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Saturday night TV hell

Paul Clarke is trapped by Cat Deeley

Published on April 28th 2011.

Saturday night TV hell

FOR THOSE of us in the house on a Saturday night looking after the kids, the BBC’s programming schedule resembles the televisual version of the seven circles of hell.

A half-witted collection of shoddy light entertainment with only working out who will die on Casualty to look forward to.
But one programme stands out as possibly the most ill-conceived LE programme of all time - So You Think You Can Dance, or SYTYCD for fans of car crash TV unable to speak in anything but acronym.
The premise of this Chernobyl of a programme is that a bunch of dead-eyed semi or professional dancers have to lollop around in a style that isn’t their own. So a jazz dancer does a badly choreographed hip hop routine or a ballet dancer is asked to do 'contemporary' (whatever that is) and so on until someone wins or we all die of boredom.

The final ‘judge’ is streetdancer Cisco, a man so brainlessly upbeat, even when the dancing is hopeless, but is about as street as William Hague in a backwards baseball cap.

Highly trained professional dancers - many straight from the West End - are basically asked to spend all week using their years of experience to learn a new dance, like asking Delia Smith to make a cake out of rubble and sick.
What on earth is entertaining or challenging about that? The answer - not surprisingly - is nothing. No dramatic tension apart from a bit of falling over during rehearsals in a theatrical way and/or crying a bit.
It gets worse. All the dancers are utterly charmless stage school wannabes who didn’t get into the Big Brother house because they were far too unpleasant, cocky or just boring.

And don’t get me started on the judges? Ok, go on then.
The Simon Cowell of the panel is ‘Nasty ‘Nigel Lythgoe who just doesn’t have the heart to diss his fellow hoofers, unlike Mr High Waistband, who genuinely hates everyone who walks in front on him.
At least a virtually unrecognisable Arlene Philips has some experience of choreographing big shows offering some honest advice even if her face doesn’t seem to show much emotion, such is the sheer volume of botox is contains.

Sat next to her is talent vacuum Louise Redknapp and Confidential will be running a competition to find out what gives her right to slag off West End Dancers or even be on TV. Maybe being in Eternal is enough these days.

The final ‘judge’ is streetdancer Cisco, a man so brainlessly upbeat, even when the dancing is hopeless, but is about as street as William Hague in a backwards baseball cap.
Not before anyone thinks I’m getting all Melvyn Bragg about popular culture I actually like (god help me) Strictly Come Dancing, as we can see some celebrity contestants go from nothing to almost professional standards. Others just get to good amateur standard and some like become national laughing stocks. Throw in the drama of a live show, a knowledgeable, genuinely bitchy panel and the ticking time bomb that is Brucie…hey presto, you have a massive hit.
SYTYCD’s presenter, Cat Deeley, must pine for the glory days of CD:UK as she presides over this dog’s dinner of a programme, that needs putting out of its misery as soon as possible. The only reason to watch is so you can know where some of the most loathsome people in the UK are, and that’s on the dance floor.
The real joke is as a licence holder I am paying for this rubbish and in an week when the Beeb produced the moving United it proves at least the drama department know what they are doing.

SYTYCD makes me nostalgic for Summertime Special (young people, ask your parents) where at least the dancing was supposed to be cheesy crap.

Now, has anyone got the number for a decent babysitter?

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Annie SmithApril 28th 2011.

Why are you being so mean to the delightful Louise Redknapp? She has a 20 year long career in the music industry and has had platimum success with her solo albums. It takes relentless dedication to ensure a career lasts in such a fickle industry and so I think you should giver her a break. She knows what she's talking about. Do you?

Simon BinnsApril 28th 2011.

She should form a supergroup with Geri Halliwell and Danni Minogue.

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