Strictly Dance Fever
Dance Coaches: Kevan Allen (series 1), Vanessa Leagh Hicks (both series)
BBC One, 26 March 2005 to 3 June 2006 (2 series)
Members of the public compete to win a trophy and £50,000 in dance competition a la Strictly Come Dancing. This was quite a surprising show in some ways - to some extent we'd written it off as a pale imitation of the parent show before it even began, and the first edition was truly awful, with a parade of neither-very-good-nor-very-bad acts going through a live "audition" process, and Graham Norton appearing hopelessly out of his depth. Technical troubles on the night didn't help either.
But after a weak start, things improved rapidly. Norton grew into the host's role, and by the end of the series you'd hardly recognise him as the same presenter who made such a hash of the opening show. More importantly, as the series progressed, it became clear that the contestants included some genuinely talented dancers - and more than that, genuinely talented dancers who obviously loved what they were doing. When you find someone with a passion for something (and it could be anything - cookery, antiques, steam engines, or in this case, dance), who can communicate that passion to other people, and you put them on telly, it works. It just does. Number one rule of television, that is, and you can have it for free.
In a way, Strictly Dance Fever was the very model of a "public service television" talent show. Where shows like Popstars, Pop Idol and even the Beeb's own Fame Academy sought out people with moneymaking potential, SDF simply sought people with a passion for dance for its own sake. Some of the contestants may get employment out of it, but realistically none of them are going to get rich. Not because they don't deserve it, but simply because nobody gets rich from dance.
Anyway, enough of this high-minded pretentious waffling. Ultimately, Strictly Dance Fever was really good fun, and ended up with two truly outstanding couples, either of whom would have been worthy winners. A pity about the initial shambles, but it came good in the end. And Doctor Who was on after it, too. Hurrah!
|2005||Joseph Hall and Sadie Flower|
|2006||Darrien Wright and Hollie Robertson|
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