Strictly Come Dancing 2011 – Launch show

Photo credit: BBC

I have to confess to coming to this as a Strictly Virgin, which I know makes me sound like a bit like a nun or a school for masochists run by Richard Branson, but bear with me.

Anyone that knows me or has a vague passing relationship with me on the internet knows that camp Saturday night reality shows are so totally my thing but for some reason this has passed me by. It might be that I still attach it to the memories of Angela Rippon and a dusty hall somewhere in the back of Blackpool, but it’s probably got more to do with the fact that they’ve never really had any celebrities on that are of any interest to me.

So, in the interests of science I decided to take a look on behalf of Tellysquawks.  It turned out that Saturday’s episode was more of a launch mat, where we meet our celebrities and they get to know who they’ve been paired with before they go off to train for three weeks and the series starts proper. I have learned from Twitter that this is a VERY IMPORTANT process and being paired with the wrong professional dancer can make or break you.

It has all the elements of a good Saturday night television show. Bruce is pleasantly bumbling and everyone plays up to his ‘elder statesman of light entertainment’ routine, which is like being wrapped in a blanket from 20 years ago – comforting but you can’t help feeling that it’s been around a while. The set is reassuringly flashy and the judges fit their roles perfectly. I’m guessing that as Head Judge Len Goodman is the Boss, Alesha Dixon is the nice one, Craig Revel Horwood is the nasty one and  Bruno Tonioli is the insane one.

The stick out thing for me is the house band, who play the songs that are being danced to. They have a very wedding band vibe about them because that’s basically what they are. They play everything from Lady Gaga to Guns and Roses with absolutely no shame and I love them for it.

As I said above, the premise of tonight was to meet the celebs and reveal the pairings and that’s exactly what happened.

Harry Judd

Harry is in the (boy)band McFly. He’s a drummer yet claims to have no rhythm. He has done Strictly for Children in need and hated it. Bruce awkwardly tries to marry him off to Alesha as she’s looking for a drummer boy (say WHAT?!) but he’s paired with an orange lady called Aliona who promises, sinisterly, to teach him things.

Robbie Savage

Robbie is a footballer who was a bit of a lad. Many puns are made on his surname.  He wants to win. We’ll see. He’s paired with Ola.

Dan Lobb

I have never heard of Dan Lobb other than finding out that he’s on Daybreak which is just inviting lots of ‘morning Lobb on’ jokes if you ask me. They show a clip of him dancing awkwardly with Diversity before pairing him with Katya.


Lulu, or effing Lulu as she’s known to many, is 62. This is mentioned a lot. Lulu’s past accomplishments are crowned off with the fact that she once worked with Take That. She’s paired with Brendan who puts her over his shoulder and carries her off. Is Brendan meant to be that creepy? Answers on a postcard, or in the comments box. Ta!

Chelsee Healy

Chelsee (really?) is apparently on Waterloo Road. She has a massive chest and is looking for a boyfriend. She’s putting one out there for feminism because even though she’s competing and learning new skills as a dancer she’s most looking forward to getting her hair and makeup done. She’s paired with Pasha, who is new.

Anita Dobson

Anita was in Eastenders once. This is mentioned several times. She’s also married to one of Queen who may or may not be happy she’s doing it. She’s paired with Robin.

Russell Grant

Russell was the first astrologer to be introduced to the Royal family, don’t you know. In his own words, he is best known for his garish gay jumpers. He has recently lost ten stone and is looking good on it. He’s paired with Flavia because she is short.

Audley Harrison

Audley is a gold medal winner for the boxing. He is very tall so will no doubt be standing next to Russell lots for lols. He’s paired with Natalie.

Rory Bremner

Rory does impressions. Rory can’t stop doing impressions. Rory’s impressions are tiresome even when he’s only on the programme for a few seconds. Rory is paired with Erin.

Jason Donovan

I loved Jason in the eighties and I still do a bit. He does a bit of singing, I go a bit funny at the clip of his Neighbours wedding. I remember why I’m here. He’s paired with Kristina.

Edwina Currie

Edwina said something about eggs and boffed the prime minister in the eighties. She’s not scared of anything because she’s been shouted at by Margaret Thatcher. Fair dos. She’s paired with Vincent.

Alex Jones

Isn’t Alex just lovely? Bleh. She’s all smiley and says some stuff. I fall asleep. She’s paired with James.

Nancy Del Olio

We all have to pretend Nancy is famous for something other than going out with an ex England manager. She declares herself the second most famous Italian woman after Sofia Loren. I laugh until next week. She’s paired with Anton.

Holly Valance

Oh lovely Holly from off of Neighbours, some mediocre films and one hit. She is very pretty. She’s paired with Artem.

So, that’s them! They’re all off to dancing boot camp or something before starting proper on the 30th September. Good luck guys!


Strictly Come Dancing is on Saturday nights at 6.10pm, BBC 1, from now until the End Of Time.

You can follow Helen Cairns on the Twitters- just point your internets to


About Helen Cairns
Trashy, Lazy, Scottish, Likely to be found dead under a pile of books and/or caramel Kit Kat wrappers. Good stuff - Moody music, crap telly, books that could never be described as literature, celebrity obsession.

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