Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dancing in the dark

Every blogger under the sun will be writing about this but what the hell so will I.

So, John Sergeant has quit Strictly Come Dancing because he doesn't want 'the joke to go on' and potentially win the competition despite it being obvious he is not the most technically proficient dancer on display. What does it all mean? There are several points that spring to mind.

1) The judges' annoyance with Sergeant's continual survival, despite the low scores they awarded him, shows they don't understand about the show's success. If the show was about the quality of the dancing they wouldn't need celebrities to get involved. They could have pairs of professional couples and still have the voting format. However, people only watch the show to see celebrities (like animals at the zoo) and how they improve through the coming weeks (or in his case, don't improve).

2) The show is merely mindless entertainment. If the public has chosen to keep on the most entertaining dancer (because he's bad) then that is their right. If they are charged for the privilege of keeping him on, and they still choose to do so, then they have even more right to feel ignored when it seems clear the minority of voices from inside the show have caused Sergeant to quit, despite the public clearly wanting him to win - or at least remain.

3) Personally I feel somewhat disappointed that a man who is involved with political reporting and all that jazz has decided to ignore the wishes and whims of the public and drop out anyway. He's been democratically asked to stay through a paid medium and has ignored those wishes. Of course, he does have the right to stop whenever he wants but for him to do so purely because he doesn't want 'the joke' to go on is unfair. Still, did he jump or was he pushed?

The final point is that now the BBC has to reimburse all the people who paid to keep Sergeant in. How on earth will they do that and what will it cost? Will they send cheques back to people for 25p? Or can they uncharge them from their mobile phones? However they do it you can be sure it's a lengthy, time-consuming and expensive process.

And of course what does this all mean in the long-run? Well nothing. The show must go on as they say and undoubtedly it will while there are the audiences and a healthy revenue being generated. But let's not pretend that Strictly Come Dancing is anything more than another celebrity show. If it wasn't they wouldn't need to get celebrities on in the first place to get people watching. It would be nice to think the public would make a stand and boycott the show, or at least not vote at all, but somehow I don't think it will happen.


Good article on this subject on the BBC site.

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