Belfast Telegraph

Friday 9 October 2015

The show's really over when the fat man stops dancing!

By Gail Walker

Published 23/11/2011

Just like all the female contestants over 40 on Strictly, Russell Grant didn't have a hope in hell of winning the show.

But there's no doubting that he has been the star of it.

It shouldn't really have worked. A man whose astrology career was always a bit cheesy. Whose heyday was way back in the early days of breakfast TV when it was hosted by Frank Bough and Selina Scott. Whose last TV gig of any note was Celebrity Fit Club.

And yet he burst onto the dancefloor in a riot of colour and fun and genuine enthusiasm, bringing the audience with him every podgy step of the way.

Saturday's spectacle, when he was shot from a cannon across Wembley, was top TV from start to finish. What a good sport! What a nice guy! Not afraid to laugh at himself.

Like several unlikely contestants before him, he was picked for his weight and ungainliness, as a figure of fun, and ended up embodying what Strictly should really be about, symbolising the show it always promises to be but never is: about the sheer enjoyment of dance, the fact that everyone - yes, everyone not just the slim and beautiful and professional - can throw a shape.

Like I said, he was lucky to last until November.

Once Anita Dobson goes, Strictly will be running to type again. It'll be won by some charisma-free desperado, waltzing with gritted teeth, who we'll be hard-pressed to name come January.

Ah well. As Len Goodman himself said, it'll be Russell flying across the London skyline that people recall years from now.

Yep, it's the golden rule of showbiz. Fat man dancing. Works every time.

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