‘Strictly Come Dancing’ – time to end the pretence?

I was not sure where to put this because the content is entertainment but the central point is honesty and how far deception can be taken in order to preserve a conceit. In the end, after Facebook, I put it both here and there.

In the UK, ‘Strictly comprises two shows – the contest night when all the participants dance and the public vote is collected, and the results show at which the dance-off between the bottom two pairs takes place. The first show goes out on Saturday night and the second goes out on the Sunday when we are led to believe it is live.

But it is not live and we all know this. It is recorded on the Saturday with different frocks and a new selection of  celebs’ mums shuffled onto the front row. The dancers themselves often give it away, sometimes the judges let slip, and an increasing number of us knows someone who has actually been. I certainly do. They were asked not to tell and I found that a little bit uncomfortable, even though, in the grand scheme of things, it seems harmless. So what if we buy into this illusion and imagine that the entire set, make-up, costumes and audience are freshly put together less than 24 hours after dismantling or sending home the last lot?

Well, I think it matters first because it’s a deceit and an unnecessary one. But I think it really matters when children become a part of the lie through illness or, as is the case just now, traumatic injury. It would have been untenable enough had Claudia Winkelman’s daughter been afflicted by a tummy bug on the Saturday which everyone (including her, presumably), had to pretend was still the case on the Sunday when she might have been perfectly well. But she was injured and the cause has to do with Halloween and candles and so the matter has become a wider and more serious one. It has brought in national news journalists whose job it is to talk about many things other than a dance programme but who are – for now at least – going along with the pretence.

At first they persisted with the line that Claudia had to miss the Sunday show ‘as well’ and latterly they have begun to talk about ‘the weekend shows’, presumably as a way of skating over the fact that being unavailable on the Saturday inevitably means being absent on what is sold to us as the Sunday. Frankly, deception on that scale goes way beyond the tiny conceit that almost certainly drove the original intention. It’s time, I think, for them to come clean; I really don’t think anyone will mind.

8 thoughts on “‘Strictly Come Dancing’ – time to end the pretence?

  1. Actually I’ve never watched “Strictly”, so I read your blog through uninitiated glasses. And so my perception is influenced by you, but then there doesn’t seem there’s anywhere for the Programmers to hide from pointless dishonesty. I must therefore put these people in the same category as Politicians.

    1. It’s a sad situation that I hope they’ll address for the next series. I was reminded that the results show used to go out later the same night and was truly live; they seem to have simply shifted that original fact along with the schedule and created this ridiculous illusion. Ach – so unnecessary.

  2. I doubt that they’ll address it. I’ve a feeling that the majority of viewers wouldn’t understand, or care if they did – the point will go unnoticed. And anyway, it’s all about money.

    I await your next most acceptable exposure.

    1. With so many people involved in the deception, I can’t see how they can go on much longer, especially now as it’s gone outside the dance community and affected regular news reporting. There’s also, I hear, a hard core bunch who regularly tweet the loser on the Saturday so it beats me really why they persist. Anyway – next exposure? Hm, lemme see …

  3. I don’t mind that they split the Results show across 2 nights, otherwise – particularly at the start of the season when there are so many dancers it would make a very, very long show. But like you – I resent the pretence. Why not just admit they are both filmed on Saturday, but the 2nd half goes out on a Sunday?

    1. I’d be delighted with that although it occurs to me it would give all sorts of people licence to let rip with their spoiler the night before. It’s just all very silly and needs to stop.

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