This is a lie but I believed it for a whole week: I would have been happy whoever won this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
I mean, I would’ve been happy whichever one of these particular three won. Let’s not get carried away. Matt Baker, Pamela Stephenson, Kara Tointon, any one of them could’ve won and whichever one pulled it off, I was certain I would be happy.
Until the gap between the two shows. Twitter scuttlebutt had it that Pamela was doing well: people trying to phone vote for her seemed to be having more difficulty getting through than others. So much for Twitter, but I realised that in fact I would be very disappointed if she beat Kara.
Then we came back from the break and Pamela was out
And I was disappointed again.
But maybe you don’t want me to detail my minute-by-minute disappointments and satisfactions, you don’t want me to count my blessings or alphabetise my woes. Instead, let’s look at the big disappointment of the night.
The show dances.
I’ve looked forward to these all week and none of them worked. Pamela’s was the best by a considerable way but it wasn’t tremendous. Kara’s timing was worse than mine and Matt’s had great, great and three times great moments but an hour’s wait in between each one.
You didn’t hear this because you weren’t here but Angela said it first: the show was wrong to make them do four dances. If they’d given us three and padded out the time with more Take That or something, perhaps there would’ve been chance for the show dances to be polished.
Yet, despite the highlight of the night being weak, this really was the best final we’ve had in years. Now it’s perhaps easy to see and to say that Kara was certain to win but at 7pm on Saturday night, you did not know. More, there was no Christopher Parker, no Ann Widdecombe. There was no one who seemed to be incorrectly favoured: to this day I smart over Darren Gough snatching the trophy from Zoe Ball back in 2005.
Grief. Five years ago. I should probably get over that.
I do think Matt Baker was incorrectly marked or perhaps not incorrectly, more unjustly. His opening dance was a rousing, roaring start and it put him right back in the very top of the frame for me. I have no technical knowledge, no technical skill, I do this by what connects with me somehow and I thought he had it there.
Then Kara had that same thing tenfold so to give her marks that were close to the heavily criticised Matt seemed wrong. I don’t often disagree with Craig but saying she was better than last time and then giving her the same score had me looking at him. Yes, exactly like that.
I’ll let him off eventually: you know I’m not one to bear grudges. I can’t bear them at all.
And part of Strictly is its friendliness: writer Ken Armstrong commented on Twitter that: “If I had to say a difference, I would say that ‘Strictly’ is a good-natured show while the ‘Other One’ is not. There was camaraderie and delight from contestants in the friends they have made. It seemed real.”
He’s right: it’s one of those observations that seems obvious once it’s been made yet I’d not thought it before. Strictly is built on a spirit that seems to extend out to its audience and I’m going to miss that.
Because it’s Sunday night and there’s no results show. Tomorrow there won’t be an It Takes Two. You’ll be aware that next Saturday is December 25 when there’s some big quasi-religious event, Doctor Who or something, but there is also a special Strictly at 7pm.
John Barrowman and Ronni Ancona are among the new celebrity dancers. What did they feel when they were asked? It must be fantastic to get the call from Strictly but then to be effectively told it’s a one-off and you’ll never get the main series, how does that feel?
And while I’m asking you questions, what will Kara and Artem have to talk about now?
Myself, I’m going back to blogging about what we write and what we write with, when we can be bothered to write. Strictly is out, my own prattling is back in – starting shortly with my Doctor Who audio. But that’s another story.
Thanks for the comments and the tweets and the nattering. That’s why I did this on my own blog this year when, for production reasons, it couldn’t continue on RadioTimes.com.
So, altogether now: keeeeeeeeep nattering.