I love my life and I love my job, both of which bring me in contact with wonderful people, but both of which make me aware of the grim realities of life. Strictly Come Dancing is pure escapism into a land of fluffiness, pink and glitter. For three months of the year, we can all insulate ourselves from the Credit Crunch and global economic meltdown and just enjoy the fun, the traumas, the nerves, the sarcasm, the costumes and the hair, the professionals' performances and the judges' bile and occasional insight that make Strictly the number one Saturday night show.
The first show tonight was fabulous - Strictly is back with a vengeance. Having watched the launch show last week, I was a little concerned that if you fancied women you had a considerable advantage over those who fancied men. I did post what I thought of the couples on the other blog so I won't repeat myself here.
Anyway, let's get to it. First to dance on Strictly Series 6 were Tom and Camilla.
Boy, does she get the good looking ones - James Martin, Gethin Jones and now Tom. Wow. Now it looks like she has one that can dance from the start. I have to say that I thought the glimpse of chest hair on Tom was a good sign - I can't bear all this waxing nonsense - as was the fact that he was willing to wear a fairly uncompromosing shade of green for their cha cha cha.
But wow - he knows what hips are for, he knows how to move.
Dare we hope that Camilla finally has a finalist in her?
He also has the story in that he is getting married half way through this and has already cancelled his honeymoon
Presumably the money he's getting makes it worth his while.
Score 28 from the Judges who were delighted with his performance.
Laugh of the night was Craig Revel Horwood say that Tom was mincing.........
Phil and Flavia were next up. He is clearly a funny guy and the laughs he had with Flavia were reminiscent of the daft narratives she and Matt used to make up for their routines. Anyway at one point Phil described himself as Anton Du Berk, which brought the house down and earned the forevermore disapproval of hardcore Antonettes.
To be honest, there didn't seem to be a whole load of rise and fall in their waltz but his facial expressions were unbelievable. At times they were like he was enjoying a particularly satisfying bowel movement.
I had a good look at Arlene during the Judges' bit. She had been quoted in the media as having been worried that she had put on 1.5 stone since the last series. You couldn't really tell, to be honest.
Next up were Don and Lilia. He was much better than expected and seemed to have more than a vague idea of what his hips were for.
The biggest surprise of the whole show was Austin and Erin's waltz. It was gentle, had fabulous lines, good rise and fall and Austin showed he had a sense of humour. Erin looked absolutely gorgeous with a softer hair colour and seems to genuinely get on with her partner.
Arlene seemed to go into hormonal overdrive with Austin.
Len's 9 was probably a bit excessive but this pair were the clear victors tonight. Can they maintain the momentum?
It must have been hard for Mark and Hayley to follow that, but they did. Hayley wore a dress the colour of radioactive snot. I tended to agree wtih Arlene - their cha cha was all a bit sterile for me. Craig went over the top by saying it was dull, but maybe he was trying to make sure Mark stayed in. They had decent lines, but his face had too much of the toilet about it to make the routine work. Mark is also not free of Arlene's hormones.........
I am really worried about Gary and Karen. They have serious comedy potential despite the potential for cringeworthiness I spoke about in the other place. He danced the dance like he loved it but his technique wasn't always great. His arms were playing a different game completely and the bit where Karen bent down and he made all sorts of cookery related hand gestures over her back was a clever incorporation that should have been written out the first time it was seen in the mirror.
I was a bit worried about John and Kristina too. As a hardcore politico of many years' standing, I have come to admire John. However, I have to confess I thought he'd be rubbish at dancing - but no. It was strange. He looked like Toad of Toad Hall doing a waltz, but it didn't matter. It was the essence of charm. It was endearing and sweet and quite lovely. Could he rival Bill Turnbull, whose impact on the show, whose humour kept him in when dancing ability couldn't is second to none? Three years on, the Ballroom Bill forum is still alive and well on the Digital Spy Forum.
GMTV presenters have not traditionally done too well on Strictly. Could Andrew Castle buck the trend with Ola Jordan? Well, Ola was taking no chances. If dancing wouldn't work, then she was going to try for nudity. It looked like her arms and legs had been sprayed in black pvc whild her front and back were slahsed to within an inch of decency. Actually, that was entirely gratuitous, 'cos Andrew was ok - a bit slow, but there's potential. And he's a sportsman so there's likely to be motivation.
The girls then followed with their group dance, to Lady Marmalade, slowed down a bit to take account of their noviceness. It wasn't bad. Christine is beautiful and she was having fun which seemed to belie the press stories of her stress at the whole thing. Brendan hit Lisa in the face in rehearsals but the two looked fab. Cherie Lunghi showed that older women can still be sensual. Jessie looked cumbersome and Jodie looked far from the "bambi on ice" that Ian had mantioned in rehearsal. Gillian was playing it for laughs and Vincent and Rachel just smouldered. Heather and Brian looked like they had gelled as a dancing partnership, too.
So, the regular features:
Brucie's Balls-Up He cracked a joke about Lilia being too young to watch Don in Rising Damp, which was as far as it should have went. He then went into the "I'm doddery" bit a bit too much.
Tess's Dress A simple fushcia pink srapless number. For some reason her boobs seemed to have sunk a bit by the end of the show.
Angel Judge Bruno. I loved his comment about Don and Lilia's dance - " there were more wrong turns and bad timing than in Gordon Brown's cabinet."
Devil Judge Craig, for giving Gary 1. Totally unnecessary.
Who's Going to Go? Phil or Don. Please not Gary and Karen - not the second year running for her........
Hope you enjoyed the first instalment. See you tomorrow night after the Results show.