Tweet Hee Hee: Episode 8

Morning and happy new week! Time as always to bring you our round up of all the funniest bits from social media this last week with Tweet Hee Hee – guaranteed to bring more of a smile to your face than an unexpected day off due to a power cut.

So let’s get your laughing gear on for a brand new week and bring on the LOLs…


It seems that the clocks going back didn’t end well for some people over the weekend just gone. Matt Deegan for one: 


Pretty self explanatory, this one.


If you’re stuck with a perfect costume for your pooch tomorrow night, Crusoe the Dachshund has the perfect suggestion (N.B May only work in countries where they have skunks)…


Tweet Hee Hee regular Olaf Falafel has brought home the eggs again:


With both Tom Fletcher and Harry Judd out promoting their new books The Creakers and Get Fit, Get Happy at the moment, it seems that it’s all out war:

Tom’s not bothered by it at all, of course…


You decide.


#AlmostStrictlyLiveBlogging Week 7: Halloween Results

Welcome back to the second installment of this weekend’s #AlmostStrictlyLiveBlogging – going under this reanimated title for one week only as the BBC’s hit celebrity ballroom series Strictly Come Dancing celebrates Halloween.

Whilst we bought you our review of last night’s dances earlier on today in lieu of not being able to live blog last night, tonight we are all systems to go to bring you our live blog of this week’s results.

We get going with our warm up at 6:45pm, looking ahead to tonight’s dance off, before we go live with the main BBC One show as always at 7:15pm. Don’t forget to swipe down or press F5 to refresh to ensure you get all the dance off news as it happens, and to leave your comments below or Tweet us using the hashtag #AlmostStrictlyLiveBlogging – here’s to a chillingly ghoul-d evening!

Alex 💃🎃👻📝👍


Welcome one and all! So last night, Halloween week arrived on Strictly and with it, the eleven remaining couples taking to the floor for some frightful and thrilling routines. 

It was good news for Debbie and Giovanni – not only did Shirley queen the former the new ‘Queen of Latin’, but they came top of the leaderboard for the second week running after getting three 10s and an overall score 39 for their Charleston.

Aston and Janette were just behind them after getting their first two 10s and a total of 38 for their stompin’ Paso Doble, with Alexandra and Gorka’s zombified Tango completing the top 3 with 35 points.

Down at the bottom though, dance off survivors Simon and Karen found themselves in last place again with only 16 points for their American Smooth.


Tonight, the fifth dance off of the series will see eleven couples go down to ten as another Strictly dream becomes a Halloween nightmare.

Also on the show tonight, the professional dancers perform a psychological thriller of a group dance – something about haunting Brendan I believe? 

Plus, pop legends Steps are performing their smash hit single ‘Scared of the Dark’ live in the studio!


15 minutes to go! Let’s take a horrifying terror of a flashback to some classic Strictly Halloween routines from years past – starting with the cacklingly hilarious Nancy Dell’olio’s graveyard set Rumba with Anton du Beke in 2011: 


10 minutes to go! Our next Halloween flashback is Frankie Bridge and Kevin Clifton’s gravity defying Wicked inspired Tango from 2014: 


5 minutes to go! Our last flashback to Halloween weeks past is from 2010, with Scott Maslen and Natalie Lowe’s chillingly good Viennese Waltz… 


Here we ghoullll…!


Oooh. Well they weren’t wrong on the psychological thriller front were they? Poor Brendan. Just hope we don’t get any nightmares tonight! 


So…who do we think is heading for the dance off? I think it’ll be Simon again with possibly Jonnie in the dance off after their performances last night…leave your comments below!


Here comes the first lot of couples safely through to next weekend’s live show:

  • Davood and Nadiya!
  • Debbie and Giovanni!
  • Joe and Katya!
  • Alexandra and Gorka!

And the first couple in the dance off are…Mollie and AJ! I’m sorry but there’s no way they should be in here!


Time now for Steps performing their smash hit single ‘Scared of the Dark’ from their chart topping album ‘Tears on the Dancefloor’! We love this song *does dance routine*


Poor Claudia! She wasn’t slouching was she? 


Here’s the second lot of couples safely through to next week…

  • Aston and Janette!
  • Susan and Kevin!
  • Gemma and Aljaz!
  • Ruth and Anton!
  • Jonnie and Oti!

    Which means Simon and Karen are in the dance off again…and probably heading home (oops!)


    Simon and Karen are dancing their American Smooth again. I don’t need to say anymore except they’re going home. Aren’t they?


    Time now for Mollie and AJ to dance their Cha Cha Cha again. I mean I know they’re safe anyway because they’re against Simon but still. I am incredulous. This was one of their best dances to date and it’s still amazing!


    Time now for the judges to vote for who they are saving from that dance off…

    • Craig is voting to save Mollie and AJ…
    • Darcey is also saving Mollie and AJ…
    • And Bruno is also saving Mollie and AJ…
    • And Shirley would have also saved Mollie and AJ…

    Which means that, not that we didn’t already know from that, that Simon and Karen are the fifth couple to be voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2017.


    That’s it for another weekend and for our Halloween week specials! #StrictlyLiveBlogging returns in its normal live form next Saturday at 6:50pm and Sunday when all ten remaining couples will dance again…until then – don’t have Halloween nightmares and keeeep dancing!

