Strictly Too Old

August 5, 2009

Another casualty of the Strictly Come Dancing age shave has presented itself this week. Her name is Karen Hardy, she’s a professional dancer and she’s 39. In light of the previous culling of Arlene Phillips (66 and counting) to be replaced by Alesha Dixon (30 and shiny), it’s not looking good for women in TV right now and in Strictly in particular. Apparently Ms Hardy will still be in the show, just not in the main task of dancing because they are going for young ‘uns of 20 years upwards (but not too far upwards, so careful now). In the land of fantasy, an opportunity could arise for her to be a judge if Alesha doesn’t come up to scratch in this new series. After all, she’s just over 25 years younger than Arlene but only nine years older than Alesha. Mind you, she’d better hurry up because as we all know, if you’re over 40 in almost any sphere in life, but particularly TV, you’re officially fucked.

Until this series, the person with most to fear about getting a P45 for the crime of being old was Bruce Forsyth. Witness the amended catchphrase from The Generation Game, the 70s game show he’s best known for. “Nice to see you, to see you nice” was replaced by “I’m not doddery, doddery I’m not” as a mark of defiance. Arlene doesn’t have such a catchphrase to garner support and neither does Karen. Still, there are plenty of people ruffling their feathers and spitting blood in anger and solidarity, but as a Strictly fan I now fear for how this show is progressing. I do feel sorry for Alesha. She seems to be very personable and she dealt with a very public marital breakdown a few years ago with dignity. It’s a shame she’s caught up in this debacle, although you could say she didn’t have to take the job. She could’ve replaced Tess Daly as presenter and that would’ve been OK, though not for Tess, obviously. I believe she would’ve been great. Now there’s the potential for a slap down if she’s found wanting in such a big role, because she’s neither a professional dancer nor choreographer.

The BBC is a good TV corporation. Although I, among many others complain bitterly about paying the Licence fee, they do still try new things and in the main keep to the Ethos of public service broadcasting producing quality entertainment with education. I fear that in the rush to try and outdo the X-factor, which is rubbish in my opinion, it’s going down the same tacky road.


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