Monthly Archives: October 2014

Strictly Week 5

Strictly week 5. So who reached the summit and who didn’t leave base camp?

Keeping the couple order for the table as for week 2 rather than change the order every week, to make ease of comparison.

Couple Dance Song Scores (see *) Leaderboard Position Comment
Thom and Iveta Cha Cha It’s My Party 6,7,7,7=27
M 6
9 This looked more like a salsa. A bit stiff in the legs.
ELIMINATED in week 5
Jennifer and Tristan ———— ———– ———— ————— Dance off in week 2
ELIMINATED Week 3
Simon and Kristina Viennese Waltz Somebody to Love 7,7,7,7=28
M 8
8 Pleasant VW. Kept rotation going.
Dance off in week 3
Dance off in week 5
Gregg and Aliona ———— ———– ———— ————— ELIMINATED Week 2
Alison and Aljaž Tango Addicted to You 5,6,6,6=23
M 4
10 As I suspected, this didn’t suit her. Her poor footwork was highlighted here. Not sharp enough.
Jake and Janette Quickstep I’m Still Standing 7,8,8,8=31
M 7
5 A bit frenetic and not quite polished enough.
Judy and Anton Charleston Varsity Drag 3,5,5,5=18
M 4
12 She is improving, but slowly. The skipping bit in the middle was good and she managed the lifts reasonably well. Yes, Anton did the main work, but she did help him.
Caroline and Pasha Paso doble Live and Let Die 8,9,8,9=34
M 8
2 Good routine with plenty of attack and did well to do the paso to the music.
Tim and Natalie ———— ———– ———— ————– ELIMINATED Week 4
Sunetra and Brendan Viennese Waltz Anyone Who Had a Heart 7,7,8,8=30
M 8
6 Very pleasing VW.
Mark and Karen Samba That’s The Way I Like It 8,9,8,8=33
M 8
3 Another dodgy music choice, but Mark did very well and it was a good routine.
Dance off in week 4
Scott and Joanne Charleston Flash Bang Wallop (What a Picture) 4,5,5,5=19
M 2
11 Spent most of the routine walking,sitting and trying to lift Joanne. He managed some comedy faces and mimed photo taking, but very poor.
Pixie and Trent Samba I Yi Yi Yi Yi 8,9,9,9=35
M 8
1 good rhythm and body movement but lacked some bounce.
Steve and Ola Waltz I Wonder Why 7,8,7,8=30
M 7
7 Steve could be a ballroom boy, not a Latin one. This suited him very well indeed.
Frankie and Kevin Foxtrot Daydream Believer 8,8,8,8=32
M 8
4 Very enjoyable routine. A foxtrot can be boring, but Kevin’s showbiz ending lifted it at the end.

Created with the HTML Table Generator

* Scores: 4 numbers showing the scores from Craig, Darcey,Len and Bruno in order with total. The next number shown as M is my score.

Dance of the Week

I enjoyed a lot of the dances this week. Contenders were Sunetra’s and Brendan’s Viennese waltz, and Frankie and Kevin’s foxtrot, but I decided to go with the top of the leaderboard for Caroline and Pasha’s paso doble. The music wasn’t the best for a paso but they did an excellent job, so kudos to them for that.

Dress of the Week

Quite a few candidates for this and I can’t choose between them so here is Frankie’s and then Ola’s. Frankie and Kevin danced a very nice foxtrot to Daydream Believer then Steve and Ola did a lovely waltz to I Wonder Why.

Lovely hairdos, makeup and accessories of the week!

I don’t normally comment on this, but I thought Frankie and Sunetra in particular had lovely hair, makeup and accessories this week.

Sunetra danced to Anyone Who Had a Heart and the 60s theme was carried though to Sunetra’s hair. Her earrings were beautiful too!

Most Inappropriate Music of the Week

Caroline and Pasha dancing a Paso Doble to Live and Let Die. The changing time of this tune made this a difficult job but they did very well indeed and used the drama of the piece to great effect, making them top of the leaderboard.

Not really inappropriate per se, but Jake and Jannette did a quickstep to “I’m Still Standing”. For me this music will forever be associated with series 2 winners Jill Halfpenny and Darren Bennett, for whom it was their signature jive dance. There aren’t that many signature dances but this is one, so I would have preferred the producers to choose something else.

Claudia and Tess

It seems that Claudia’s sense of humour irritates some people, and that the Halloween piece annoyed some. Well not me, I love her quirky sense of humour and I feel that she and Tess really get on. In the Halloween skit, Claudia appeared in a white ghost sheet behind Tess. Tess informed her that it was Halloween next week. She took off the sheet, and then the camera focussed briefly on he next couple to dance. When the camera came back to Tess, Claudia had her vampire teeth in, which she took out, looked sheepish for a moment and then proceeded to try and get Tess to put them in!

Thom goes on the charm offensive

After saying that his Mum was in the audience, queue camera to show Mum, Thom told Claudia “You look lovely, by the way”. She looks embarrassed then says “It goes on”, followed by a look to camera. It was embarrassing and endearing at the same time!

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Scott and Joanne’s Charleston

The Charleston is a gift to those with who haven’t many dancing skills, and bottom table stalwarts Scott and Judy both got this dance this week. First up, Scott and his pro partner Joanne, who did a routine to Flash, Bang, Wallop (what a picture). Pro Joanne created a routine which involved as little dancing as possible for Scott! They did lots of miming taking photographs, lifting, sitting and walking. Joanne’s gurning was turned up to level 10!