    🎃🎃🎃 👻👻👻 💃💃💃 📝📝📝 👍👍👍

    #AlmostStrictlyLiveBlogging Week 7: Halloween Week Review

    As darkness fell across the UK last night, and the Halloween week edition of the BBC hit Strictly Come Dancing went on air, the first live blog of this weekend’s #StrictlyLiveBlogging made it’s way to WordPress – only to be chowed down en route by a zombie invasion, and only now, in broad daylight does it reanimate itself… *does evil laugh*

    Well, sort of. Basically, we were unable to live blog the Halloween week show last night due to family commitments, so instead, just for this week, we’re doing a review of last night’s frighteningly ghoul-d (and devilishly disastrous) dances from the eleven remaining couples today. 

    The live blog for the results show will be here as always tonight, with a slightly later warm up of 6:45pm, followed by the live blog starting at 7:15pm. So for now, grab a coffee and kick back, as we give our reviews and scores on each couple’s dance…

    🎃🎃🎃 👻👻👻 💃💃💃 📝📝📝 👍👍👍

    (MUSIC: ‘Troublemaker’ by Olly Murs and Flo Rida)

    Dressed as undead pirates (good call Jonnie, we did that last year for Halloween), it was obvious that this wasn’t his dance, especially coming so soon after last week’s awesome Quickstep. The truth is you need hip action here, which he didn’t have, and he seemed to struggle throughout. Bit of a disappointing effort overall, and one which I suspect could put him and Oti in danger.

    Our Score: 5

    Judge’s Scores:

    Craig – 4 / Darcey – 6 / Shirley – 5 / Bruno – 5 / Total: 20


    (MUSIC: ‘Bewitched Theme’ by Steve Lawrence)

    Well, as with their Samba last week, what this dance lacked in technique it made up for with content and comedy. Ruth pulled off Elizabeth Montgomery’s role of Samantha from the popular 60s TV sitcom with charm and a divine nose twitch – and Anton made a dapper if hapless Darrin!

    Our Score: 6

    Judge’s Scores

    Craig – 4 / Darcey – 6 / Shirley – 6 / Bruno – 6 / Total: 22


    (MUSIC: Tom Jones – ‘Delilah’)

    Now don’t get me wrong. Simon is a nice chap and we love him on Sunday Brunch, but let’s be brutally honest here. He was very lucky to find himself in the dance off with Brian last week, as I suspect he wouldn’t be here for Halloween week otherwise. God knows he tries but he cannot dance for love nor money, despite Karen’s good choreography here. Then again, Strictly seems to have a ‘cats with nine lives’ trajectory when it comes to celebrities whose dancing skills leave little to be desired…

    Our Score: 2

    Judge’s Scores:

    Craig – 2 / Darcey – 5 / Shirley – 5 / Bruno – 4 / Total: 16

    4. GEMMA AND ALJAZ – Jive

    (MUSIC: ‘Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’tve)’ – The Buzzcocks)

    What Craig said last week about Gemma being a front runner remains true this week. An edgy style of Jive here, plenty of kicks, flicks and sass, and we are especially loving the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme that her and Aljaz went for with their dance this week! Long may they continue (so long as Aljaz doesn’t recieve exposure to sunlight, garlic or stakes through the heart)…

    Our Score: 9

    Judge’s Scores:

    Craig – 7 / Darcey – 8 / Shirley – 7 / Bruno – 8 / Total: 30

    5. JOE AND KATYA – Foxtrot

    (MUSIC: ‘Trouble’ – Coldplay)

    Hmmm. Bit of an odd one this. Laboured emphasis on the lyrics about spiderwebs that are in this particular Coldplay song they danced to at a level only rivalled by Pan’s People in the 70s, it wasn’t as great as their Paso Doble last week, but formidable enough. Joe’s hold and frame is getting much better with each week that passes as well.

    Our Score: 7

    Judge’s Scores:

    Craig – 8 / Darcey – 8 / Shirley – 8 / Bruno – 8 / Total: 32


    (MUSIC: ‘Better the Devil You Know’ – Kylie Minogue)

    Watching the Friday edition of It Takes Two, Ed Balls (last year’s partner for Katya, who was on the Friday panel) made the insightful comment that whilst Mollie and AJ are brilliant, they’re in need of a ‘moment’ dance to take them to the next level as your Astons and Debbies. I’m inclined to believe looking at this that their Cha Cha Cha was rather close to being that ‘moment’ indeed. They looked fabulous in their red devil outfits, Mollie was fun, cheeky, flirty and had great hip action and New Yorkers throughout as well, great choreography by AJ as well. A very good effort indeed!

    Our Score: 9

    Judge’s Scores:

    Craig – 6 / Darcey – 7 / Shirley – 7 / Bruno – 7 / Total: 27


    (MUSIC: ‘Maneater’ – Nelly Furtado)

    A zombie themed Tango here, greatly done by the make up and costume team. But – and I suspect I will be unpopular for saying this – for some reason, I just couldn’t quite get into this one. Alexandra, for me, is suffering a tad from ‘How do you follow that?’ Syndrome since doing her Jive two weeks ago (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. It was good, just not enough to warrant three 10s in my view). It was fine, very polished, had the attitude a Tango needs but…that’s all there was for me.

    Our Score: 7

    Judge’s Scores:

    Craig – 9 / Darcey – 9 / Shirley – 9 / Bruno – 8 / Total: 35


    (MUSIC: ‘Wicked Game’ by Chris Isaak)

    Well. Well. Well! We’d just got over the brilliance of Debbie and Giovanni’s Rumba last week, and then Davood goes and pulls this out the bag! So romantic, but with the right amount of haunting chill to it (and to one of my favourite songs too, it has to be said), I felt it was believable, good line extension, very graceful and yet sensual at the same time. His. Best. Dance. To Date!

