Keep dancing: some Strictly sparkle is just what we need right now

By Lauren Taylor |

Every Saturday night from October to December, I get into my comfy clothes with a cup of tea in hand (maybe a couple of biscuits on the side) and settle in to watch the magical world full of glitz and glam that is, of course, Strictly Come Dancing. I have grown up watching Strictly, it has been a part of my life for a long time. I still want to say, “Nice to see you, to see you, nice!” at the start of each episode and I will admit, I was emotional after Bruce Forsyth’s passing in 2017. I have made my fair share of predictions, reacted to shocking scandals, and even watched last years final from a hostel bed in Brussels, Belgium.

This year, more than any other, we have needed the sparkle of Strictly back on our screens and in our lives. The lighthearted humor and incredible dances distract us from the horrible reality we are all facing outside – except when Boris Johnson’s press conference almost delays it of course! Unfortunately, we can spot the slight differences: the social distancing between the couples and judges (I miss Shirley demonstrating her points with a fellow judge), the obvious absence of a studio audience and the simpler, less glittery, costumes from a smaller department this year.

But the biggest difference that I – and many others – were incredibly excited for, was the first same-sex couple to grace our screens! This has definitely been long time coming, and the first glimpse we had was in the same-sex dance featured in 2018. I also must emphasize how important the addition of a same-sex couple to the 2020 line-up was for the LGBTQ+ community and the future of TV. Finally, members of the LGBTQ+ community were able to see themselves represented on screen, in an incredibly popular TV show that had always been invested in tradition. It also created an interesting, brand new dynamic for the dancers that is incredible to see on the screen. Despite Nicola Adams’ unfortunate early departure due to her partner Katya Jones receiving a positive COVID test result, when she had so much more to show us, she definitely made everyone proud. I hope to see more same-sex couples in future series of Strictly – how incredible would it be to see two men in a partnership?

This series has given us a lot more than we anticipated, considering we didn’t even think it was going to continue in the first place! As well as the same-sex couple, we finally got to see Anton Du Beke in the judging chair replacing Motsi Mabuse, who is currently isolating from an emergency trip to her home in Germany. Anyone else think that Anton should be a permanent fixture to the judging panel? There’s enough room for 5, right?

Needless to say, I could go on about Strictly forever. My friends and family are probably sick of me talking about it, and my constant narrating text messages throughout Saturday evenings but in Lockdown 2.0, we need the little things to get us through.

So, my predictions for the final, you may ask? Are Bill and Oti (a double Glitterball for Oti, perhaps?), Clara and Aljaz, HRVY and Janette, and Ranvir and Giovanni, even though I love all the remaining couples!

To state the obvious, it has been a difficult year for everyone, so it is nice that the closing weeks are filled with the sparkle, drama, and cheerful humour of Strictly. Just for an hour and a half on a Saturday, we can escape the harsh realities of life and delve into a glitter-filled world. Just remember, stay safe and keep dancing!