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They rowed a boat on the floor…

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Scott attempts to lift Joanne.

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I know this one looks like a lift gone wrong, but it was actually meant to look like this!

Judy and Anton’s Charleston

Next Judy and her pro partner Anton. They danced to Varsity Drag, which was a good song for a Charleston. The theme was boating, so they started in a boat.

They got out, did some dancing using the oars, then got down to some lifting, jumping and such like.

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Judy does a swimming motion

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Anton throws Judy about

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Judy did show potential though, and it was an entertaining dance. Scott’s was just painful.
Results Show

Not quite sure why we got a cowboy themed pro dance to kick off the show, but it was entertaining enough. I was wondering who the new bearded pro was when he suddenly got out his lasso! It seems that this was Jimmy Johnston, who is an actor who has appeared in musicals, notably Oklahoma and is rather handy with a lasso! After doing a solo lasso piece, the musical number ended with him lassoing Tess and Claudia to the centre of the stage.

In the “Len’s lens” segment of the show, Claudia showed us something that we the viewers didn’t see just after she and Tess did their introduction.

Here is Jimmy, focussing on the lovely Tess and Claudia… He then didn’t look where he was going, and walked and tripped over the hay bale, feet flying into the air and then scrambling over the top! Claudia and Tess hadn’t reacted and we at home had been unaware of Jimmy’s unintentional comedy exit!

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So long Jimmy

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Jimmy walks away

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Jimmy going too fast to stop at hay bale

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Jimmy walks into hay bale

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Jimmy legs go up

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Jimmy collapses

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He drags his legs over

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Jimmy’s head appears!

Culture Club
Culture Club were on singing Karma Charmeleon. For a start, I didn’t know they had reformed. A quick internet search revealed they are on tour in the UK in December. Well, on the evidence of this performance if I had tickets I’d be a bit worried. This was rather a lacklustre performance and Boy George’s voice seems to have deteriorated. This is a shame if it is permanent because in my opinion he had one of the standout voices to come out of the 80s music scene. Below pros Aliona and Tristan and Karen and Kevin do their best to distract the audience from Boy George’s singing.

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The One Two That Got Away

Below, the moment that Scott and Joanne showed their shock at getting though to the next week. The nation shared their shock too.

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The wooden gang got away with it again. Bruno said Scott was the love child of John Sergeant (series 6 2008) and Ann Widdecombe (series 8 2010) .To be fair though, John Sergeant wasn’t that bad, particularly when it came to ballroom. To those who have watched Strictly from the start, I think we’re talking Chris Parker (series 1, spring 2004) and Quentin Willson (series 2, autumn 2004) levels of left footdom here. Quentin was voted off in week 1 but Chris Parker got to the final, eventually losing to worthy winner Natasha Kaplinsky.

Judy also managed to avoid the dance off, as did Alison who produced a flat footed and lacklustre tango.

Right Couples in Dance Off?

Well, duh, no!

Well Thom tried it all. Having his almost identical looking brother in the VT, waving at his Mum who was in the audience, having his shirt open down to the waist, complimenting Claudia. All to no avail. You were trying too hard Thom, if you’d just danced like a plank of wood from week 1 you’d have been fine. You don’t have One Direction on speed dial either.

Simon did a very nice Viennese Waltz, but it still didn’t stop him for being in the dance off again after just two weeks.

For the first time this series, the judges were not unanimous in their decision. At first, it looked like curtains for Simon because judges Craig and Darcey voted for Thom, but then judge Bruno voted for Simon, forcing head judge to have the casting vote. Len, being a stickler for footwork and a tendency to support ballroom. saved Simon and that was it, goodbye Thom. As all the judges said, it was very difficult to choose between Simon and Thom as both were good but in different ways. I gave Thom dance of the week last week, and I stick by that. I thought it was a was good dance, and it is a shame he has gone so soon. Who would I have picked to save? Probably Thom on balance (pun not intended!) but it was a difficult choice.

Below, Iveta and Thom say their thanks and have their final dance to I try by Macy Gray, its chorus being …

“I try to say goodbye and I choke
I try to walk away and I stumble
Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
My world crumbles when you are not near
Goodbye and I choke
I try to walk away and I stumble
Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
My world crumbles when you are not near”

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Random Comments

  • Why did they interview Babs Windsor and Jaime Murray in the audience? Other celebs have been in the audience before and haven’t been interviewed.
  • Following on from previous Abba and Elvis punathons, Claudia launched into a Queen punathon after Simon and Kristina danced to a Queen song. “Everyone tonight is Under pressure because tomorrow night Another one bites the dust. Don’t let it be Simon.” listening to ear piece, “What’s that? Don’t stop me now. I’m having such a good time. I’m having a ball. The show must go on. Tess to Claudia “What you do Is a kind of magic“.


Next Week

It’s Halloween week but the real nightmare scenario would be a final consisting of Alison,Scott and Judy.

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Why did they have to go and name it Forever?

Of the recent batch of new shows from across the pond there is one show I really like. I love quirky. I love police procedurals and I love fantasy, so it’s as if they made this one just for me. Unfortunately they had to tempt fate didn’t they and name it Forever. At the moment, it is one of the shows with an uncertain future, living under the spectre of cancellation of the American networks’ Fall season cull.