    Our Score: 10

    Judge’s Scores:

    Craig – 5 / Darcey – 7 / Shirley – 6 / Bruno – 7 / Total: 25


    (MUSIC: ‘Killer Queen’ – Queen)

    I do love Susan and Kevin, and think they are an adorable partnership with some of the best dances on this series so far – but this wasn’t one of them sadly. Did love her Game of Thrones style dragon she ascended to the dance floor on, but a lot of the time it was a bit stilted and laboured. But I do love them all the same!

    Our Score: 6

    Judge’s Scores:

    Craig – 3 / Darcey – 5 / Shirley – 5 / Bruno – 5 / Total: 17


    (MUSIC: ‘Frankie’ – Sister Sledge)

    Or the ‘Char Les Ston’ as Giovanni has now taken to calling it on It Takes Two. Well. Remember last year when the judges said Jill Halfpenny, Jay McGuinness and Ore Oduba had formed the holy trinity of world class Jives on Strictly? Well, step forward Debbie, because along with Caroline Flack and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, you have just formed the holy trinity of great Charlestons. UH. MAY. ZING!

    Our Score: 10

    Judge’s Scores:

    Craig – 9 / Darcey – 10 / Shirley – 10 / Bruno – 10 / Total: 39


    (MUSIC: ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – Nirvana)

    Where do you even start with this? The bullfighter in the graveyard via a 90s grunger anthem? Who’d thunk it? Fantastic choreography, with Janette just giving Aston enough to work with, and executing the simplest of moves – the feet stamping in particular – with the conviction of a leading matador. Quite simply the dance of last night!

    Our Score: 10

    Judge’s Scores:

    Craig – 9 / Darcey – 10 / Shirley – 9 / Bruno – 10 / Total: 38

    So what were your thoughts on last night’s dances? Leave your comments below, or you can Tweet us, for one week only, with the hashtag #AlmostStrictlyLiveBlogging – and we’ll see you back here a bit later on for the live blog of the results show!

    #BlastfromthePast: The Worst Witch (1986)

    Welcome to a suitably spooky DeLorean ride for Halloween on this week’s #BlastfromthePast. This week, we hop on our broomsticks to 1986, when the then 11 year old Fairuza Balk (Return to Oz, The Craft) took up the role of one of Britain’s best loved witches.

    Originally airing on ITV in October of that year, The Worst Witch had started life some ten years before as the first in a series of bestselling novels by popular children’s author Jill Murphy. This feature length adaptation of the first book in the series was to be the first of three TV adaptations – including a long running series in 1998, and now a new version of the show on CBBC and Netflix in 2017 – but arguably, in my view, one of its best.

    For those unfamiliar with the series, The Worst Witch follows the misadventures of Mildred Hubble, a witch-in-training at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches (St Michael’s College in Tenbury doubling up as the academy for this adaptation) who means well but frequently gets everything wrong, leading to her being dubbed the worst witch in the entire academy.

    Her best friend Maud Warlock is often along for her misadventures, but matters aren’t usually helped by the fact that her frosty form mistress, Miss Hardbroom, is always on her case, as is teacher’s pet and vindictive goody goody, Ethel Hallow. The events of the first book and the 1986 film chronicle Mildred’s first term at the academy, with laughter potions going wrong, pupils being turned into pigs, a broomstick formation display at the Halloween ceremony going spectacularly tits up, and Miss Cackle’s wicked twin sister Agatha, and her coven of cronies, plotting to take over the entire school and turn everyone into toads.

    The 1986 version finds Balk in the role of Mildred Hubble, with The Avengers star Diana Rigg in the role of a dramatic and comically camp Miss Hardbroom, whilst Charlotte Rae takes on both Miss Cackle and Agatha, and the Sweet Transvestite himself, Tim Curry, plays the Grand Wizard. 

    This adaptation wasn’t met in high regard by Jill Murphy herself, but so many elements to this film make this entertaining and compulsive viewing for me every Halloween, including, but not limited to:

    • The dodgy 80s early CGI/green screen. There’s plenty of it abounding in this version but the flight sequences of the Grand Wizard in particular make him look, as me and my sisters observed, like a sock has been cut and pasted into the scenery.
    • The songs by Don Black and Charles Strouse. Only three of them, admittedly, but the title song, sung with total theatrical abandon by a young Bonnie Langford, and the songs by both Agatha and the Covens’ ‘Queen Aggie’s School’ and the Grand Wizard’s song at the Halloween ceremony are OTT spectacles of the best kind. Especially lyrics in the latter along the lines of ‘Anything can happen on Halloween, your dentist could turn into the Queen’. Quite.
    • The fact it sticks to the plot line of the book. More so than other adaptations, the 1998 series in particular, it doesn’t deviate by having Ethel turned into a pig then a duck before she becomes herself again, or by Mildred getting Maud to help her fight Agatha and her coven.
    • It’s really funny in places. Charlotte Rae’s portrayal of Agatha, and her pairing with bumbling sidekick Delilah (played by Su Elliott) is a hoot. Similarly, Miss Cackle’s niece, the straight talking, trashy but flashy Donna (played by Kate Buckley), looking every inch like she has stepped out of CBGBs, is a hoot and greatly underused. 

    But more than anything, I greatly identified with the character of Mildred Hubble. Growing up, as the title song says, isn’t easy, and everyone can identify, through the medium of a fantasy, magical witches’ academy, the themes of being bullied, not being great academically, and just generally trying to find your place in the world with the best of intentions.

    The full 1986 film is on YouTube thankfully, and is well worth a watch after a round of trick or treating this weekend. Charmingly shoddy and retro, but bewitching all the same. 

