Saturday Night’s Alright

Being employed by ‘the other side’, I feel slightly naughty spending my Saturday night ensconced in BBC Television Centre, but hey-ho, there’s a ticket to Strictly in my pocket and they’re like gold dust these days. So on goes the suit and a big grin and off we go to Studio One.

Reality TV amongst my friends is a bit like marmite. There are those who would give their right arm to be my plus one, whilst others gently deride me for wasting precious hours on some ‘poncing about on the telly’. Responses to my facebook status tell me all I need to know!

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a TV geek; so getting to see how a big prime time show like this is put together is quite thrilling. OK, time to own up, I’ve been before. In fact, I sang to the audience last time I was here, with Zoe Ball egging me on. But that’s another shameless showbiz story…

I think the problem with shows like Strictly these days is that they’ve turned into big business. They’re international franchises now and everyone wants a part of them. The glory days of unpredictable live TV are mere memories. On Air, it’s slick, professional; it glides from section to section like a professional dancer. You could just as easily be watching something recorded from earlier and you’d never know it and largely everyone knows what to expect.

So why do I want to see it? Well, the true joy of sitting in the live studio is getting a good old-fashioned warm-up from Brucie. Watching Gavin Henson spend more time eyeing himself in the monitors than practicing his steps. Seeing Len get all narky at Craig during the VT’s. It’s just magic, and for one night only, you’re access all areas where 13 million others would love to be.

Sitting in the studio, it’s electric. My guest and I are in the ‘friends of celebrities’ section, just behind Jimi Mistri’s mum! She’s very nice. Everyone around us knows how lucky they are to be here, and if our phones hadn’t been confiscated at the door, I’m sure the social networks would be getting a battering too.

This week, it’s Ann Widdecombe who steals the show. Waiting to come in, all talk is of this promised ‘sizzling salsa’ the press have been shouting about. I’m expecting John Sargeant in a dress…. The dancing’s hopeless, of course, but you just can’t help but smile with her. For a few hours, you’re whisked away to a world of showbiz and you come out beaming.

It’s theatre by another name; it’s just that in this case, you get to see what happens backstage too. It’s all right there, nothing’s hidden away. The ‘fabulous Dave Arch and his wonderful orchestra’ are even better to the naked ear. No dodgy sound mix can hide that. I’m even more impressed by the singers, who can sometimes grate on me when I’m watching at home. But really, it’s all about Widdy; a politician I’ve not been able to stomach for as long as I can remember. I’m cheering her on. I’m applauding as she enters; I’m craning to see what she’s up to on the floor. Who’d have thought?

It’s the good old British spirit I guess. Everyone loves an underdog. To hell with the real competition, this is what we really want; an overweight politician making a fool of herself in sequins! I’m sure she’ll be here for many more weeks to come, and good on her. We might differ somewhat in our political opinions, but from now on, I might just give her that little bit more respect.

The Strictly Class of 2010.

The Strictly Come Dancing Class of 2010.

You may also like...