Sunday, 1 September 2019

Still Strictly Corrie Dancing


It's September.  The leaves are turning brown, the nights are drawing in, and it's time for us to gather round the telly on a Saturday night and watch a load of celebrities hurling themselves around Elstree Studios for our bemusement.  Yes, it's almost Strictly time again, with the new series starting this coming Saturday, so I thought it was about time I revised and updated my post from four years ago about Street stars in spangles. 

Corrie's representative this year will be Catherine Tyldesley, aka Eva Price, who's been a rumoured contestant ever since she handed in her notice to ITV.  How will she do?  Well, she's a glamorous, leggy Amazon, which always helps.  She's also an accomplished singer, having released her own album and performed live across the country, so she should have no problem finding the rhythm.  On the other hand, she is a cousin of Michael Vaughan, so let's hope dancing skills aren't genetic because she'll be in trouble. 

ITV is understandably less than keen for its stars to trot over to the Beeb for a show that regularly trounces them in the ratings, instead directing the likes of Antony Cotton and Jane Danson to their similar but definitely different show, Dancing On Ice.  Sadly this means we're unlikely to ever see Dame Barbara Knox doing a samba to It Ain't What You Do It's The Way That You Do It but maybe now Emily's relocated to Edinburgh we can keep our fingers crossed for Eileen Derbyshire next year.

Jill Halfpenny - Series Two


AKA: medical strumpet Rebecca Hopkins.

Professional Partner: Darren Bennett

Eliminated: WINNER!

Strictly Journey: I always forget Jill Halfpenny was even in Corrie, because to me she'll always be out of Oooh Byker Byker, Byker GROVE, because I'm ancient.  Jill, of course, won the show, and has since gone on to be spoken of in hushed tones as Queen Of All Things Strictly; while the first series was successful enough, it was the second that really cemented it in the national consciousness.  Jill Halfpenny is the winner of all winners, a sainted dance legend, and so we'll just forget the fact that she broke up Martin and Gail's marriage, the TART.

Will Thorp - Series Three


AKA: Chris Gray, tedious wife batterer.

Professional Partner: Hanna Haarala

Eliminated: Week Six.

Strictly Journey:  Will back then was best known for his role on Casualty, and after a year on Corrie harassing Craig Charles, he's still best known for his role on Casualty.  Will was eliminated ahead of middle aged BBC Breakfast legend Bill Turnbull so it's safe to say he wasn't the reincarnation of Fred Astaire.

Ray Fearon - Series Four


AKA: Nathan Cooper, mechanic and one-time sexual plaything of Tracy Barlow.

Professional Partner: Camilla Dallerup

Eliminated: Week Six.

Strictly Journey: The only footage I could find of Ray in action was a grainy video of the male contestants doing a group dance.  Ray seemed to be a big fan of the "stand still while the professional twiddles around you" dancing which usually means a duffer.  Mind you, when he was on Corrie he mainly stood around in a pair of overalls while Tracy rubbed up against him, so no change there.

Claire King - Series Four


AKA: underused cougar Erica Holroyd.

Professional Partner: Brendan Cole

Eliminated: Week Eight.

Strictly Journey:  Claire danced like a stripper in need of her rent money and had absolutely no compunction about steaming up the camera lens with filth.  Unbelievably, she did all this while suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, which certainly puts the complaints about the show being hard work of some of the younger contestants into perspective.  Also, she hated Brendan, leading to a prickly relationship on the floor.  Pretty fantastic all round, really.

Brian Capron - Series Five


AKA: Norman Bates with a Briefcase, Richard Hillman

Professional Partner: Karen Hardy

Eliminated: Week One.

Strictly Journey: I repeat - "Eliminated: Week One".  I assume Brian was dancing in character as the recently revived zombie corpse of Richard Hillman, and that was why he lumbered around with no sense of rhythm or movement.  It was actually painful watching him clatter round the dance floor, which is a shame, because Brian is a glorious old ham and he might have won over the audience with his personality in a few more weeks.

Stephanie Beacham - Series Five


AKA: canal-based trollop Martha Fraser.

Professional Partner: Vincent Simone

Eliminated: Week Two.

Strictly Journey: A legendary diva like La Beacham insists on looking her best at all times.  Presumably that's why she danced so timorously: she was afraid of messing up her hair.  She was mostly fabulous offscreen, barking her opinions on her fellow dancers on It Takes Two.

Craig Kelly - Series Seven


AKA: forgettable factory manager Luke Strong.

Professional Partner: Flavia Cacace

Eliminated: Week Eight.

Strictly Journey: Blackpool-born Craig (he was from Blackpool) made great mileage out of the fact that he really wanted to perform in the Tower Ballroom during the traditional Blackpool week.  In fact, Blackpool-born Craig couldn't seem to talk about anything else, and the viewers clearly took pity on him, letting him stay on the show far longer than more qualified contestants so they could give him the chance to cha-cha-cha in the home of British ballroom.  Then they promptly voted him out, because the Great British Public can only take so much.

