I Hate to Love Strictly Come Dancing

The launch episode of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 was on BBC 1 on Saturday night and I absolutely detest the fact that I loved it.

It is now Season 14 of the popular show since it began in 2004 and last night was the first full episode I have ever watched. I don’t like “competition” TV programmes. I would say talent shows but that sort of implies unknowns hoping to get discovered and make it big. Also, in my head, the phrase “talent show” only applies to music-based programmes such as X Factor or The Voice but I suppose shows like Strictly and The Great British Bake Off are talent shows too.

Anyway, because I don’t like this genre of television (except Bake Off of course, if I could have a third granny, it would be Mary Berry) I tend to steer well away from it. I guess it’s the feeling of: “you should probably have something better to do on a Saturday night rather than watch this.” At least, in my mind, these television programmes are cheesy, uncool and rather annoying. And well, they are cheesy, uncool and rather annoying. But that’s the point!

Saturday’s opening sketch to Strictly was so insanely cringeworthy that my mum (who will watch any TV show going) turned to me and said, “it’s a bit much, isn’t it?” It was. It really was. The opening consisted the whole cast of Strictly judges, professional dancers, and presenters travelling to Earth from Planet Strictly and getting ready for the show on their spaceship which also featured a Darth Vader cameo. It was awful. Extremely awful. And it left you sitting on your sofa cringing into your cup of tea.

Since this was my first episode, that opening was pretty close to making me change channel and pretend that I had never even considered the idea of watching the show…but I powered through. With that, I think anyone who did continue watching deserves a gold star. Well done!

Yes, talent shows are cheesy, uncool and rather annoying. But, they do have their moments and can be genuinely entertaining. I watch Bake Off because I am so in love with the cute quintessentially British feel to the show and am consistently amazed by the bakes that look like works of art whilst also longing for someone to drop their tray whilst taking it out of the oven and having to start all over again. It can be tense, yet funny and just down right lovely.

Strictly, on the other hand seems to just have this feel of trying really hard to be entertaining in a way that is common to a lot of British TV shows of this genre. What I mean by this is, the presenters have their scripted gags and often appear very forced as though they know what they’re saying is exceptionally embarrassing and cringe-worthy but the little voice of their producer in their ear tells them to do it anyway. Strictly Come Dancing is littered with “not actually funny jokes.” Take Claudia Winkelman’s joke about loving a long jumper, for example (referring to Team GB Long jumper, Greg Rutherford while also wearing a long jumper – get it? hahahahahaha).

This is obviously not what the complete show is made up of-just some moments are too far. However, people stay for the good bits. After all, Saturday’s launch episode got a record number of views, an average of 9.3 million, for any of their previous series’ launches. And on Saturday night, I added to the number of viewers and even stayed for the whole episode.

The Class of 2016 consists of: Will Young, Louise Redknapp, Ed Balls, Laura Whitmore, Ore Oduba, Daisy Lowe, Tameka Empson, Danny Mac, Naga Munchetty, Judge Rinder, Lesley Joseph, Greg Rutherford, Claudia Fragapane, Melvin Odoom, and Anastacia.

There are also 6 new professional dancer’s this year (not that I would’ve realised – first time watcher).

The episode did drag on a bit with only really and handful of dance performances so the first episode is probably to be the most cringiest due to the fact there is a lot of, “let’s meet this celebrity,” “ooh, I’m really nervous, but excited,” “I can’t wait to see what is in store,” “Yes! I am so happy with my partner that I have only known for a few days, what was their name again?” Okay, maybe not quite the last one but it’s what they were thinking, right?

This post looks just like a rant about why Strictly Come Dancing is awful, but it’s not. I really enjoyed it last night. I genuinely loved watching it. It wasn’t funny but after all, it is just light entertainment (unless you’re one of those utterly devoted fans who vote every week, seen every episode, and could probably tell you every winner and say their name backwards).

I loved seeing who each celebrity would be paired with (and guessing with my mum based on their height – we got most of them right, just saying), the sparkly outfits, the occasional humorous moment, the couple of dances that we were given, and just the general feel of: wait ’til you see what we have in store…

It’s easy to list the things wrong with the show but it’s sort of hard to pinpoint exactly what makes it so watchable. It might be the pretty sparkly outfits or quite simply the process of amateurs learning from professionals and improving their dance skills each week. Whatever it is, I’ll be here until the final in December so you can expect a post on why I hate that I loved the final too.

I didn’t enjoy every second of Strictly Come Dancing as it tried too hard at moments. However, despite it being cheesy, uncool and rather annoying. I love it…but I hate the fact that I do.

This year’s celebrities



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