Saturday nights haven’t been the same since Strictly Come Dancing finished just before Christmas. We used to love to settle down in front of the telly with a steak dinner on our laps and enjoy the glamour, the glitz and the pure escapism of the BBC’s flagship entertainment show. (The evenings haven’t been the same since Merlin finished either but that is something else.) Now we have to make do with Celebrity Pointless and a hot bath.
Last night though our prayers were answered as the Strictly Live Tour pirouetted into town.
The Newcastle Arena, the venue for the show is a place that I would not normally gravitate towards. It has the concrete and steel appeal of a sports stadium rather than the rococo and plush intimacy of the theatre but it wasn’t the building that we came to see. Last night it was awash with crystals and glitter. The place was filled with devotees of the dance programme and expectations of an evening of fantastic entertainment.
And we weren’t let down. The dancing was full on from the get go and the live band provided an excellent back drop to the performances of the stars and their professional companions. There were seven (sev-ern) couples in all ‘competing’ and the three finalists from the last series demonstrated why they had made it until the end of the series – they were streets ahead of the others.
The judge’s comments were funny and a little more risqué than usual. Len’s one-liners, Bruno’s flamboyance, Craig’s uber-critiques and the faux differences of opinion between the three of them baited the crowd into a frenzy while the post dance interviews with the couples gave us greater insight into who they are. Kevin Clifton’s pleading to win the glitter ball and Iveta Lukosiute’s murdering of ‘The Fog on the Tyne’ will stay in my memory for a long time to come.
But the stars of the show for me were Natalie Gumede and her partner Artem Chigvintsev. They were the real winners of the last series and treated us to two outstanding and perfect dances including the jive which we were due to have seen in the week she was unable to perform. I felt a tear in my eye during their second number.
The crowd voted and Susanna Reid won with Natalie second and with this two and a half hours of superb entertainment came to an end. What an evening – what a show. Tell me, when is Strictly coming back again?