Saturday, 12 September 2015

Strictly Corrie Dancing

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in August 2015.)

With the announcement that little Katy Armstrong is about to don twelve inches of fake tan and a diamante thong to appear on Strictly Come Dancing, I thought it would be an ideal time to look back at previous Coronation Street stars who've braved the ballroom.

For the first few years, there were no Corrie stars on the show, and there still haven't been any current cast members shaking their groove thang on the dance floor.  For some reason ITV isn't keen on letting its soap stars have time off to appear on one of the glittering stars in the BBC's firmament; can't think why.  Shame, because who wouldn't want to see Rita or Gail doing a samba to Ooh Stick YouIn fact, the first Coronation Street actor to appear on the show hadn't even been on Corrie yet.

Jill Halfpenny - Series Two

AKA: medical strumpet Rebecca Hopkins.

Professional Partner: Darren Bennett

Eliminated: WINNER!

Strictly Journey: I completely forgot that Jill Halfpenny was in Corrie - I remember her mainly from Byker Grove, because I'm ancient - but Strictly blogging legend Chris Rubery (aka the Monkseal) pointed out my error on Twitter so I had to do a quick re-edit of this post mere moments after pressing "publish".  Jill, of course, won the show, and has since gone on to be spoken of in hushed tones as Queen Of All Things Strictly.  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: sadly, Will's appearance pre-dates both my interest in the show and YouTube so I was unable to review his performance.  However, he was eliminated ahead of middle aged BBC Breakfast legend Bill Turnbull so I don't think he was the new 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: again, YouTube is not our friend, and the only footage I could find 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.

Claire King - Series Four

AKA: current resident 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.  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: see above.  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.

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 will 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 (a) to 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: recently 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 got a wife and child out of the experience, so he probably couldn't care less.

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.

BONUS: 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.

Will Georgia May Foote manage to go one better than Natalie Gumede and snatch the Strictly crown?  She claims to have had a little bit of dance training as a child, which usually means she spent most of her infancy in a tutu doing the splits and she'll blow us all away with her skills (see West End star Denise Van Outen claiming that all she'd done in Chicago was sit on a chair).  It also means that the public, while appreciating her talent, won't vote for her because she didn't have a journey.  We shall see when Strictly returns in September.  In the meantime, keeeeeep dancing!

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