movie film review | chris tookey

Strictly Come Dancing (TV)

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  Strictly Come Dancing (TV) Review
Tookey's Rating
9 /10
Average Rating
4.00 /10
Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood
Full Cast >

Directed by: Nikki Parsons, Alex Rudzinski and others
Written by: Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood , Arlene Phillips, Alesha Dixon, Shirley Ballas, Tess Daly, Bruce Forsyth, Claudia Winkleman , Zoe Ball and many dancers and “celebrities”

Released: 2004
Origin: UK
Length: 0

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If we are to have a state broadcaster, it needs to do what it says on the tin: it needs to be unashamedly elitist. Non-democratic. Utterly unmoved by the vagaries of public taste. For a long time it seemed to me that the BBC might be able to continue with its ever more precarious balancing act, of the likes of Strictly Come Dancing and Jonathan Ross somehow cross-subsidising, in terms of audience share, Newsnight and Panorama and the Today programme. (As it happens, the Today programme’s audience is much larger than that which, for reasons best known to itself, tunes into Wossy, but that’s another argument.) But the public will not swallow this notion any longer, and there is no reason why they should; the balance has swung too far towards the populist for this argument to have any meaning.
(Rod Liddle, Spectator, 2008)
With the exception of the wonderfully flamboyant Bruno Tonioli on the panel of Strictly, the BBC1 show is dull by comparison [with The X-Factor] . Dumping choreographer Arlene Phillips from the judging panel this year is real evidence that the show does not know its shuffle from its quickstep... Bruce Forsyth also does not help. Good on him for being in showbiz since Noah turned animal lover, but his jokes are dreadful, he cannot remember his lines, and constantly slips up, particularly during live broadcasts. There is also little to be gleaned from B-list celebrities purporting to dance, when most of them, especially in early rounds, are really doing exercises to music (and I am an ex-dancer) and being carried along, literally and metaphorically, by the professionals.
(Jaci Stephen, Daily Mail, 2009)
As long as Strictly Come Dancing was about people discovering a gift for dancing they never knew they had – an unexpected grace, a fluidity of body and soul previously locked away inside them (think the human corkscrew which the twist told me I could become) – then it was engaging and at times even touching. But little by little the curse of light entertainment descended on the original conception... The judges, who once demonstrated knowledgeable criticism in action – this is what you’re doing wrong, this is how you could do it better, these are the lines and shapes we want to see – have succumbed to the lure of celebrity and declined to pantomimic versions of themselves, gurning, preening, feigning lust, exchanging leers of suggestiveness and innuendo... It falls to me to speak up for dancing as an activity too intrinsically elegant to be demeaned, as movement whose subtle disciplines are worthy of serious respect, and as an art sufficiently sensual in itself not to be in need of low-brow sexing up. We accept today that Disney’s cartoons of animals in tutus degraded them. Reader, humans can be degraded too.
(Howard Jacobson, Independent, 2014)
Everything is wrong with ballroom dancing: the clothes, the music, even the expressions on the dancers’ faces, plus, of course, the dancing itself. The reason for this is simple: you get points for it. Ballroom dancing is an aesthetic pursuit, an art form, that has been turned into a competition the result of which is that everything is done to attract the attention of the judges. The competitors must try to fit within a set of rules and so a tawdry, flashy, kitsch aesthetic takes over. Imagine if actors got points for doing Shakespeare what kind of overblown, hammy performances you would get. Now ballroom dancing is not alone in promoting this repulsiveness: close relatives are figure skating and the disturbing Olympic event of rhythmic gymnastics (can anybody explain why it is only little girls in tight costumes who perform this “sport”?). All of this would not matter except a huge number of people are getting their perception of what dance is from watching Strictly, and this is disturbing. If you see a couple performing a proper Argentine tango, you are watching a dance created in the brothels of Buenos Aires that reeks of melancholy and sex and is accompanied by complex music that has grown alongside the dance and is inseparable from it. Then you watch the ballroom version, all gurning faces and robotic, angular, hideous movement, which on the show is generally accompanied by awful music that has absolutely nothing to do with the dance; you are seeing a great popular art reduced to a terrible travesty.
