Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Strictly Sexism Part 2

My second rant of the day is about the departure from competition of Strictly Come Dancing professional Karen Hardy. I first found out yesterday, via Sara. Honestly, I went out for the first time in weeks for a couple of hours and in that time the stories came out about both Karen and Nelson Piquet Jr.

I've already had a complete hissy fit about the sacking, sorry, putting out to grass, of Arlene Phillips.

Karen is 39, and is being replaced by a 25 year old despite her obvious talent for clever choreography. She joined the show in 2005, quickly building a partnership which has become legendary in Strictly Canon, with BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull.

She went on to win the show in 2006 with cricketer Mark Ramprakash with audacious and sensual routines, particularly for the Argentine Tango and the Salsa.

She's one of the best pro dancers on the show and it's a scandal that she's being got rid of, or at least, sidelined.

As well as being a former world Latin champion, she's also an experienced Latin judge. If they were going to make any changes to the judging panel, then she would have been the first choice for a position there, not Alesha Dixon, who would have made a much better presenter.

Why is it that if you are a man on Strictly, your job is safe, but women's positions seem to be much more vulnerable as they get older? Fellow pro dancer Anton Du Beke (and I love him, too so I'm not calling for his head on a plate) has been 42 according to the Daily Mail for the last 4 years, yet he's still got a job. He should have, because he's hilarious and the show wouldn't be the same without him - but then so is Karen.

I don't want her to be sidelined to It Takes Two - that's Claudia's show - or to some small part in the main show. I want to see her build a partnership and compete in her inimitable style.

The BBC is publicly funded and should therefore not be allowed to act in such a blatantly sexist manner. It's bad enough when such attitudes come from a commercial broadcaster, but if it's my money that's paying for it, I want to see more regard for equality and less ageism for women on the BBC.

Anyway, as a treat for Karen fans everywhere, here are a couple of her highlights:

The Salsa with Mark from the 2006 final:

Her Viennese Waltz with Bill, the week he had a horrid ankle injury:

1 comment:

Mark Thompson said...

I don't really watch Strictly (although it gets in by osmosis - my wife is a fan) but I think Arlene Phillips' treatment was shocking and this seems to be in a similar vein.

There are far too many examples of talented women being sidelined by TV in this way - Anna Ford and Selina Scott spring to mind instantly but there are many more I am sure.


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