Alana de la Garza and Ioan Gruffudd as Det Jo Martinez and  Dr Henry Morgan

Forever stars British actor Ioan Gruffudd, probably best known for the Fantastic Four films and ITV series Hornblower. He is just one of many Brit actors who are helming or playing major roles in American series at the moment. To name just a few we have David Bradley in The Strain, Sean Bean in Legends, Jonny Lee Miller in Elementary, Sean Pertwee in Gotham, Chris Eccleston in The Leftovers, David Tennant in Gracepoint.

Of these, the ones I’m staying with are Elementary (now in its third season) and freshman series Gotham and Forever. More of Gotham when I’ve seen more episodes, but firstly, Forever. Forever, is a police procedural drama with strong Sherlock Holmes tendencies and the added twist that Henry Morgan, the local medical examiner is immortal.

When I first heard his name, I wondered if Forever’s Henry Morgan had anything to do with the pirate of the same name. Ioan Gruffudd and Morgan were also both born in Wales! Probably just a coincidence or maybe the writer likes pirates!

Anyway, Morgan is approximately 200 years old and whenever he suffers a fate that would normally kill an ordinary mortal, he experiences the death with all the pain it entails but then he finds himself recovered, in the nearest body of water, naked, his body having disappeared from wherever his “death” occurred. He has no idea why this happens or why he has been “chosen” in this way. He has spent his many lifetimes searching for an answer, and as well as being a doctor, he has honed his deduction skills to a level that would rival Sherlock Holmes. When not doing his current job as medical examiner at the local morgue, he is to be found working in his laboratory at his home at a local antiquities store. The store owner, who also lives there, is 70 year old Holocaust survivor Abe. He is the only person who knows Henry’s secret. Henry met his wife Abigail when they were in the British army during the Second World War, and came across an orphan baby, saved from the concentration camps. They adopted the baby, who was called Abe. The relationship between Abe and Henry is a fascinating one. Abe looks like Henry’s father but Henry had already lived a couple of lifetimes before Abe was a baby. Each character has moments of behaviour as father and son. Each envies the other, and each feels sorry for the other. As Abe says to Henry though “Who has had a more interesting life than us?”. Abe is played by Judd Hirsch who is a familiar face on American TV but is probably best remembered in the UK for his lead role in the 70s/80s sitcom Taxi.

Henry comes to the attention of Detective Jo Martinez (Alana de la Garza, best known for NBC’s Law and Order) when he is the medical examiner for a case she is working on. His Holmesian attention to detail and abrupt manner both annoy and intrigue her. When the case becomes a murder investigation with Morgan as prime suspect, he manages to convince her of his innocence using his medical know how and deductive skills, and finding the real killer. When the next homicide she is working on involves an ornate ancient sword, she requests him to help her on the case, and so begins their ongoing working relationship. Henry and Jo are purely work colleagues at this stage, and each has reasons for not wanting a relationship. Henry’s reasons are obvious, and we see flashbacks of Henry and his wife Abigail in the 1940s/1950s. Jo’s husband died a year ago of a heart attack and is still grieving but Henry is drawn to helping her, as he is the foremost authority on losing someone, although Jo doesn’t know that!

When helping Detective Martinez on cases, Morgan has many lifetimes of knowledge to draw on. When in potentially dangerous situations, he has to be careful. Dying in itself is not a problem and if he is alone he can sometimes be reckless, but being seen to die and have his body disappear would be a massive problem! Working with Morgan at the Medical Examiner’s office is Lucas (played by Joel David Moore). He is in awe of Henry and tries to be pally with him, but gets nowhere! His awkwardness can provide some light relief in the episode, and occasionally give Morgan a lightbulb moment which helps him get a breakthrough in a case.

Complicating the situation is that after 200 years of believing he was unique, it seems that he is not alone and that there is someone called “Adam” who is watching him, sending him sinister and knowing messages and phoning him up. Adam phones Henry and tells him that he has been “researching” him to find out why Henry still cared. He informs Henry that the first 200 years are easy, and that Henry is a mere child in immortal terms. When Henry asks how old Adam is, he shockingly tells him he is 2000 years old, and when Henry asks for a meet up, he declines saying they have all the time in the world. We only see Adam wearing a hood so we don’t know what he looks like. He is literally a shady character, and Henry and the audience do not know what Adam’s intentions are. Adam is an unnerving presence in Henry’s life, intervening with messages and calls during his cases with Jo and when he as at home with Abe, who doesn’t know about Adam yet.

Another interesting aspect to the show are the flashbacks to Henry’s past lives and the people he has known and lost.

There is also the fundamental mystery that Henry is trying to solve. Why him? Why, when he dies, does he transfer to the nearest body to be “reborn” naked?

So, good cast with a charismatic lead, intriguing fantasy based central premise with stand-alone police procedurals, promising “villain”, potential for flashback stories, ongoing story arc etc. At time of writing there were 7 episodes, plus ABC had requested three more scripts. This doesn’t mean these extra scripts will make it to air but I remain hopeful.

If this show does get cancelled it will be a great shame indeed and I will be very sad to not see Henry’s story explored.

Forever airs on ABC on Tuesdays in the States and on Sky 1 on Thursday in the UK at 9pm (with various repeats)

Strictly Week 4

Strictly week 4. So who flew high this week and who plummeted?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping the couple order for the table as for week 2 rather than change the order every week, to make ease of comparison.

