Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mean Viruses and Saturday night entertainment

Just so you know, I haven't been ignoring you over the last week and a half - I have not been well. Some call it cold turkey after the Glenrothes by-election and have suggested that I head down to Bexley to help in the Council by-election there.

It's actually been a bit of a mean virus which has made me feel very poorly indeed, but nothing serious. I hope it will go away soon - it's seriously annoying me, now, rather than overwhelming me, which has to be a good sign.

I have found it frustrating not to have had the energy to comment on so many of the week's news stories, particularly in such a momentous week for Strictly. For the record, I can understand why it was all getting a bit much for John Sergeant, but I don't necessarily think he would have made the Final. However, when his family were getting abusive phone calls suggesting he should apologise to better dancers who had left before him, you can kind of understand that he thought it was all getting out of hand.

Part of the joy of Strictly is that the contestants can captivate us either by their dance ability, their personality or both. I hope that the furore over Sergeant's departure doesn't detract from that.

The Judges have come in for criticism - I don't think they deserved it. They are there to comment on the dancing.

It's the public who have the choice on that show - and if they choose to take what the judges say with a pinch of salt, then they surely have the right to do so.

John's dance partner, Kristina Rihannof, deserves huge credit for helping us all to fall for John's charms. Her choreographic miracles showed a very shrewd understanding of British humour and she got the best out of John. I feel really sorry for her in all of this. The dancers are hugely competitive and it's a shame that she's had to leave before her time.

It has been quite amusing that as soon as the Sergeant departure hit the headlines (Newsnight, for goodness sake, Question Time - Jim Murphy, you should be ashamed of yourself) the X Factor mob went into overdrive to try to grab some of the attention back. A supposed row between Dannii Minogue and Louis Walsh over song choices was the best they could come up with. I suspect they'd need to wrestle naked on the live show to trump Sergeantgate.

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