Baby Ballroom



Kate Thornton


Judges: Bonnie Langford, Raymond Quinn and Pierre Dulane


ITV1, 28 July to 11 August 2007 (three episodes)


One from the basket labelled cheap summer filler, and no mistake.

The basic concept was ballroom dancers competing against each other, familiar from such shows as Strictly Come Dancing. The twist was that the competitors were aged between 6 and 11.

Former child star Bonnie Langford headed the judging panel, joined by professional ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine, and (for no obvious reason) The X Factor runner-up Ray Quinn. ITV held this programme in such high esteem that they sent Kate Thornton in to host it.

A lengthy audition process was mercifully boiled down to two televised semi-finals and the final. Critical reaction was mixed - The People said it was light and fluffy and perfect for summer Saturday evenings, but stablemates at The Sunday Mirror called it a nightmare, deeply disturbing, and brought to mind Channel 4's infamous Minipops series.

The median opinion was that it was bad, never rising above the squick factor of children pretending to be grown up ahead of their time, but was no worse than the BBC's direct competitor DanceX. Perhaps this was ITV's way of lowering expectations ahead of The X Factor's new series, in the same spot next week.


Joshua Malone and Kimberley Jones


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