Couple Dance Song Scores (see *) Leaderboard Position Comment
Thom and Iveta Foxtrot Build Me Up Buttercup 6 8 8 8 =30
M 8
6 Enjoyable foxtrot
Jennifer and Tristan ————– —————– ——— —————– Dance off in week 2
ELIMINATED Week 3
Simon and Kristina Charleston My Old Man (Said Follow The Van) 7 8 8 8 =31
M 8
5 Good energetic dance, with plenty of personality. Dance off in week 3
Gregg and Aliona ————– —————– ——— —————– ELIMINATED Week 2
Alison and Aljaž Samba Bootylicious 6 7 7 7 =28
M 6
=8 Good rhythm and musicality but no real bounce, well not on the legs anyway!
Jake and Janette Jive All Shook Up 8 9 8 8=33
M 8
=1 plenty of energy and he did the kicks and flicks well, but slipped in one of the moves.
Judy and Anton Tango Jealousy 4 6 6 6 =22
M 4
11 Anton’s usual play acting at the start, then threw Judy, which she also managed. Some stiff tango moves followed by an ambitious jump which came off well luckily!
Caroline and Pasha Quickstep We Go Together 8 8 9 8 =33
M 7
=1 energetic quickstep but a few missteps.
Tim and Natalie Paso Doble The Best 3 6 5 5 =19
M 2
12 random stomping about. Attempted some shaping and did some cape swishing but a mess really.
ELIMINATED Week 4
Sunetra and Brendan Salsa Turn the Beat Around 6 7 7 7 =27
M 6
=8 Energetic but missed some steps and possibility a lift too.
Mark and Karen Quickstep Tiger Feet 7 7 7 8=29
M 7
7 A lot of trotting, then kicking in the centre then a bit of jive. *see inappropriate music of the week
Dance off in week 4
Scott and Joanne American Smooth Total Eclipse of the Heart 2 5 4 4 =15
M 2
13 He tries hard, but pretty awful. It’s hard to tell what are mistakes and what are actual moves!
Pixie and Trent Rumba Stay With Me 8 8 8 8 =32
M 8
=3 Beautifully danced and the split leg drag was amazing, but not too many rumba moves.
Steve and Ola Salsa Jump the Line 6 7 7 7 =27
M 6
=8 Good at shimmying his top half but has stiff and blocky movement in the legs.
Frankie and Kevin Cha Cha Call Me Maybe 8 8 8 8 =32
M 8
=3 Good, but slightly stiff hips and legs.

Created with the HTML Table Generator

* Scores: 4 numbers showing the scores from Craig, Darcey,Len and Bruno in order with total. The next number shown as M is my score.

Dance of the Week

No major stand out dance for me this week, as I thought the leading pack were slightly under par. For this reason, I’ve picked Thom and Iveta’s foxtrot as I feel he has improved from last week and it was a charming dance.

Dress of the Week

Professional dancer, Karen’s beautiful white dress for her and Mark’s quickstep. I suspect all the budget went on this as they must have used tissue paper for Brendan’s trousers (which he split in the *ahem* crotch area!)
Beautiful strap detailing on the back.
 

OMG moment

Judy and Anton’s tango, or Anton’s “throw Judy about with some play acting and maybe a bit of tango” as it actually was. Fair play to Judy though for literally throwing herself into it and to Anton for catching her. It could have gone horribly wrong.

Most Inappropriate Music of the Week

Mark and Karen having to dance a quickstep to “Tiger Feet”. It was too fast and they resorted to trotting round the floor then doing some kicks and flicks in the middle of the floor and then, doing some jive then more trotting. Interesting that last week’s and this week’s “inappropriate music” couple have been in the dance off.

Results Show

Entertainment

The show kicked off with a pro dance (below) to “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic, which I enjoyed.

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga singing “Anything Goes” and then “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing”. I wasn’t that impressed with this. Bennett looked slightly bemused by it all and sang o.k. but Lady Gaga was rather shouty. Gaga had left her meat costume at home but had opted to use the bacofoil for a floor length number with side cape and a Cher circa 1980s wig. She did thank the dancers, though, which was courteous of her. Natalie and Trent did lovely dances to both numbers.

The One Two That Got Away

Scott and Joanne. I had to think what dance they did just now as other than the lifts, it didn’t look like an American Smooth at all! Poor Scott, he really has no rhythm. Even the walk on to the stage looked bad!

Right Couples in Dance Off?

Tim yes, Mark no. I think Mark suffered from the inappropriate music choice and should have more weeks in him yet. It should have been Scott and Tim in the dance off. Although I’ve enjoyed Tim’s appearances up to now, the paso didn’t suit him. However, in a dance off against Scott, Tim would have had my vote as it soon became apparent in his final dance with Natalie that Tim has some dance ability unlike poor Scott! In the dance off against Mark, unsurprisingly all the judges chose to save Mark.

Tim and Natalie’s goodbye dance (Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac) was a joy. Tim was the epitome of good manners and spirit of Strictly and had obviously enjoyed the experience, as had Natalie, who for the record, is my favourite female pro. I really hope she gets a “contender” next year. The little glitterball that Tim presented her with on companion programme It Takes Two this week needs to be exchanged for the real thing!

Above and below, Tim showing that he does have some “moves”! Surviving couple, Mark and Karen applauding.

Above, Tim and Natalie in the middle, being applauded by fellow contestants, pros and Tess and Claudia.

