How Strictly Has Kept Us Dancing All These Years

How Strictly Has Kept Us Dancing All These Years

Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson

Fifteen years, over one hundred celebrities, innumerable sequins and, of course, sevuuuuuuuuun! Strictly Come Dancing continues to delight audiences and inspire members of the public to dance. Despite losing Sir Bruce Forsyth and Len Goodman, the show is in its fifteenth series and going strong. So what is it that makes Strictly so appealing?

A significant portion of the appeal has to go to the show’s professional dancers. An eclectic bunch from a range of nations, everything from wacky to drop-dead gorgeous is covered in the ranks of the pros. It also helps, of course, that the show has hand-picked some of the most phenomenal ballroom and Latin dancers of our time. I know I am not the only Strictly fan whose favourite segment is the Sunday opening dance where the professionals get to do what they do best.

However, there have been dance shows centred solely around professionals that have come and gone, So You Think You Can Dance being such an example. So a clear part of the success enjoyed by Strictly and Dancing With The Stars, the American Equivalent, is down to the celebrity factor.

After so many series, the type of celebrities that can be seen on the show can almost be categorised. I don’t mean separating the actors from the cricketers. From my observations, Strictly celebs fall under four categories:

Can’t dance and never will

Here we can find John Sargent, Ann Widdecombe and many more that, despite their professionals’ best efforts, made up the comedy portion of the show.

Natural talents

This year’s Ashley Roberts resides here, along with Aston Merrygold, Jay McGuiness and many others. These celebs may or may not have a background in dance or theatre and are often separated from the pack early on. Despite their talent, they don’t always go on to win, but they make excellent TV.

The dark horses

Every year, one of the judge’s will name a candidate a ‘dark horse’, usually around a third to halfway through the competition. This year, Joe Sugg has received the nomination.

The ones like us

In some way, this is the hardest category to explain, but every year there will be at least one celebrity that we, the general public, identify with more than the rest. They seem less celebrity-fied, they seem genuine, nice, hardworking, accessible. This year, Dr Ranj Singh became that stand out.

Dr Ranj Singh: The everyday hero

With his brighter than 100 watt smile, Dr Ranj became instantly loveable from the Strictly launch, fully embracing his electric pink sequined shirt. He was partnered up with Janette Manrara, a well-loved American pro who always seems to be overflowing with positivity and enthusiasm. The pocket-sized pair seemed set to take Strictly by storm.

Host of Get Well Soon, Dr Ranj, a fully trained emergency paediatrician, has already found his way into the hearts of many families in the UK. Although keeping a TV personality as host to Get Well Soon and appearing on numerous talk shows including This Morning, Dr Ranj still works within the NHS and at times his night shifts and work hours were mentioned on Strictly. This perhaps epitomises his everyday-ness. All of the celebs on Strictly have jobs and work lives, but there are few professions that seem so salt of the earth as being a doctor.

The much-loved catchphrase “Keeeeep dancing!” that calls on members of the public from all walks of life to get involved and have a go was definitely championed by Dr Ranj. Despite leaving the show last Sunday, he could not help but retain his loveable positivity, saying:

“I’ve done something that I only could have dreamed of. I just want to say to anyone who ever dreams of this you can, you really can, ’cause I’m here and I’ve done it.” (Huffington Post)


Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

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