THAT WAS THE BOX – September 2014 (Week Two)

By on 14 September, 2014

TV REVIEWS: Strictly Come Dancing 2014 - Contestant Line-up


Well, what can I say about this? It was over the top on an almost ‘X Factor‘ scale. The point of it, I think, was to hand the baton over from Brucie to Claudia. What we got was some old bobbins with Brucie pretending to be Charlie of ‘Charlie’s Angels‘, gathering all the troops together. We had a red carpet entrance and so much padding that I was beginning to think it was going to over-run into Monday night. What we were interested in was who the celebrities were and who they were going to be dancing with and it seemed to take ages to get to the main event. Once it did, most of the pairings were predictable and a bit meh. But here is my round-up:

Gregg ‘lock up your daughters’ Wallace has been teamed up with former winner Aliona. I suspect Aliona won’t be winning this time. Gregg does not strike me as a natural dancer, and without John Torode as his sidekick, I don’t think he has much to offer personality-wise.

Jake Wood who plays Max Branning in ‘Eastenders‘, got Jeanette who looks like Donna Dingle (RIP) from ‘Emmerdale‘. Whether Jake can dance or not, I think he will stay in for a while as he is a heart-throb for women who like men who look a little like aliens.

Steve Backshall (me neither) got Ola, who would probably rather be at home with hubby James, who will want his ego stroked after the mauling he got on ‘Celebrity Big Brother‘.

Caroline Flack got Pasha. I suspect most of Caroline’s outfits will reveal her legs, and I’ve a feeling she might be a dark horse and a rather good dancer. Watch this space.

Jennifer Gibney, who is better known as Kathy in ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys‘, got hot new dancer Tristan. Jennifer seems a nice lady, but she doesn’t strike me as a dancer. We shall have to see.

Pixie Lott got new boy Trent. I swear they look like Ken and Barbie together. I find Pixie Lott extremely annoying, so I’m going to be polite and wish her well.

Predictably, hot boybander Simon Webbe got hot Russian dancer Krystina. They look great together, but given how limited Blue’s dance moves are, I’m not sure Simon’s going to be great at ballroom. There’s only so far one can get by looking pretty and shrugging one’s shoulder.

Tim Wannacott from ‘Bargain Hunt‘, got Natalie and I take it Natalie has somewhere she needs to be by mid-October as Tim is clearly going to be the first one to go.

Scott Mills got Joanne from Grimsby. Who is Kevin from Grimsby’s sister. I genuinely have no opinion on Scott Mills.

I was shocked when they didn’t edit out the part when Mark Wright claimed Alison Hammond had “natural rhythm!” – bloody hell, are we in 1974? Numpty Mark got Karen ‘don’t let me near Ola Jordan’ Hauer. The last time a Mark and Karen danced together (Ramprakash and Hardy) they won, but I’m not sure that will happen this time. I only point this out because one of my best friends is called Mark and I always find the pairing of these names funny (it’s all about me me me).

Alison Hammond is this year’s token big girl. She’ll be fine for the first few weeks, then will come the lifts, when last year’s winner Aljaz will struggle, and the judges and Claud and Tess will find a hundred and one ways of avoiding the word fat.

Judy Murray, mother of Andy and to me the vision of Princess Di if she had lived to be in her fifties, got paired with Anton. There’s something quite athletic about tennis mom Judy and I get the feeling she might actually be quite good, and Anton might be in with a chance.

Sunetra Sarker from ‘Casualty‘ got Brendan Cole, and I have the feeling this will be a fiery match. She’s been in showbiz for years as an actress, but it doesn’t mean she’ll be a good dancer.

Frankie Bridge from The Saturdays got Kevin from Grimsby. Logically, Frankie should be very good. She has both the figure and the experience to dance well, but there’s a difference to dancing to pop music and doing ballroom. But it didn’t harm Alesha Dixon.

Strictly‘ will be back later this month and look out for my weekly round-up.


TV REVIEWS: The Great British Bake Off - 2014


So it was European week which meant lots of silly accents from Mel and Sue as our final six contestants started off by baking a yeast cake thing. There were no disasters, but I’m not sure how Nancy got away with making a Caribbean cake, and Kate’s excuse that her Israeli cake qualified because Israel is in the ‘Eurovision Song Contest‘ was decidedly ropey.

The technical challenge was to make Mary’s Princess Cake, which looked bloody delicious, but to a non baker, hell to make. Unfortunately, because all the bakers that are left are so good, there are no terrible mishaps now and most of them turned out quite well and I would have happily eaten all of them. The same with the final cake which was a stacking caramel thing. Chetna was awarded star baker, and in a twist, because Mary and Paul could not decide who was worse (and let’s face it Diana left early and they had to keep with the schedule) neither Richard or Kate were eliminated.

My money is on Nancy or Luis winning.


About Karen Mason

Karen Mason is a London-based writer. She has published fifteen historical fiction novels and is currently working on her sixteenth. She is also an avid movie goer, with a particular preference for gritty British cinema and a weakness for Jason Statham films! Her music tastes stretch from Muse to the Cinematic Orchestra and she loves discovering new acts.

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