Random Comments

  • Why did a male singer sing “My Old Man” for Simon and Kristina’s dance? This song is traditionally sung by a female.
  • Loved Claudia’s “A Donny 10 is half a normal 10, just kidding!” Voiced what we all knew.
  • A “well done” to Natalie Lowe for keeping a straight face during her and Tim’s paso. The matador outfit looked ridiculous on him.
  • Are wardrobe skimping on the male trousers material this year? That’s Kevin last week and now Brendan splitting his trousers.
  • Following on from last week’s Abba punathon, Claudia did an Elvis Presley one as Jake and Janette danced to “All shook up”. We got If you “can’t help fallin’ in love” with Jake and don’t want to see him “return to sender”, call. If you don’t he could end up in “heartbreak hotel” or worse still, “crying in the chapel”. Listening to earpiece. What? “A little less conversation”.

Next Week

What horrors will Scott and us endure and will another pro male split his pants?

Goodbye Our Zoo

imageA week ago we said goodbye to the Mottershead family (above)  in Our Zoo, but not permanently I hope. I’m sure that no-one had thought about how Chester Zoo came into being, or if they had, that it would make one of the most endearing and compelling pieces of drama for many years, but that is what it has proved to be. Whoever commissioned this  needs a massive pat on the back, because it has been a joy from start to finish, froimagem the opening scene of George Mottershead and young June going to the circus right though to the closing shot (above) of the awestruck, smiling faces of June and George looking into the van containing  a roaring big cat (the reflection of the animal can just be seen in the van’s window). Obviously Chester Zoo is successful and still thrives today, so the “will they succeed” storyline was never in any doubt,  So it was down to the writer and actors to make the audience identify with the Mottersheads and make them believe that it was indeed a wonderful but virtually impossible dream. The cast playing the Mottersheads have been exemplary. Lee Ingleby as George,  Liz White as his wife Lizzie, Anne Reid as his mother Lucy, Peter Wight as father Albert, Amelia Clarkson as teenage daughter Muriel “Mew”, and Ralf Little as  Lizzie’s brother. Special mention to young actress Honor Kneafsey as June, George and Lizzie’s youngest daughter, who narrates some of the story and on whose book the drama is based. Honor was totally believable and put in a winning performance as the little girl who loved animals and whose enthusiasm and love for her Dad drove him on.

Praise to the actors playing the “villains of the piece”. Heroes can only be such, if they have great adversaries to deal with and  Stephen Campbell-Moore was superb as the manipulative Reverend. Hayley Carmichael as  Camilla Radler the shopkeeper as his “accomplice” and Jason Watkins as the councillor doing everything in his power to stop the Mottersheads get their zoo.

The supportive good guys, Sophia Myles as Lady Katherine, the posh lady with dubious moral character according to the councillor. Tom Hardman as the shopkeeper’s son, Archie, postman and who is sweet on the teenage Muriel “Mew” Mottershead. Faye Brooks as Frankie, secretary to Jason Watkins but secretly dating Billy. The young village doctor, Doctor Ford, played by Hugh Skinner, who was a good man who treated the Mottersheads’ black bears when they were sick but was manipulated by the Reverend to sign the petition against the Mottersheads, because of his “position in the community”.

Celia Imrie had a guest turn as Lady Goodwin who was taken with Mortimer the monkey who reminded her of her late husband (!) and wanted to buy Mortimer.  Mortimer belonged to George’s youngest daughter June, so this wasn’t going to happen, but George hit on the idea of sponsoring an animal which allowed Lady Goodwin to visit Mortimer when she pleased.

As to which of these characters (other than the Mottersheads themselves) really existed or whether they a dramatic representation of the general opposition the family faced doesn’t matter.  It all worked very well.

Something which rarely gets mentioned is music and opening titles. Like everything else in this production, first class. Nick Green’s lovely theme full of innocence and beauty played over the opening titles of pictures of June with the animals. The score was beautifully nuanced, adding to the drama but never overpowering it.

Also, please can the sound mixers in this programme hold a masterclass to other drama producers because there wasn’t one moment of “what did they say?” in this whole series.

Also, to everyone behind the scenes, be it costume, set design and of course the animal handlers who must have had one heck of a job, thanks.

Mortimer (monkey), Sydney (camel), Adam and Eve, Gilbert and Sulliivan (the bears) and the rest of the animals, you were great!

This programme just has to get a second series, because as George himself would say, “put some beauty in the world”.

