Have You Been Watching…Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew?

Bullseye's certainly changed a lot over the years.

DANCE IS POWER, reads the slogan on Ashley Banjo’s T-shirt throughout much of this programme. It’s a pretty good slogan: I want to believe. I want to believe in dance. I want to believe that dictatorships can be overthrown by a well timed pirouette.

Sadly that’s not the world we live in, but as an enthusiastic limb wriggler when the rhythm takes me, I’m going to stick my neck out and say that dancing is good for people. It’s good for all mankind.

And yet according to the narrator of this show 90% of the British public are afraid to dance.  Obviously that’s a made up statistic, because anyone whose ever been to a wedding knows that after the sixth drink all bets are off, save for those for whom shyness is essentially a disability.

So having a man as affable as Diversity’s Ashley Banjo (who brings such boundless enthusiasm and good cheer to this show he rather resembles a huge, breakdancing labrador) touring the country teaching unlikely types how to street dance is obviously a Good Idea.

But is it Good Television?

Well yes, in the end it just about is.

The opening episode found Mr Banjo visiting a bunch of good natured middle aged northern darts players, who to be honest did not look like promising candidates to bring street dance to Stockport.

On the downside, the first episode felt stretched and prone to padding. There was an entirely unnecessary rowing segment for some reason and when Ashley took the Stockdale lads to London it was revealed (SPOILER ALERT) that they weren’t as good as professional street dancers. What a shock. If it was only half an hour long, that would have been ideal.

Also it was rather keen to stick to the formula for this kind of show. So any time the lads were struggling, we got a brief monologue from a pensive Banjo saying he’d put his reputation on the line in saying he could teach these guys to dance. Clearly he hadn’t, he did this:

which is awesome, that’s not going away because a bunch of tubby Northerners couldn’t do the same. However, fortunately said Northerners seemed inclined to give it a bloody good try.

This was typified by Mackers, the youngest and tubbiest member of the darts team. Initially inclined to make a joke out of everything (including his own ineptitude) half way through the process he started to take it seriously: to the extent that nerves clearly got to him and he disappeared at the finale where they were set to interrupt their crucial darts match with an impromptu street dance performance to their friends and loved ones.

Fortunately Mr Banjo was on hand to track him down and cheer him up, labrador style. They went on did the performance, which was decent. Not mind blowing, but impressive enough given where they’d begun. On the scale of people dancing who don’t usually dance, it was more at the Christopher Biggins attempting ‘You’re The One That I Want‘ end of the scale rather than, say, Robert Webb performing Flashdance.

However, needless to say the audience loved it, but more importantly so did the performers. One of them described it ‘as the best thing they’d ever done’ and good old Mackers was clearly as pleased as punch with the whole thing.

It was a rousing finale and it showed what can be great about reality TV.  Secret Street Crew took real people and pushed them way out of their comfort zone and it was hugely rewarding for them. Ok, it wasn’t a truly great television programme, but for the people involved it was clearly a great experience and it was hard not to get caught up in that.

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Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew is on Sky1, Tuesdays at 9pm. If you have a Sky ID, you can catch up using Skyplayer here 

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About Ian Dunn
I love avocados, WH Auden and dinosaurs but I don't like effort.

6 Responses to Have You Been Watching…Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew?

  1. Gary power says:

    Can anyone tell me where I can get one of the dance is power t shirts please

  2. Kevin smith says:

    Dear Ashly my is Kevin and I’m looking to impress my friends and family but I don’t know how to do it cause I can do about 2 or 3 moves of street dance tops and there is nothing around where I live about street dancing and I’m on my own when it comes to dancing cause all my friends are watchers but they don’t like to dance oh and I was just hoping that u could help me please and I’m 24 yrs old and post code is rm18 8rf

  3. Hilary Wardle says:

    There’s a company called Kayzar who might be able to help. They run free street dance sessions in Brentwood, not far from you

    http://www.kayzar.co.uk/contact.html

    BRENTWOOD:

    Knights Way Centre, Knights Way, Brentwood CM13 2AZ (Saturday only 10-1pm)

    They could probably put you in touch with other people who are interested in street dance in your area- or you could put up an ad on Gumtree to try and get some other people round your way interested in meeting up to try new moves.

    p.s. sorry- don’t think Ashley Banjo checks this site!

  4. Garry says:

    Second show was fantastic, turning geeks into dancers. They called role players or Paladinians? Whats the review on this one for every one else?

  5. can some one please tell me how old you have to be for Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Dance Crew x as i am looking to impress my family but also with a few friends of mine I think it could be good and i also would love to meet Diversity yes it may sound a little big headed but Diversity inspired me when i saw them on BGT! Hopefully this year i may be able toget some tickets but also if they are selling meet and greet mightget them ❤ im 14 just wanna know the age limit xxxxx

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