I’m about to commit showbiz heresy. The gods of the entertainment world may strike me down with giant jazz hands. Forgive me, but I think it needs to be said…
I preferred Strictly Come Dancing last Saturday without Bruce Forsyth. There, I said it. And wow, it feels better. Try it.
Poor Brucie had the flu – which is never a nice experience for anyone. But every cloud and all that, because what it meant was Claudia Winkleman stepped in to co-host the show with Tess Daly. And wasn’t she rich? Weren’t they a pair? Wait, there’s a song in that somewhere..
Seriously, I know Bruce is a legend. I do. But he can make the show more about him than the dancing. It becomes something of a one-man routine sometimes with all his (tired) jokes. And, let’s face it, Tess should be up for an Oscar for pretending she finds him funny.
Okay, I may be being too harsh. But the point is, I think Strictly – the brand – is bigger than Bruce the comedian/presenter. The ratings for Saturday’s show demonstrate that his absence wasn’t noticed. Its audience peaked at more than 10 million without him.
But would the BBC be brave enough to replace Brucie? They have, after all, refreshed the judging panel (replacing Arlene Phillips – a bad move in my opinion). They’ve also changed the line-up of professional dancers they use. So why not shake up the presenters too?
Sadly, the producers wouldn’t want to have two female presenters. It completely goes against the broadcaster’s preferred ‘older man to younger woman’ presenter formula. And just today there was much excitement that Radio 4′s Today programme was being presented by two women. The very fact that’s something remarkable is a little sad.
I thought Claudia was hilarious on Saturday. She had me laughing out loud on several occasions – and not through pre-scripted jokes. But because she is just naturally bonkers. She’s charming too, despite the manic fringe.
I do have tremendous respect for Brucie. Clearly he’s a legend. But sometimes a change is a good thing for a format. And Strictly could more than handle it.