    What are your memories of this week’s #BlastfromthePast? Tweet me now @ThePensmith10 using the hashtag #BlastfromthePast and I may feature some of your Tweets in next week’s blog!

    #SongoftheWeek: Melanie C – ‘Room for Love’

    • ARTIST: Melanie C
    • SONG: Room for Love


    For her 28th solo single (yes, it’s that many now for those keeping count), the artist formerly known as Sporty’s offered up one of the best cuts from her seventh studio album, ‘Version of Me’, that came out exactly a year ago this week.

    Melanie C’s solo material, of all the Spice Girls, has always been famously hard to put into any one particular box – who can forget the switch in contrast of styles on the singles from her 1999 debut ‘Northern Star’? – and ‘Room for Love’ is no exception to the rule.

    Atmospheric, but with a foot gently easing on the trendier sounds of the moment, the single carries with it an optimistic message of hope and finding promise in new doors opening when another one closes in its lyrics.

    Best of all with this release is a touching video, with live tour footage interspersed with a compilation of her fans – and some very recognisable faces – giving their own takes on the song. Best make room for ‘Room for Love’ on your playlists, then.

    ‘Room for Love’ is out to stream and download now on Red Girl Records. Twitter: @MelanieCmusic 

    Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!

    #CrazyStupidAlbum: Niall Horan – ‘Flicker’

    There will be a curiously late 90s/early 00s feel to the top end of the UK album chart this coming Friday, if the current midweeks are anything to go by. Not least because of the spectacle of a George Michael album currently leading the way to be number one (albeit a heavily repacked one), but of the sight of two former members of very successful pop bands slogging it out for the top spot. All it’s lacking now is an ‘are-they-aren’t-they’ red-top media circus with one of the artists conveniently starting a relationship with the 2017 equivalent of Chris Evans (that’s the radio DJ, people born after 1993, not the actor), a la Geri Halliwell. But that’s enough about Taylor Swift.

    No, one suspects that Niall Horan won’t ever feel the need to stoop to such levels, even though his record is set to debut in second place (although it is set to debut atop the US Billboard chart as I write this review). In fact, much of his solo career thus far has happened quietly, perhaps by accident one could argue. When One Direction took their break exactly two years ago, all the immediate focus wasn’t on him when the harried talk of ‘doing a Robbie’ began to be bandied about, as is always the way when a major league pop act calls time or takes five for a bit ‘to pursue their own projects’.

    In the two years since, Zayn Malik and Harry Styles have both released albums to critical adoration and laughable talk of being ‘renaissance men’ like they’re the second coming, but with heavily frontloaded sales that have belied these notions, and barely remembered number one hits, whilst Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson have released insignificant one off singles tapping into the generic, bland-o ‘Tropi-house’ sound with producers and DJs with names, that for all the world, sound like characters from the Wacky Races.

    But what Niall’s launch has lacked in a loud social media fanfare, it has more than made up for with some truly brilliant music, with an appeal far greater than the supposedly more credible offerings of his bandmates. ‘Flicker’, his debut set, opens with ‘On The Loose’, a breezy, catchy soft rocking number that calls to mind Fleetwood Mac and ‘Brothers in Arms’ era Dire Straits. From there, it moves from the still gorgeously nostalgic debut top 10 single ‘This Town’, into a delightful country tinged number, ‘Seeing Blind’, a collaboration with Maren Morris that taps neatly into the new Nashville remit whilst retaining a lot of his Emerald isle troubadour leanings.

    His biggest hit to date, ‘Slow Hands’, co-written with Tobias Jesso Jr (the man who was part of Adele’s mega selling last album ’25’) is currently the most played song on US pop radio at the moment, following its top 10 success here in the UK over the summer. Listening to it again five months on reminds you exactly of why. Cutting a fine, swaggering groove, with a cheeky lyric, it’s the sort of record you can imagine the same people who still swoon over the moment Justin Timberlake released ‘Cry Me A River’ 15 years ago will talk about in reminiscent, feted excitement come 2032 – and beyond.

    Our former #SongoftheWeek ‘Too Much to Ask’ continues to be as beautiful and haunting as it was a month ago – even if it has criminally been deprived of ascending to the top of the charts thus far this autumn. A roguish detour into his home roots back in Mullingar makes itself known on this record, on tracks like ‘Since We’re Alone’, which again has a touch of the Nicks and McVie to it, and also via the Ed Drewett co-written ‘On My Own’, with an anthemic chorus that rivals The Chieftains in it’s charming sing-along tale of good time ribaldry: ‘I’ll drink ’til it’s empty / Stay out ’til it’s dead / I’ll wake up at midday / And marry my bed / I’ll kiss all the women / Get punched in the head / You could offer the world, baby / But I’ll take this instead’.

    The real highlight of the album though, and the one that you suspect will grow to be it’s biggest if it eventually becomes a single, is the title track. Raw, stripped back and really showcasing his voice – rough round the edges, but warm and with feeling – it taps so neatly, as much of this record does, into its underlying themes of love, loss and heartbreak, in verses like: ‘When you lay there and you’re sleeping / Hear the patterns of your breathing / And I tell you things you’ve never heard before / Asking questions to the ceiling / Never knowing what you’re thinking / I’m afraid that what we had is gone’.