Strictly Week 3

Strictly goes to the movies this week. Who was in a blockbuster and who was in a turkey?
Keeping the couple order for the table as for week 2 rather than change the order every week, to make ease of comparison.
Couple Dance Song Scores (see *) Leaderboard Position Comment
Thom and Iveta Charleston New York, New York 7.8,7,8,8=38
M 7
6 Enjoyable routine. Not too many Charleston moves, more a broadway routine, which worked for this music. Good energy,
Jennifer and Tristan Foxtrot Mamma Mia 3,5,5,5,5=28
M= 3
=12 Is this a foxtrot?! Loads out of hold. Lots of play acting.
Simon and Kristina Rumba Take My Breath Away 4,6,7,6,7=30
M 5
9 Not enough hips, flat.
Gregg and Aliona ————– —————— —————— —————– ELIMINATED Week 2
Alison and Aljaž Jive Footloose 4,5,7,6,6=28
M 4
10 Very flat footed. No bounce. Not much content. Not many kicks and flicks.
Jake and Janette Waltz Godfather waltz 8,8,8,8,8=40
M 8
=4 This was almost a tango/waltz fusion. Beautifully acted but not a lot of rise and fall.
Judy and Anton Quickstep Don’t Rain On My Parade 3,5,5,5,5=23
M 4
=12 Not much travel, or skipping but in hold with Anton, better. Her best dance to date, and her stiffness worked in her favour on holding herself on the “illegal” lift at the end!
Caroline and Pasha Rumba I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing 8,8,9,8,9=42
M 8
3 Nice rumba action, and lovely in-hold spins.
Tim and Natalie Charleston Money,Money 2,5,5,5,5=22
M 3
14 Dreadful yet entertaining, but no Charleston! Could just about do a Groucho Marx style walk!
Sunetra and Brendan American Smooth The Way You Look Tonight 7,8,8,9,8=40
M 8
=4 Lovely routine. Good foxtrot base. Sunetra kept in time with Brendan when side by side and exuded charm.
Mark and Karen Paso Doble Theme from Superman 6,6,9,7,7=35
M 7
7 paso lines poor, but plenty of oomph and strangely entertaining!
Scott and Joanne Samba Under the Sea 2,5,7,5,6=25
M 2
11 Terrible. No bounce. Flat footed. Even his costume as a crab fitted badly, yet it was entertaining!
Pixie and Trent Quickstep Be Our Guest 7,9,9,9,9=43
M 8
2 Great routine. Some charleston moves. Exuberant and light.
Steve and Ola Quickstep I Wanna Be Like You 6,7,6,7,8=34
M 6
8 Swung in rope. Not much quickstep. Threw in some flat footed jive or charleston.
Frankie and Kevin Paso Doble America 8,9,10,9,9=45
M 9
1 Brilliant. Great timing, attitude and musicality.
Created with the HTML Table Generator
* Scores : 5 numbers showing the scores from Craig, Darcey, Donny, Len and Bruno in order with total. The next number shown as M is my score.
 
Strictly at the movies.
 
Nice dresses ladies.
 
Great opening number ” There’s No Business Like Show Business” . Some people don’t like the theme weeks, but as long as there aren’t too many, I think they’re fun.

 

Dance of the Week
Frankie and Kevin’s Paso Doble to “America” from West Side Story

Dress of the week
wpid-photo-20141012015311.jpg

Sunetra and Brendan

I nearly chose pro Natalie Lowe again this week, as I loved her 1920s flapper dress for the Charleston, but I decided to go with Sunetra’s beautiful red “Ginger Rogers” inspired dress for her and Brendan’s American Smooth. No flying feathers though!

Super and Puntastic Claudia
Claudia has a great sense of humour and this week’ s movie theme brought out some funny visual gags and some great cringeworthy puns, the best being:
For Jake’s Godfather we had:
If you don’t want to see Jake sleep with the fishes
For Jennifer’s Abba Mamma Mia we had:
You know “The Name of the Game”, if you thought Jennifer was a “Supertrouper” then don’t let this be her “Waterloo”, “Ring, Ring”.
“Take a Chance” on this “Dancing Queen”. Don’t send out an “S.O.S” because “The Winner Takes It All”.
Followed by Tess “Oh, and Dave Arch, “Thankyou for the Music”!
For Scott’s “Under the Sea” routine dressed as a crab we had:
Please don’t be koi. They wanna keep their plaice! You can mullet over till the lines open at the end of the show. It would be shellfish not to!
For Thom, who was dressed as a sailor
If Thom and Iveta’s maiden voyage had you shouting “Ahoy”, then it’s all hands on deck to cast away your votes.
Jake and Janette danced to the theme from the Godfather.
Claudia and “the best we could get at short notice” horse’s head!
wpid-photo-201410120153112.jpg
Mark and Karen danced a Paso Doble to The Superman theme.
Claudia and her cardboard superman pants on her dress!

 

Most Inappropriate Music of the Week
Jennifer and Tristan’s foxtrot to Mamma Mia by Abba. Yet another song more suited to a Cha Cha. This probably went towards why they didn’t really do a foxtrot, but a theatrical routine instead.

 

Donny Osmond, Guest Judge
Didn’t really bring anything to the party other than an extra mark.
Seemed a bit all over the shop on the marking front. 9 for Mark! 7 for Alison and 7 for Scott, yes Scott!
 
Not too sure, but Tess might have ruined a knowing reference or joke from Donny. He started to say “Help Me, Help Me” when referring to what a contestant might be thinking. This was a lyric from Donny’s big hit “Puppy Love” but he got cut off by Tess who said “help indeed”. Whoops Tess!
 
The Results Show
image
The show kicked off with a pro dance to “Step in time” from Mary Poppins, with Natalie Lowe flying in as Mary Poppins and Kevin as Cockney Yorkshire Bert.
It was a great routine and they danced around chimney pots and with sweeping brushes.
Another great Claudia moment, as she held a chimney brush and had extremely “sooty” eyes. “Just touching up the eye makeup”!!
 
Donny Osmond
 
Sang “Moon River” from his latest album. He sang live. He’s still got a good voice and it was pleasant enough, but you can tell Christmas is coming when every ‘MOR’ singer releases a covers/songs from the movies/American songbook album!
Anton and Joanne “from Grimsby” did a lovely dance. Rather a shame that the lift at the end was interrupted by the cameraman concentrating on Donny’s face rather than showing Joanne and Anton. We saw the start and the end of the move, but for all we know Anton could have just spun her round like a Catherine wheel!
Loved Joanne’s dress. Yep it’s pink, I like pink! I’m still not used to seeing Anton dance with another woman though. I miss Erin Boag who left after the 2012 series to have a baby.

 

The One Two That Got Away
Plenty of couples got away with it this week, but Scott and Joanne had a narrow escape this week. The samba was non-existent.

