THE COUCH POTATO: Tony Jacklin's two left feet make him a Strictly star
12:01pm Friday 4th October 2013 in News
Opening night in BBC1’s ballroom and couple number two take to the floor.
It’s Tony Jacklin, national treasure, the first man to hit a televised hole in one, two majors to his name and the mastermind behind Europe’s historic 1985 Ryder Cup victory, the first for 28 years.
Put him in the arms of Aliona Vilani and make him waltz to the theme from Birds of a Feather, however, and you can forget all those accolades.
He was born to appear on Strictly Come Dancing.
Jacklin has two left feet, a dogleg to the right, and he trundles about wincing like he’s got golf-ball sized haemorrhoids, but, as Len Goodman told him: “You are the spirit of this show.”
In other words, the polar opposite of last weekend’s X Factor, three desperate, bum-numbing hours of non-stop sobbing and self-pity at Bootcamp, usually the best part of the series.
Not this year though, certainly not with a callous new gimmick called: “The six-seat challenge,” which I misheard as: “The sick-seat challenge,” and would’ve been preferable to the needlessly spiteful dream-crushing that ensued.
In addition to the vomit stools (an Argos ticket waiting area) and the stupidity of giving the judges their categories a week too early, they’ve removed any semblance of joy so apparent in Hairy Biker Dave Myers’ heroic, series-defining have-a-go Strictly routine.
ITV, to its great shame, missed countless chances to raise at least one smile.
Louis Walsh failed to tell Alejandro Fernandez-Holt: “You remind me of a young Pete Sampras.”
Visions I had of OAP collective The Nostalgics taking one of the six seats precariously balanced in motorcycle display team pose never materialised.
Tenors of Rock needed a bunch of fives.
Nobody suggested Rough Copy’s problems with a visa could be solved simply by switching to MasterCard.
None of the judges gave Shelley Smith and her Vicky Pollard twang a: “Yeah but no but yeah but no but...”
And not only was the new format vindictive, it was almost impossible to understand, case in point being Sheena McHugh, sent home by Nicole Scherzinger who then changed her mind and kept her in, thereby placing her under the uncertainty of either staying in or being ditched again.
Last I looked she was sent home, though I lost track to the point that if she turns up at Judges’ Houses, I won’t be surprised.
Never, then, has the return of Strictly been so sorely needed.
Bruce Forsyth, who was literally talking “cobblers” on the series opener, is a terrifying sight let off the leash.
But if I have to put up with his diabolical gags and watch scantily clad Susanna Reid wiggling about for the next 11 weeks to uphold my professional duty then by jiminy it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
I’ll even put up with Tess Daly’s atrocious golf puns if it means Tony Jacklin remains, which he must along with Mark Benton, Vanessa Feltz, the Hairy Biker (Moves Like Tigger) and Patrick Robinson who jives like spaghetti being electrocuted.
The show has already answered one of TV’s biggest mysteries, that Abbey Clancy is a “TV presenter”, which was news to me.
And it’s given us the best putdown of the year, with the celebs’ introductions: “Coronation Street star Natalie Gumede... Casualty star Patrick Robinson...”
And simply: “From Hollyoaks, Ashley Taylor Dawson.”
Darcy Bussell told whoever he is: “If you start like this, you’re going to do very well.”
Same goes for Strictly.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...
The Wrong Mans.
The One Show’s Big Daddy tribute.
These genuine contributors C4 found for Porn On The Brain – 19-year-old voyeur Calum Wrist and sex education consultant Jonny Hunt.
Big Star’s Little Star host Stephen Mulhern’s show-stopping request to Tina Hobley after her five-year-old daughter Olivia revealed she “stomps her feet and growls” when angry: “Come on, let’s see your growler.”
And TLC’s Superstars and Superfans’ wonderfully sarcastic narrator describing A1 as: “The ninth most successful boyband in UK history,” adding after a comeback concert: “The gig has been a great success. And the good news doesn’t end there...”
(Cut to a roadie backstage).
“We have sold 14 T-shirts!”
Welcome back to the big time, lads.
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...
Everyone on telly discussing the death of Bridget Jones’ Darcy like it’s a real flippin’ person.
BBC1 baloney Atlantis, starring fat Dave from The Full Monty as Hercules.
This Morning ruining a perfectly valid debate, should teachers be allowed to strike, by hiring rent-a-gob Katie Hopkins as the “No” camp.
The Jeremy Kyle Show’s “intervention special” failing to feature a dozen hooded men bundling him into an unmarked van.
And, after disgracefully forcing Robbie Fowler to apologise live on Final Score for saying: “They were pulling at each other like a pair of girls,” BBC1’s new thinly disguised feminism propaganda broadcast Saturday Sportsday, featuring women’s sport only, primarily a football match watched by just 2,156 spectators, Liverpool Ladies versus Bristol Academy.
Still, I’m sure they didn’t concentrate on it purely because it was women’s soccer.
They’ll no doubt redress the balance by discussing a men’s game attended by a bigger crowd last weekend.
So, tune in next time for analysis of Lincoln City v Hyde, in the Football Conference.
Unless the BBC truly is inversely sexist, of course.
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