Authors watch Dance but can they Dance?


I know I’m not the only writer who watches dance shows.  Marie Phillips provides a witty commentary on “Strictly Come Dancing” and Ally Carter recently commented on a selection of celebrities for “Dancing With The Stars”, specifically how few of them were writers (writers for her purposes of her survey excluded stars-with-a-book-deal-resulting-from-being-stars).

By her reckoning of 126 celebrities, 43 were actors, 24 athletes, 21 musicians/singers, 11 reality TV personalities, 7 TV host or journalist, 5 models, 4 comedians, 3 someone related to someone famous, 8 not in the used categories and 0 authors.

My brief survey of original UK show, “Strictly Come Dancing”, shows 36 were actors, 22 TV host, DJ or journalist, 21 sports people, 7 musicians/singers, 5 models, 5 comedians, 2 chefs, 1 magician and 1 former MP, which includes the line-up for the current series announced on 8 September.  Each contestant has only been counted once so Lynda Bellingham was counted as an actor and Kelly Brook as a model which may seem arbitrary, but this is not a scientific survey and the main point is there were no writers. 

As Ally Carter points out writers created most of the popular TV shows and films so should be in contention.  Not all writers are wilting wallflowers focused on an internal voice angsting over whether a comma should go in line two or not (although I am). 

“Strictly Come Dancing” and “Dancing with the Stars” follows the same format: every contestant is expected to go on a journey.  For some that will be a reasonable ability to dance becoming a better ability to dance until coming unstuck on some dance that simply isn’t them (usually the samba).  For others that will be learning they can’t dance and never will but nevertheless can entertain.  For others it will be discovering they can dance and improve their dancing and even develop a life-long love of dancing.  Particularly in the early weeks, it’s often the celebrities that show the most willingness to have a go and improve week on week that get voted through and shock early exits happen for celebrities with some dancing ability who don’t appear to be trying too hard or make excuses for judges’ criticisms.

The celebrities get to describe their journeys via training session videos and media interviews.  “Strictly Come Dancing” contestants also take part in “In Takes Two”, a daily magazine show with news, updates and contestant interviews.  And who better to tell a story than an author?


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