Strictly Come Dancing 2020’s Movie Week

Look, I’m not here to pass an opinion on the dancing. They’ve got three judges for that, and a whole nation of people with telephones. Sure, I know what I like, I can see that Bill Bailey is a surprisingly good mover and that HRVY or Maisie are almost certainly going to win, but it’s not really my field of expertise. No, what I feel I can comment on is how each of the routines weigh up from a filmic point of view, or at least how effectively they reflected the movies they were inspired by.

Nicola & Katya

I didn’t initially think this was a strong opening in terms of how right they got it with their film. As it turns out though it was one of the better ones. The outfits were wrong, the hair pieces were from the right era but the wrong fashion and having them jive to Greased Lightnin’ somehow didn’t work. The car was perfect though and having Nicola come down from the roof on the engine was a nice touch.


Maisie & Gorka

We were told Maisie loved Frozen as a kid but she’d have been 12 when it came out so I’m not sure she was quite still the Disney Princess demographic at that point. Also when dressed as Elsa she was pretending to shiver at the start of the dance, it became pretty clear that she’d never even seen the film. The cold doesn’t bother Elsa anyway, that’s kind of her whole thing.

Sure enough when they started dancing the ‘American Smooth’, whatever that it is, it was evident that they were just doing an unconnected dance while wearing Frozen costumes. Maisie was Elsa but I’m really not sure who Gorka was supposed to be.



Caroline & Johannes

Caroline didn’t really get the memo. She went all out with her love of Musical Theatre but this wasn’t Musical Theatre week. Sure Gypsy was made into a film in ‘62 but they were definitely channelling original stage performer Ethel Merman here, not Rosalind Russell.

This said Caroline Quentin had great moves and real stage presence. You get the impression that if they did revive this show then she’d be great in the part.


Jason & Luba

Oh my sweet lord! These guys are so in the dance off. So they chose Star Wars for this dance but who chose it exactly? They made a thing of the fact that Luba who choreographed the piece had never seen any of the Skywalker Saga and boy did it show. There was some waving of lightsabers around at the beginning but that was where the opportunities afforded by the tremendous visuals of this great film series began and ended. Apparently they were dressed as Rey and Fin but short of Luba’s hairdo you wouldn’t have known this. Second question; who thought the Paso Doble suited the Star Wars theme?

I don’t have an issue with doing ballroom to John Williams’ iconic tune, if anything the attempt highlighted the strength and of the music and how it carried enough majesty to have a balletic interpretation, but this was not strong with the force.


JJ & Amy

Now here we had something. Finally a film that suited the dance. Having these two foxtrot to Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head from Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid actually worked. You could totally see Paul Newman and Katharine Ross breaking into this dance in an out take from the bicycle scene referenced here.


HRVY & Janette

It pains me to have to type the guy’s name, my spellcheck is having a meltdown, but HRVY did okay here. He so clearly wanted to be playing some iconic cinematic figure but the bizarre choice of Gnomeo & Juliet worked, mostly because there was no risk of any of it sullying the memory of a cherished movie. Gnomeo & Juliet, you see, is most certainly not a cherished movie. They looked really stupid in those costumes too, which is another way in which they kind of nailed the tone of the film.



Ranvir & Giovanni

Yep, Ranvir had the look and the sass you need for Dreamgirls. Giovanni made a good Curtis Taylor Jr. too as he has the same mix of charm and smarminess. This dance captured the nature of the passionate but destructive relationship he and Effie had in the film, or him and Deena. I’m not sure which but it doesn’t matter, they both work.


Jamie & Karen

Jamie looked totally ridiculous as Hercules. Karen was good as one of the muses, but he looked patently ludicrous. I thought oh my god, I did not think demi-god.

I know a little about the Charleston too and this was not a Charleston. I fear they’ll be in the final two again. It could be zero to cheerio.


Clara & Alijaž

The style of Moulin Rouge matches this competition perfectly. It was after all, the third in Baz Luhrmann’s Red Curtain trilogy that started with Strictly Ballroom. Roxanne would have been a better song to choose for the tango as it actually plays behind this very dance in the film but they captured the spirit of the movie nonetheless.

Interesting that Alijaž took on the persona of Harold Zidler and not Christian, still in terms of portly, unshaven, self serving comedy characters at least he’s not Homer Simpson.


Max & Dianne

With one hundred and thirty years of cinema to choose from, how in the world did they pick The Simpsons? It’s not even a movie, not really. The 2007 film was hardly the best of it.

Getting past this though, this bonkers dance to a piece of music that you’d have thought it totally impossible to work out a consistent routine to was surprising a moment of some brilliance.

Dianne swapped her red hair for Marge Simpson’s blue, and Max stuffed a pillow up his shirt and wore a Charlie Brown skull cap, both of them sprayed yellow and looking like they should be wandering around a theme park not spinning round a dance floor. It was so very weird but also quite a lot of fun.


Bill & Oti

When he pulled up on that horse drawn wagon in the clip just before the dance, I was reminded of Bill Bailey’s performance as the pig farmer in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang. He’ll always be more Farmer Macreadie than Clint Eastwood but third week in a row he showed that he is a man not to be underestimated.

Bill Bailey in Strictly
Bill Bailey in Nanny McPhee

Bill and Oti’s dance was an effective reflection of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and they had the intensity needed, her in particular. Just as with John Williams, the music of Ennio Morricone showed itself to be well suited to classic dance in a way Elton John or Labelle or any of the tunes used in the other routines aren’t, even Alan Menkin and Sondheim.


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