 

Right Couples in Dance Off?
No. Purely on dance ability (inability) it should have been Tim and Scott. However, I can see why this happened. If you’re not good at dancing, you need to be entertaining, or so bad that people can’t wait to see to you make a mess of the next dance. Being o.k. is the kiss of death. This consigned Jennifer and Simon to the dance off. Simon suffered the fate of the celebrity male rumba. The rumba has been the downfall of many male contestants.
The judges all chose to save Simon, as I would have too.
Random Comments
  • Tess and Claudia escorted downstairs two weeks in a row now
  • I’m liking Tess presenting from various locations when introducing the couples, i.e. sat next to a judge, in audience.
  • Preferred Claudia’s black dress in the main show over her red jump suit.
  • Celebs in audience spot: Nick Grimshaw (Radio 1) for Scott, Denise van Outen (ex-finalist) and Duncan James fellow Blue band member for Simon.
  • Funny when Thom thanked Bill Deamer and his assistant Kai for the choreography, and Claudia said “aww” then “whoever they are”! Bill Deamer is a renowned multi-award winning choreographer who worked on Strictly’s big show numbers!
  • Loved Darcey’s outfit (below). A beautiful glittery lilac mini skirt with gorgeous cream coat.
 
  • Loving the chemistry between Tess and Claudia. The show seems more relaxed with them. Resist any calls to change this combo BBC, the girls are doing fine.
 

Next week

No themes next week, just Tim doing a Paso, Judy doing a tango and Alison a Samba, oh hang on, it IS Halloween week! What on earth will Scott be doing? Oh the horror!

 

BBC reruns The Rockford Files

Embed from Getty Images

Hollywood legend James Garner died earlier this year. The series which made him a household name, The Rockford Files, is being shown on BBC2 weekday afternoons, starting from next week. Why they're starting with Season 5 is a bit odd, but that might be just where they left off when they last ran the series some years back.
Catch or record this gem and hear THAT theme music and the iconic answerphone message, Monday to Friday next week on BBC2 at 2:15pm.
 

Strictly Weeks 1 and 2

So they’ve had a week’s breather. This week the first celebrity will be voted off. How did they all fare?
Couple Dance Song Scores (see *) Leaderboard Position Comment
Thom and Iveta Waltz
Salsa
You Raise Me Up
Hot,Hot,Hot
5,6,6,6 = 23 5,7,7,6 = 25
M 6,5
8 Dancing to Strictly champions Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy’s memorable salsa music didn’t help me erase their memory. I preferred the waltz.
Jennifer and Tristan Jive
Waltz
Happy
You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman
3.5.5.5 = 18 4,5,5,5 = 19
M 4,5
12 Waltz better than Jive. Jennifer struggled with the faster dance, but at least that is done with now.
DANCE OFF
Simon and Kristina Jive
Tango
Good Golly Miss Molly
Sing
6,7,7,7 = 27 5,7,7,7 = 26
M. 6,7
5 Didn’t like their jive as much as (most) of the judges did. Preferred the tango.
Gregg and Aliona Cha Cha Cha
Charleston
Hot ‘n’ Cold
Hey, Good Lookin’
3,5,5,5 = 18 3,5,5,5 = 18
M 2,3
13 Not very good and crippled with nerves. Probably for the best he went.
ELIMINATED Week 2
Alison and Aljaž Cha Cha Cha
Foxtrot
I’m Every Woman
I Just Wanna Make Love To You
6,6,7,7 = 26 5,5,6,6 = 22
M. 5,6
9 The Cha Cha Cha and Foxtrot have been good dances for Alison. She may struggle with some of the others.
Jake and Janette Tango
Salsa
Toxic
Mambo No 5
7,7 7,7 = 28 8,9,9,9 = 35
M 7,8
1 Great opening dances. Has he peaked too soon?
Judy and Anton Waltz
Cha Cha Cha
Mull of Kintyre
She’s A Lady
3,4,6,5 = 18 2,5,5,5 = 17
M. 3,2
15 Judy has no timing and no musicality sadly.
Caroline and Pasha Cha Cha Cha
Tango
Can You Feel it
Blame
6,7,7,7 = 27 7,7,7,8 = 29
M. 7,8
4 Caroline has great musicality, timing and great legs!
Tim and Natalie Cha Cha Cha
Waltz
Shop Around
When You Wish Upon A Star
3,5,5,5 = 18 5,6,6,6 = 23-
M 3,5
11 better at ballroom. The Waltz was charming.
Sunetra and Brendan Tango
Cha Cha Cha
Best Case of Lovin’ You (Doctor,Doctor)
Million Dollar Bill
5,6,6,7 = 24 6,6,7,7 = 26
M 6,7
7 Better than she thinks she is. Nerves are a big issue.
Mark and Karen Cha Cha Cha
American Smooth
I’m Your Man
I’m Yours
5,7,6,6 = 24 6,7,7,7 = 27
M 6,6
6 American Smooth lacked wow factor.
Scott and Joanne Cha Cha Cha
Tango
Rock DJ
Stop
2,4,5,5 = 16 4,5,6,5 = 20
M 2,4
14 Cha Cha Cha was terrible, but the Tango was slightly better.
Pixie and Trent Jive
Waltz
Shake It Off
Come Away With Me
7,6,7,7 = 27 8,9,9,9 = 35
M 7,7
2 Both good dances. Pixie seems good at both Latin and ballroom.
Steve and Ola Tango
Cha Cha Cha
Born To Be Wild
Treasure
6,6,7,7 = 26 3,6,6,6 = 21
M 6,5
10 Slightly better in the ballroom than Latin. Not remarkably bad or good at the moment.
Frankie and Kevin Waltz
Charleston
Someone Like You
Happy Days
7,7,8,8 = 30 7,7,8,8 = 30
M 7,7
3 slightly saccharine waltz but nicely done. Charleston o.k.and energetic but inappropriate music didn’t help.
Created with the HTML Table Generator
* Scores: 4 numbers showing the scores from Craig, Darcey,Len and Bruno in order with total. The next number shown as M is my score. Two scores this week)
 