    It’s the touchstone of a record that’s carefully but thoughtfully crafted, and OK, yes, it’s one that wears its influences outwardly – even down to the lovingly retro, 70s ‘Capitol Records’ style print on the CD – but it’s none the worse for all that. In an age when music is so readily being made to ‘sound like Spotify’ (yes, this is sadly an actual thing) and chase a seemingly unending trend of ‘will this do?’, Niall’s stood out just by following his own instincts and musical loves and, with ‘Flicker’, making the kind of album you suspect he’d listen to himself if he wasn’t him. And when, in a year or two from now, as with Take That and Spice Girls before them, the rest of One Direction realise that being a member of one of pop’s biggest acts will only take you so far for a solo career of considerable length and success, Niall’s going to be the one with singles on the airwaves and shifting the albums for a while to come.

    STREAM THESE: ‘Flicker’, ‘On My Own’, ‘On the Loose’

    RATING: 4/5

    ‘Flicker’ is out now on Capitol Records. Niall tours the UK and Ireland in March next year as part of his world tour, starting in Belfast on 13th March – tickets are on sale now. Twitter: @NiallOfficial

    Tweet Hee Hee: Episode 7

    Happy new week one and all – and half term to those that may be lucky enough to be celebrating it. Time to start your Monday with Tweet Hee Hee, your weekly round up of all the funny goings on we’ve encountered from social media this last week.

    So with Halloween but a week away, time to get a whole skeleton of funnybones tickled for a brand new week…


    Two weeks on from leaving the Strictly dancefloor, and the Reverend Richard Coles is finding consolation in the fact that the royalties continue to roll in for his mega selling 80s hit with The Communards… 

    But of course, as anyone will tell you, a guaranteed royalties banker is to write a song for use in December every year…

    Next year’s Christmas number one album? You bet. 


    One of the big talking points on social media last Wednesday, was the appearance on ITV’s primetime schedule of a Gordon Ramsay documentary. Alas, in a hashtag (and programme title) that was the least well executed since #susanalbumparty, many were left disappointed and misled by the promise of Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine:

    This however, was our absolute favourite depiction in a ‘What you could have won’ moment: 


    Remember kids – when, in years from now, Apple render headphones cordless and thus make the standard model obsolete, you won’t feel the pain that us – and Greg James – experienced: 


    It also slightly resembles Gail Platt from Coronation Street, no? 


    The latest swathe of autumn gales and rain to not be named after an 80 year old piano teacher hit the UK over the weekend. But some weren’t convinced of it’s hurricane potential: 


    Simon McCoy is the best BBC News reader of them all for the simple reason that he is the living embodiment of Dougal from the Magic Roundabout. We rest our case: 

    #StrictlyLiveBlogging Week 6: Fifth Live Show Results

    Welcome back people to your second dose of #StrictlyLiveBlogging for this weekend. Tonight, the fourth couple are about to be voted off in tonight’s dance off and thus bring 12 down to 11 in BBC celebrity dance series Strictly Come Dancing

    We’ll be warming up with a look back at last night’s dances at 6:30pm, before we go live at 7:15pm along with the results show on BBC One. Don’t forget as always to swipe down or press F5 to refresh to get all the dance off news as it breaks, and you can also leave your comments below or Tweet us using the hashtag #StrictlyLiveBlogging.

    Alex 💃🎉📝😄👍


    Last night, the fifth live round of dances took place, as the twelve remaining celebrities and their professional partners took to the Strictly floor once again – only to three judges mind, as Bruno Tonioli was off on prior work commitments – in hopes of getting through to Halloween week next weekend. 

    We saw a return to the top of the leaderboard for Debbie and Giovanni, who scored a maximum of 27 out of 30 for their beautiful Rumba. Elsewhere, Joe and Katya finished just behind them on 26 points – 10 of which were awarded by Shirley – for their traditional and well received Paso Doble.

    Elsewhere, as you can see, four couples finished up tied for third and last place, so really, with viewer votes combined, it is all to play for tonight as to who will be in the dreaded dance off. Could we be in for another shock result?


    Also on the results show tonight, the professional dancers will open the results show with a 60s, speed dating inspired group Jive.

    Plus, chart topping Irish pop rockers The Script are performing their new single, ‘Arms Open’, live in the studio, with an accompanying routine from Oti and Aljaz. 


    Half an hour to go! Social media was a-buzz with reactions to last night’s show. Comedian (and former Strictly Christmas special 2015 winner) Rufus Hound even made a bold but arguably good claim: 

    Fellow Strictly bloggers and readers @SCD_support and @strictlysuze (Hi guys!) were also so excited about the show last night that near coughing fits occurred: 

    Ace, son of JB Gill, Aston’s former JLS bandmate, did a unique interpretation of Debbie and Giovanni’s Rumba: 

    And Mollie revelled in her Cinderella like transformation for her and AJ’s Viennese Waltz: 


    25 minutes to go! Let’s take a trip down memory lane to dances from Week 5s past in Strictly history. First up, from 2014, let’s revisit Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev’s stunning Paso Doble to a Bond theme classic: 


    20 minutes to go! Our next gem from Week 5s past, from series 7 in 2009, is Ricky Whittle and Natalie Lowe’s Viennese Waltz: 


    15 minutes to go! Our final Week 5 flashback takes us back to series 10 in 2012, where we find Pasha Kovalev again, this time with Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh for their Salsa to Beyoncé’s ‘Naughty Girl’: 


    10 minutes to go…


    Who’s going home people? Time to find out…


    Fabulous group dance! Taking us right back to the swinging 60s, very Bob Fosse-esque – and serious props to Dianne’s purple boots! 


    Next week is the most hallowed of Strictly institutions – Halloween week. It’s time to find out which first lot of couples are going to be going through to that week. Here they come…

    • Joe and Katya!
    • Mollie and AJ!
    • Davood and Nadiya!
    • Debbie and Giovanni!
    • Aston and Janette!

