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This entry discusses the British version of Strictly, a show known under its U.S. version as Dancing With the Stars. There are several other versions, which can go into their own entries.
The show debuted in 2004. Now (2011) on its ninth season, it's a Celebrity Talent Show in which 14 celebrities are paired up with professional dancers, the latter of whom have to teach the former how to dance. They dance each week and one couple is voted off each week via a combination of judges' scores and public voting until the final three compete in the final.
Each dance is marked out of ten by the four judges who consist of:
- Craig Revel Horwood - the nastiest and most brutally honest of the four judges. Likes anything innovative or unusual.
- Len Goodman - the head judge and has a tendency to be nicer, although he is a traditionalist.
- Alesha Dixon - the 2007 champion and the most sympathetic judge.
- Bruno Tonioli - generally quite generous, flamboyant and Camp Gay (Craig is bisexual, but it's less obvious with him).
Until 2009, Arlene Philips was a judge, but was replaced with Alesha Dixon, much to the disgust of news hacks the land over. A fifth judge, in the form of former prima ballerina Darcey Bussell was also added for the quarter finals onwards for that year only. It has been announced that Dixon is jumping ship for Britain's Got Talent, meaning a new judge will take over in 2012.
Some recurring types of contestant appear:
- Late-middle-aged male TV presenter who usually goes out in the first couple of rounds. Unless we're talking about John Sergeant, who survived nine rounds due to the public vote, despite low judge markings and active statements by them that he should go, before sensationally pulling out of the 2008 contest on 19 November.
- "Lads' mag favourite" female who does quite well.
- Medium-fame female singer.
- Well-known, somewhat hunky, sportsman.
- Christmas Cake older actress.
- Actor or Actresses from a soap opera (generally Eastenders or Coronation Street). May overlap with any other categories.
The winners to date are:
- Series 1 (spring 2004): Natasha Kaplinsky, beating Christopher Parker
- Series 2 (autumn 2004): Jill Halfpenny, beating Denise Lewis and Julian Clary
- Series 3 (2005): Darren Gough, beating Colin Jackson and Zoe Ball
- Series 4 (2006): Mark Ramprakash, beating Matt Dawson
- Series 5 (2007): Alesha Dixon, beating Matt Di Angelo
- Series 6 (2008): Tom Chambers, beating Rachel Stevens and Lisa Snowdon
- Series 7 (2009): Chris Hollins, beating Ricky Whittle
- Series 8 (2010): Kara Tointon, beating Matt Baker and Pamela Stephenson
- Series 9 (2011): Harry Judd, beating Chelsee Healey and Jason Donovan
This show contains examples of:
- Camp Gay: Bruno and Robin. Not to mention Russell Grant in 2011 and Julian Clary in 2004. Craig too seems to have gotten more and more camper over the years, especially in the side-show "It Takes Two"
- The Cast Showoff: Matt Baker, one of the contestants in 2010, is a trained gymnast and competed for Britain when he was younger. Over the course of the series he did 2 cartwheels, 3 consecutive backflips and a back somersault off the judges' desk (although this wasn't to compensate for being a poor dancer - he was one of the frontrunners of the competition and ultimately came second). Oh, and he can also ride a unicycle.
- Catch Phrase: As well as Brucie's personal phrases, Len Goodman has a particular way of pronouncing "Seven" (Seerrrvvvvveeeeen!)
- Goodman and Forsyth did a gag where the latter asked a series of questions to which the former would answer "Seven", concluding with "What river runs through Bristol?" "Sevvvveerrrrrrnnnnn!". Next week, they had to do it again, properly, as people pointed out the Severn doesn't run through Bristol. It's the Avon...
- Dramatic Pause: taken to excess at times. The Reveal of who's out in each episode takes ages.
- Mr. Fanservice: To judge from the comments on the show's message boards, Matthew Cutler and Brian Fortuna both fill this role. There's also always at least one young, good-looking male amongst the celebrity contestants every year. Unsurprisingly, given the show's predominantly female fanbase, these guys tend to do quite well.
- Only Matthew and Brian? Practically all of the male professionals come under this trope.
- 2011's new pro Pasha definitely comes under this trope.
- Even the Girls Want Her : Visit the SCD forums and count how often the name "Ola Jordan" appears in close proximity to the phrase "girl crush".
- Fan Service: The costumes of a lot of the female dancers (particularly the professional ones) qualify, especially Lilia Kopylova and Ola Jordan, and sometimes the men as well.