Dance of the Week
Jake and Janette’s Salsa. It may not have been the most technical dance ever, but it was the most frenetic I can remember seeing on the programme in years! The band seemed to be playing both the fast older version of Mambo No 5 (by Perez Prado) and using the lyrics to Lou Bega’s version, which is slightly slower. The result was a bit odd, but Jake and Janette threw everything at it, including some dangerous neck lifts. The last time I saw something like that was the salsa by Matt Di Angelo and Flavia in 2007. Matt and Flavia’s was more controlled and technically miles better, but Jake and Janette’s salsa was undoubtedly a crowd pleaser and got Darcey,Bruno and the audience on their feet to applaud. This dance has made them the couple to watch. In conversation with Claudia, Jake did confess to worrying about how to top this! If they get to the final, they may need an ambulance on standby after their freestyle dance!

 

Dress of the Week
Natalie and Tim

Natalie and Tim

Pro Natalie’s gorgeous white dress for her and Tim’s waltz to “When You Wish Upon a Star”. Natalie is a beautiful woman and she looked every inch the fairytale princess in this dress.






Most Inappropriate Music of the Week
Scott and Joanne doing a Tango to Stop by The Spice Girls. “Stop” indeed! The guy is having enough trouble as it is without saddling him with something which isn’t a tango. The music is really important to help get the rhythm and style of the dance, and for a beginner this is crucial. This music was more suited to a Cha Cha Cha.
Dishonourable mention to the Happy Days theme tune being used for a Charleston. The Charleston fusion with Lindy Hop didn’t work for me.

 

Results Show
Entertainment
Pretty good. The professional dancers dance to Frozen was excellent and the singer did a good job on what seems like a difficult song (I’m no expert!) . The costumes, lighting and effects were very good too. Loved the icicle effects!
Jamie Cullum and Gregory Porter sang their new single collaboration, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood. I’m not the greatest fan of either of these two but they sang it well and were singing live. I enjoyed it. Aljaž and Iveta did a tango style rumba fusion dance which was very good. Iveta’s black cut away dress was striking and showed off her stunning figure.

 

The One Two That Got Away
Judy and Anton. I think he was happier than she was TBH! She really is a stiff as a racquet. I don’t know what dance they’re doing in Movie Week next week. The best they can hope for is a slow ballroom dance so that they can have a long intro and outro involving drinking tea or some play acting with very little dancing. I thought they’d never let go of their towel this week! Loved Claudia’s comment “That’s no way to talk about Anton” when Judy referred to the “wooden racquet” she used! She was joking (yeah right!).
Please let’s not have any Scottish or tennis references next week. It’s movie week so I hope the production team haven’t found the soundtrack to musical Brigadoon or rom-com Wimbledon!

 

Awkward Moment
Tess asked Gregg what he would miss about Strictly, and he said the practice sessions. He was terrified of the live shows. Tess noticeably didn’t ask Aliona if she’d like to say anything. She not said much but have that fixed smile since the launch. When they didn’t appear at the start of It Takes Two on Monday I wondered if they would be on, but it now seems that the eliminated couple will appear last on the show so that they can turn their light off on the picture board. I doubt Aliona will be back next year. She’s been a winner with Harry Judd and a runner-up with Matt Baker so she’s now had two first week eliminations in a row. I think it could be “taxi for Aliona”.

 

Right Couples in Dance Off?
Should have been Gregg and Judy for me, with Gregg leaving, not Gregg and Jennifer.
Unsurprisingly all judges voted to keep Jennifer in the competition.

 

The Runners and Riders
Out in front: Frankie,Pixie,Caroline,Jake,Simon
Could come up on the Rails: Sunetra,Thom
In the pack: Alison, Mark,Steve
Likely to fall: Scott,Judy,Jennifer and Tim, but I think Tim will be last to trip up.

 

Glitterball prediction
Jake and Janette to lift the trophy, unless they collapse due to sheer exhaustion before the final! This week’s salsa showed that Jake has the ability and sheer chutzpah and chemistry with Janette to win. Can he also add charm and flair to the more refined ballroom dances? We shall see.
As for the other finalists, I am tipping Caroline and Frankie ahead of the others. They both have the talent, but have the advantage of being paired with popular pros (Pasha and Kevin) which is why I’ve put them in the final ahead of the others.

 

Random Comments
  • They can’t seem to decide whether Tess and Claudia should come down the stairs on their own or be escorted. Either way, they can’t get to centre stage in time by the end of the introduction music!
  • Nice that Tess has continued her tradition of introducing the singers as well as Dave Arch.
  • So the judges are twirling onto the dance floor now instead of sitting at the table? Could get irritating!
  • I prefer Claudia with the fringe and black eyeliner. Glad they returned this week.
  • Loved Claudia’s cream glitter short dress this week.
  • Bruce who?!
So Movie Week next week. This could be more scary than Halloween week in a few weeks!
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