    And the first couple in tonight’s dance off…Simon and Karen! 


    Time now for a performance from The Script – from their number one album ‘Freedom Child’, they’re performing their new single ‘Arms Open’ live, with a routine from Aljaz and Oti!

    Great routine, and nice new single. We weren’t too keen on The Script’s last single ‘Rain’ but ‘Arms Open’ is a great single – catchy but soulful pop rock only they do best!


    Have to say Darcey looks really lovely tonight – nice dress especially! Also loving that Shirley has explained what a chasse is at last!


    Time now to reveal who’s also going through to Halloween week next week…

    • Gemma and Aljaz!
    • Jonnie and Oti!
    • Alexandra and Gorka!
    • Susan and Kevin!
    • Ruth and Anton!

    Which means, as correctly predicted by us last night, means that joining Simon and Karen in the dance off is Brian and Amy!


    Eamonn Holmes’ nickname for Ruth is ‘The Witch’…charming!


    Simon and Karen are first in the dance off tonight doing their Charleston again to ‘Fit as A Fiddle’ from Singin’ in the Rain. Not gonna be much to call from this I think – Simon’s still making too many mistakes however…


    Brian and Amy dancing again next with their Jive. Have to say I think this is actually better than last night. Very close to call tonight I think!


    The judges will now vote for who they are saving and sending through to Halloween week next week – here comes the results…

    • Craig is saving Simon and Karen…
    • Darcey is also saving Simon and Karen…
    • Shirley would have also saved Simon and Karen…

    Which as a majority vote means Brian and Amy are the fourth couple to be voted off Strictly Come Dancing for 2017. 


    That’s it for another weekend guys – thanks everyone for reading along again. We’ll see you next weekend for Halloween week – and in the meantime…keeeep dancing and live blogging!

    💃💃💃 📝📝📝 🎉🎉🎉 😄😄😄 👍👍👍

    #StrictlyLiveBlogging Week 6: Fifth Live Show

    Evening all, fans of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing (ooh. We sounded like a policeman)! It’s time once again for another weekend of dazzling celebrity-pro ballroom antics, which means another round of #StrictlyLiveBlogging.

    We’ll get under way as usual with a warm up looking ahead to tonight’s dances at 6pm, followed by our live blog starting at 6:35pm with the BBC One show. Don’t forget as always to swipe down or press F5 to refresh to ensure you’re getting all the updates as they happen, and to leave your comments below or Tweet them to us using the hashtag #StrictlyLiveBlogging.

    Enjoy – and keeeep dancing 📝💃🎉😄👍



    Welcome one and all! So last week, 13 became 12, as after a weekend that saw the first three 10s of the series awarded to singer Alexandra Burke and her partner Gorka Marquez for a Tina Turner inspired Jive, EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami and his partner Nadiya Bychkova found themselves in a shock dance off with Good Morning Britain newsreader Charlotte Hawkins and Brendan Cole, the latter of whom became the third couple to be booted off this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.


    Now just twelve couples remain, all of whom are dancing again tonight in hopes of reaching that most coveted of Strictly institutions – Halloween week – next week. Here’s their dances and what music they’ll be dancing to, as always, via the BBC Strictly Twitter:

    And here as always are the couples (and Janette’s shoe) after finishing dress rehearsals today, and getting ready for tonight’s show: 


    20 minutes to go! This week has been quite the week for comedian Susan Calman and her partner, Kevin Clifton. Almost unable to make it up to Glasgow to train with her on Monday (thanks to Storm Ophelia), she experienced two stumbles in rehearsals today: 


    15 minutes to go! Former Hollyoaks star Gemma Atkinson is feeling the nerves backstage tonight – so much so, she thinks Paralympian Jonnie Peacock once starred with her in Emmerdale

    Meanwhile, Karen Clifton is being made up for a rather interesting look: 

    Glam time xx @bbcstrictly @lucajoneshair

    A post shared by Karen Clifton (@karencliftonofficial) on

    And Mollie King is taking inspiration for her Viennese Waltz tonight from pop royalty: 


    10 minutes to go! Tonight, we almost forgot, is also a Bruno Tonioli free night, as he is away from the panel on a prior commitment, but he will be back for Halloween Week next week – that means that Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell and head judge Shirley Ballas will be judging tonight, meaning no couple can score higher than 30.


    5 minutes to go!


    Here we go people!


    Aah we miss you Bruno. Roll on next week! 


    Kicking off the fifth live show tonight, it’s dance off survivors Davood and Nadiya, who have a coffee shop set Jive. Hopefully they give plenty of extra shots!


    Other coffee chains are available, ladies and gentlemen…


    Very nice from Davood! Great song they’re dancing to from Billy Joel as well. You can see how much he’s enjoying this! Nice and uplifting, good kicks and flicks too!

    Our score: 8. A fun filled Jive guaranteed to keep Davood dance off free!


    Shirley said he set the tone for the evening and that it was a really good dance, and admired that he did the toe heel swivel. Craig said there was a bit too much upper body movement and that he needs to watch his free arm and that it was a bit heavy footed. Darcey said it was a great opening to the night and he bought so much power and energy to the Jive.


    Davood and Nadiya’s scores are in:

    Craig: 6

    Darcey: 8

    Shirley: 8

    Total: 22


    Brendan and Pasha making fabulous Björk impersonators! 

    Mollie and AJ coming up next – this week, a Viennese Waltz to a Cilla Black classic…


    So beautiful and graceful everytime she does a ballroom dance like this Mollie! Executing the spins so classily here as well. AJ and her are a good match! 

