want to use up the SCD fringe mountain single-handed?
  • The VTs of each couple are beyond bizarre – I used to enjoy watching people learn technique; go to classes, sometimes ballet or drama. Now it’s cheesy, pointless, dull and painful ‘jokiness’. Most importantly it isn’t funny…
  • The celebs now play the game, often to excess. Inevitable I know but so very transparent. Jason – that’s especially for you…
  • Alesha. Decent contestant. Crap judge.
  • And on the subject of judges, can someone put Len out of our misery? And his own?
  • The Sunday results show. Just stop pretending it is Sunday. A change of frock does not a new day make. We know. Admit it. Do you think we really believe the BBC filled Wembley with a shrieking audience two nights running?

I still watch it though. In hope. In desperation. In loving memory.

Mostly because there’s nothing else on…

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In case you’ve forgotten, here’s that showdance…