Tina O'Brien - Series Eight 


AKA: pocket sized irritant Sarah-Louise Platt.

Professional Partner: Jared Murillo

Eliminated: Week Five

Strictly Journey: At first it looked like tiny Tina could be a whizz on the dance floor.  Unfortunately, her daughter caught chickenpox during her time on the show, leading to (a) her mind understandably being on other things and (b) Tina herself catching the pox and having to miss out one week.  The following week she was back but she was kind of beat and frankly sending her home was a relief for everyone.

Jimi Mistry - Series Eight


AKA: flame-grilled gym owner Kal Nazir.

Professional Partner: Flavia Cacace

Eliminated: Week Six

Strictly Journey: Back when he was still "Hollywood star Jimi Mistry", he looked like a shoo-in for the final.  He'd shown his dance skills off already in The Guru and he was a charming chap.  It was therefore a SHOCK! BOOT! when he went out in week six, losing out to the frankly bonkers (in a good way) Michelle Williams.  Still, he and Flavia are still married nine years later, so he probably looks on the experience pretty favourably and doesn't really care about the score.

Debra Stephenson - 2011 Christmas Special


AKA: crypto-incestuous Cockney Frankie Baldwin.

Professional Partner: Ian Waite

Eliminated: it was a Christmas special, so there was nothing as cruel as an elimination; Debra came second in the judges' rankings.

Strictly Journey: Debra insisted on miming along to the lyrics of Baby It's Cold Outside as she danced, which is just annoying, but she acquitted herself admirably and actually got the same number of points (37) as Charlie "Janine from EastEnders" Brooks.  Charlie was declared the winner though.  Was it because the Beeb would rather award the win to one of their own instead of an upstart from the commercial channel?  I couldn't possibly comment.  (Yes).

Natalie Gumede - Series Eleven 


AKA: her who belted Tyrone with the hoover nozzle - Kirsty Soames.

Professional Partner: Artem Chigvintsev

Eliminated: Finalist (so let's say she came second, because let's face it she was better than Susannah Reid)

Strictly Journey: a long-limbed dance icon, Natalie strode her way across the dance floor with aplomb, and probably should have won.  A week off due to illness and the public's lingering unwillingness to vote for a psychopath who'd beaten up poor Tyrone meant that she was unfairly denied the glitterball.  Also, in the final, she claimed to have "touched the divine" on the dance floor, which is the greatest way to describe fannying about to a C-grade version of And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going I have ever heard.  SHE WAS ROBBED, is what I'm saying.

Georgia May Foote - Series Thirteen


AKA: far too good for him girlfriend of Chesney, Katy Armstrong.

Professional Partner: Giovanni Pernice

Eliminated: Finalist (though she was probably third, behind Kellie Bright)

Strictly Journey: Little Georgia May seemed like a very nice girl, and she certainly showed some talent in the dancing, but she never quite clicked in the show.  She was never bad enough to be eliminated, but never good enough to be a front runner, and she sort of drifted along being pretty and sweet.  Her main point of interest was as that series' designated Curse of Strictly candidate, dumping her boyfriend Sean Ward (aka Callum) in favour of the charms of her dance partner Giovanni.  (They've since split up).

BONUS 1: Tupele Dorgu - Strictly African Dancing


AKA: mouthy Underworld legend Kelly Crabtree

Strictly Journey: part of the BBC's Africa season in 2005, Tupele was roped into performing traditional dances with an African troupe.  She lost the crown to footballer Robbie Earle, but has since parlayed her dance experience into various touring musical theatre productions so she's doing fine.

BONUS 2: Cassidy Little - The People's Strictly For Comic Relief


AKA: Paralympian Greg Kennedy

Strictly Journey: Cassidy won a special series where members of the public got to dance on the show.  He actually won, partnered with the wonderful Natalie Lowe, and has since moved into acting, turning up in Corrie as a disabled Army mate of Gary's who inspired Jack after his amputation.  Sadly he didn't persuade Jack to do a little waltz round the cobbles, instead going for boring old sponsored runs instead. 

BONUS 3: Diane-Louise Jordan - Children In Need Special


AKA: student mate of Jenny Bradley, Kate Winterton

Strictly Journey: OK, this one's a bit of a cheat, as Kate only appeared in one episode of Corrie, but Diane-Louise was considered for a more permanent part as one of Jenny's mates, only to turn it down in favour of a job presenting Blue Peter.  (Judging by her performance in Corrie, this was a very wise decision).  She lost to fellow Blue Peter alumni Mark Curry, who weirdly started life as a child actor in the North and yet has somehow managed to never appear on the cobbles. 

Where will Cath be when I update this next time?  At the moment, she's second favourite in the odds, behind footballer Alex Scott, but who can say what will happen once the lights hit that glitterball.  All I know is I'll be glued to my television set every weekend between now and Christmas.  Keeeeeeeeep dancing!


My thanks to the amazing Chris "Monkseal" Rubery's blog for some of the facts and figures in this post.  I'll be shouting abuse at the screen on Twitter every Saturday night; follow me @merseytart.






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