    Our score: 8. Beauty and grace – and a high scorer from anyone who had a heart!


    Craig loved her armography and that she followed AJ’s lead really well and that there was lots of wonderful Viennese content. Darcey said that Mollie has grown with this dance and that it was romantic with beautiful grace, but that she needs to relax her hold. Shirley said also that it was romantic with believable chemistry, and that Mollie’s dancing transports her to a different place.


    Scores for Mollie and AJ:

    Craig: 8

    Darcey: 8

    Shirley: 8

    Total: 24


    Simon and Karen are next tonight – how will they get on with their Singin’ in the Rain inspired Charleston?


    Tim Lovejoy for Strictly 2018? Hell yeah! 


    Interesting outfits, very Rupert Bear-esque. I do think however Simon will be in the dance off again tomorrow. He’s still too stilted with his legs and upper body and that’s the one thing you don’t need in a Charleston! 

    Our score: 5. Fit as a fiddle? More like in need of fine tuning. Sorry Simon!


    Darcey said she can see how hard Simon’s been working and that their outfits looked sweet but that he looked nervous and that he was missing too many key moves – the swivel for one! Shirley said it was massively entertaining and that he kept up the change of pace and that she loved his slapstick comedy that he bought to it. Craig said there was no swivel despite Simon’s bad leg, and that he was late on his jump but that he did like the train step and the slapstick ending! 


    Here’s Simon and Karen’s scores:

    Craig: 5

    Darcey: 5

    Shirley: 6

    Total: 16


    Debbie and Giovanni are next up tonight with a Rumba – will her famous flexible legs work in her favour again?


    Awww. Bit emotional after watching this! Paul would be proud of Debbie, no question. And this rumba…well. The gold standard for me with this dance is Rachel Stevens’ one from series 6 in 2008. This is up there on that level, no question! So fluid and beautiful and touching! 

    Our score: 10. A dance that plays to all of Debbie’s strengths and graces and more!


    Shirley said she felt the emotion in Debbie in the dance, and that she’s never seen such beautiful moves before. Craig said he felt the need to channel Bruno and say that it was SENSATIONAL! And he’s off his chair! Darcey said it was wonderful how she moved across the floor and that it was her best dance! 


    Here come Debbie and Giovanni’s scores:

    Craig: 9

    Darcey: 9

    Shirley: 9

    Total: 27 and top of the leaderboard!


    Brian and Amy are next tonight with a Jive inspired by a holiday camp – will it be more red hot than red coat?


    Between Simon’s Charleston and this Jive, we have our dance off tomorrow. I’ve sat through more entertaining tribute acts on zimmer frames! 

    Our score: 3. It’s not unusual this Jive from Brian. But for all the wrong reasons!


    Craig said it didn’t put him in the holiday mood and that it was flat footed and made him look like a wind up toy! Darcey said she unusually loved it, but that the energy in his face isn’t coming across in his body. Shirley said it had the feel good factor and that it made her nostalgic and that it had a lot of content but that he appears to be safest in hold. 


    Brian and Amy’s scores:

    Craig: 4

    Darcey: 6

    Shirley: 6

    Total: 16


    Susan and Kevin are next tonight – after their dazzling quickstep last week, will they shine with their Little Mix inspired Cha Cha Cha?


    Well one thing in Susan’s favour is her commitment to putting in the moves! She looks absolutely beautiful tonight as well, putting in lots of figure 8s and New Yorkers too!

    Our score: 8. Shout out to our Susan, she’s really quite the woman!


    Darcey said it was packed with dance content but that her technique needs to be tighter. Shirley said she loved Susan and would never break up with her and that she brings the cheek to the Cha Cha Cha. Craig (her ex-boyfriend) said he was sad she ripped his photos up but that he loved her energy and performance!


    Susan and Kevin’s scores:

    Craig: 4

    Darcey: 5

    Shirley: 7

    Total: 16


    Aston and Janette are next – they’ve got a Waltz this week, how will he get on with a back to basics dance?


    How cute are Aston and Sarah? They’re gonna be amazing parents. And wow. Aston’s really selling the romantic feel of this dance. This is definitely showing another side to him and that he can bring his sensitive side to the dancefloor! 

    Our score: 8. Gorgeous and graceful waltz from Team MnM!


    Shirley said Aston was the gentleman and that it was a good mix of contemporary and traditional waltz. Craig said he was impressed but that it was a bit sharp and needed a little more flow and also loved the contemporary feel. Darcey said it had a lovely modern twist but that she found it slightly over detailed but that his control and grace in the hold was there.


    The scores for Aston and Janette are in:

    Craig: 8

    Darcey: 8

    Shirley: 8

    Total: 24


    Also coming back after a personal best with their Tango last week, Ruth and Anton are next tonight with their Samba…


    Nice one Ruth! She’s showing off the cheekiness and flamboyance that the party vibe a Samba gives off. OK bit stompy in places and the arm placement needs work still but a lot of fun! 

    Our score: 6. Love is in the air? Maybe more like but good fun from Ruth regardless!


    Craig said he didn’t know how to judge it as it was a bit send up and reminded him of Strictly Ballroom at the Pan Pacific Grand Prix! Darcey said it was over the top but that they came alive and they were having fun. Shirley said it was a brilliant concept for a dance and a good throwback to the ballrooms of 1976, and that it was bright with Samba content!


    Ruth and Anton’s scores are in:

    Craig: 5

    Darcey: 5

    Shirley: 6

    Total: 16


    Gemma and Aljaz are next tonight with a Foxtrot – will they go up another level after their passionate Paso Doble last week?