- Ola once wore a Sexy Backless Outfit black animal print number with Absolute Cleavage. It looked like it had been sprayed on.
- Ola is married to James Jordan, another of the professionals. Does that make her Mrs Fanservice?
- Also a Truth in Television, as outfits on the professional and even amateur ballroom and latin circuits can be surprisingly racey.
- Filler: Brucie can do filler like nobody's business.
- The VT's played before each routine can count as this.
- Four Point Scale: For Len and Alesha at least (even Ann Widdecombe's salsa warranted a 4 from them). Craig and to a lesser extent Bruno avert this.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: where the judges' comments are concerned, there is no radar and they get away with saying the most outrageous things to the contestants. Also, the Wembley show in the 2011 series included performances to two songs that were, not to put too fine a point on it, about filthy sex: "Relax" and "Come On Eileen". The former had actually been heavily sanitised ("Relax" without the sexual references!) when it was used on sister show So You Think You Can Dance a few months earlier.
- Live but Delayed
- Averted for the Saturday show, which has led to more than one embarassing incident; Bruno used an expletive meaning "nonsense" live on air (the expression in question is usable before the Watershed but strongly frowned upon in a show intended as wholesome family entertainment) and during an argument Len called Craig a "silly sod".
- The Sunday results show from 2007 onwards is pre-recorded on the Saturday night. This means that the elimination is leaked by members of the audience, and in the first year the non-liveness became pretty clear when one of the celebrities appeared thirty minutes after the show had gone out doing live rugby commentary. From France.
- Lyrical Dissonance: The ultimate example would be Matt Baker's romantic Viennese Waltz to Where the Wild Roses Grow though only the first verse and chorus were used so without knowing the whole song you could be excused for not seeing it as such.
- The Mean Brit: Something of a subversion - since SCD is a British show, it has a mean Australian instead, in the form of Craig Revel-Horwood.
- Let's not completely rule out Len Goodman though. Being the traditionalist of the panel and a stickler for the rules, he will mark down a dance if it goes against the status quo e.g. with a routine that has too many lifts. Case in point: Kara and Artem's american smooth in 2010. The other judges gave it 9's and 10's. Len gave it a 6. Why? Because Kara and Artem weren't in hold long enough.
- Market-Based Title: Dancing With the Stars, because the original long running Come Dancing series isn't well known outside the UK.
- Non Gameplay Elimination: Several contestants have had to pull out after suffering injury or bereavement. John Sergeant is the only competitor to leave of his own volition (as he feared he might end up winning the series).
- Pimped-Out Dress: This is fairly common in ballroom dancing.
- Rule of Cool: The opening to Russell Grant's Jive in Wembley Arena.
- To wit, being "fired" out of a cannon. Grant's partner (who choreographed this) was Flavia Cacace, a world champion in Argentine Tango - her performances with professional partner Vincent Simone often appear this way themselves.
- The Runner Up Takes It All: Kara Tointon's acting career since winning series 8 has been far from poor, but runner-up Matt Baker received a bigger boost in his presenting career (his performance on the show resulted in him getting the job as host of The One Show, a role he had been passed over for before because of doubts as to how popular he was).
- Running Gag: Craig's pronounciation of certain words (like "disaaaaastaaaaar", "Ah! May! Zing!" and "Chaaa chaaaa chaaaa"), Anton Du Beke being Bruce's "love child".
- In season 8, Bruno's "Sccccccccott!"
- Shirtless Scene: Happens frequently. Special mention goes to the Halloween pro dance which featured no less than five of the professional male dancers (or former, in the case of Matthew Cutler, who had left the previous year) dancing topless.
- Show Stopper: A really entertaining performance will warrant a standing ovation from the audience.
- Stripperific: Almost all of the dresses worn by the female contestants during the Latin-American dances.
- Technician Versus Performer: The John Sergeant saga. Quite a lot of dancers fit the trope, and the younger performers often provide a serious challenge for the technicians, as their skill increases over the course of the series, but the technicians never learn to really sell a dance. The case in point in 2009 is Chris Hollins, who started off poorly skilled but a good performer, and by the end was both skilled AND a good performer.
- Vapor Wear: The support cups are attached to the dresses.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: A 2008 show had Andrew Castle, a man in his mid-forties, headbanging. During a tango, of all dances.
- Showdances tend to be this in general.