(Alexei Sayle, Guardian, 2014)
Strictly slides too easily into the trap of being mechanical, more conveyor belt than ballroom. Every showcase follows a rigid formula: a profile of the celeb, practice scenes and the 90-second dance. Then it’s the judges’ comments — cheers for Len, laughs with Bruno, applause for Darcey, boos for mean old Craig — a quick chat with Claudia Winkleman and the score is revealed. And then... do it all over again. At this stage, it’s a sausage machine: churn, churn, churn. There’s simply not enough variety, which makes it impossible to keep track of all the routines. That’s made harder because several of these ‘celebs’ are virtual unknowns. If you knew who Ore Oduba, Danny Mac or Melvin Odoom were before last month, you’re probably family.
(Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail, 2016)
I hate Strictly Come Dancing, I don’t watch it. I’m not interested at all. I’d dress like that for comedy, but not for dancing. I don’t like watching celebrities dance on it – they look stupid.
(Jack Dee, Sun, 2017)
Strictly Come Dancing? You want your head examined to do that.
(Jeremy Paxman, Daily Telegraph, 2017)
Post-Weinstein and Spacey we are all more conscious of sexual harassment... On Saturday, as Strictly reached the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool, the treatment of two male contestants made for uncomfortable viewing. As Davood Ghadami, clad in figure-hugging trousers and a see-through shirt, finished his triumphant James Bond-style paso doble routine with partner Nadiya Bychkova, host Tess Daley could hardly contain herself. “So masculine”, she exclaimed, wiping imaginary sweat from her brow, before making a noise like an elephant mating – “Hrnnnngh!” As Davood panted from exhaustion, Tess asked judge Bruno Tonioli, “Did that put you in double-O-heaven?” Tonioli rose to the bait telling Ghadami, “I think you earned your licence to THRILL - and the outfit to go with it.” Craig Revel Horwood admitted he was “slightly distracted,” while head judge Shirley Ballas pronounced Ghadami to be a “very masculine man.” As the audience tittered, Tess seemed unable to stop touching Davood’s bicep. He smiled politely through the suggestive comments, his parents sitting in the audience as he was leered at as if he were a male stripper...
Imagine instead that these comments had been aimed at a female contestant - say, Mollie King - by former male judge Len Goodman. “You’ve definitely given an me a thrill with that outfit Mollie. Hrnnnngh!” There would have been an outcry over sexism and Goodman would have been denounced as a creepy, lecherous old man. Yet suggestive remarks deliberately aimed at Strictly’s male contestants go unchecked, presented as humorous banter.
(Jay McCarthy, Huffington Post, 2017)
I hate Strictly Come Dancing. Actually, that’s not true. I hate Strictly Come Dancing a lot. Really, a lot. It is, in my humble opinion, nothing more than inane, two-dimensional tripe which, like most things on TV these days, serves not so much as an example of the cultural dumbing-down of our society as evidence of a full-frontal lobotomy. Everything about it, from the irritating theme tune to the absurd, overblown choreography to the cheesy costumes and the fact that everyone on it is orange (fake tan is such a central part of the aesthetic that the show actually employs a fake tan consultant) upsets me, deeply... With Brucie at the helm, Strictly was so much more than just another slice of Saturday night silliness. It had real charm, a certain kitsch chic, a kind of golden-age-of-TV flair that took it to a whole other level.
(Sarah Vine, Daily Mail, 2017)
In ballroom dancing it is the man that leads the woman. It is all about the woman looking attractive and being shown off by their male partner. This mimics traditional gender stereotypes of a powerful male and an attractive but less assertive female. In everyday society these stereotypes are considered very dated yet they continue to be acted out on the dance floor.
(Dr Vicki Harman,department of Sociology at the Royal Holloway College, University of London, reported in Daily Telegraph, 2017)

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