    One thing that always wins in Gemma’s favour is her acting ability and the skill to get into the character of each dance. Her hold is getting better with each of these ballroom based dances, she’s also – have to say this – is turning into an accomplished dancer! 

    Our score: 9. Fantastic foxtrot turning Gemma into a front runner!


    Darcey said Gemma is changing each week and is growing in confidence with each new dance, and that the quality throughout was very very good. Shirley said she bought romance, class and elegance to this dance, with a gentle rise and fall. Craig said the frontrunners in this competition need to start looking behind them, dah-ling!


    The scores for Gemma and Aljaz are in:

    Craig: 8

    Darcey: 8

    Darcey: 8

    Total: 24


    Joe and Katya are next tonight – will they deliver the traditional Flamenco style Paso Doble we’ve been promised?


    Great sumo suits guys! 


    Joe’s bringing a lot of the masculine strength and energy of the bull to his Paso! Fantastic Flamenco arms throughout and framing is great as well. 

    Our score: 9. Have to say – Joe’s best dance to date!


    Shirley said the phoenix has risen from the ashes and that it was the best Paso Doble from a male celeb we’ve seen on Strictly so far. Craig said there were stilted and wooden moments but that he did really well. Darcey said the traditional Spanish style and the choreography were brilliant and that she absolutely loved it!


    Joe and Katya’s scores:

    Craig: 7

    Darcey: 9

    Shirley: 10! 

    Total: 26


    Speaking of 10s – Alexandra and Gorka are next, returning after their hour of glory last week with a Samba…


    As I said last week, her Jive was good, but not as good as Ore’s was. This Samba however from Alexandra is so suited to her! Bringing the party and sexy for sure with her balance and hip action. 

    Our score: 9. One of Alexandra’s best to date for me!


    Craig said she danced brilliantly but that it was slightly pigeon toed and that she needs to train her feet to turn out slightly. Darcey said she loves her fluid, natural isolations and that she brings the floor alive. Shirley said she has immense power and fantastic energy but that she needs to finnesse the finer details!


    Alexandra and Gorka’s scores:

    Craig: 7

    Darcey: 8

    Shirley: 8

    Total: 23


    Closing the show tonight we have Jonnie and Oti – he’s back on his blade again this week with a Quickstep to Stevie Wonder – but will he be a ballroom wonder once again?


    Jonnie is definitely becoming a contender on the strength of this! It’s matching his athleticism and the level of technique is great here – as Ian Waite said on It Takes Two during the week he just needs to work on the spacing but loved it! 

    Our score: 8. Part time? I’m a full time lover of Team Glitterblade!


    Darcey said he made it look easy and that his cheeky character is coming through and that it was very impressive! Shirley said he put a whole new meaning into spring in your step, and that he had beautiful scatter chasses and scoop chasses and that he was outstanding. Craig said the stars are aligning for Jonnie with all the elements required for this dance.


    Here comes Jonnie and Oti’s scores:

    Craig: 7

    Darcey: 8

    Shirley: 9

    Total: 24


    That’s it then – all the dances done, and our votes all cast. Who was your favourite tonight? We’ll see you back here tomorrow for the results with our warm up and recap of tonight’s dances at 6:30pm, and the live blog starting at 7:15pm. See you then!

    #SongoftheWeek: Pet Shop Boys – ‘The Loving Kind (Monitor Mix)’

    • ARTIST: Pet Shop Boys
    • SONG: The Loving Kind (Monitor Mix)


    I hear you loud and clearly, those that are reading the title of this week’s song and thinking ‘Hang on a minute – haven’t we been here before?’ Because you’re…well. You’re sort of right. I shall explain henceforth.

    You see, Pet Shop Boys have been re-releasing their previous albums as expanded and remastered versions this past year in a series called ‘Further Listening’. Earlier this year in June, 1999’s ‘Nightlife’, 2002’s ‘Release’ and 2006’s ‘Fundamental’ all got this treatment.

    Next in line for a rebirth this week are 2012’s ‘Elysium’, and perhaps most excitingly of all for me, their 2009 album ‘Yes’, a period where I was a huge fan of Neil and Chris’s. I mean, I always have been anyway, but particularly so around the time of this album. For this was the album where they worked with Brian Higgins and his team of hitmakers at Xenomania, which as a long standing fan of theirs also, was a big deal for me and still is.

    Around the time that Neil and Chris were beavering away with Brian, Miranda and the team on genius tracks like ‘Love etc’, ‘More Than a Dream’ and ‘The Way It Used to Be’, Xenomania’s most famous muses, Girls Aloud, were recording what was to be their fifth and final studio album – 2008’s chart topping ‘Out of Control’.

    From the sessions for PSB’s ‘Yes’ came ‘The Loving Kind’, which they agreed to give to Girls Aloud. It was their second single from the ‘Out of Control’ album, and the one which bought their hit count to a record breaking twenty consecutive UK top 10s in January 2009 – the most for a girl group before or since.

    Which now brings us to what you hear today – Neil and Chris’ original version. For a long while, there was something about GA’s ‘The Loving Kind’ that, after a few years had passed, and the excitement of it being a single of theirs had faded, just didn’t stand the test of time over the majesty of ‘Call the Shots’ or ‘The Promise’. If anything, the track sounded even better with its original owners and writers. It still sounds just as galacial and melancholically Scandopop as it did in 2008, mind. Think of this as a glimpse into what might have been had Britain’s biggest girl group of that moment not crossed their path.

    ‘Yes: Further Listening, 2008 – 2010’ is out this week to buy and download via Parlophone/Pet Shop Boys Partnership. Twitter: @PetShopBoys

    Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!