Belfast Telegraph

Strictly speaking, it's not really sport

By Billy Weir

There's a dampness in the air, a discernible waft of something familiar, but peculiar, nuzzling at our nostrils and a sense that the nights are away with it – yes, it can mean only one thing – Strictly Come Dancing is back, or Autumn is on its way.

It's always nice to see sport, to see sport nice, if you're Bruce Forsyth and this year the worlds of golf and rugby are represented and there is a third way, or wag, in the shapely shape of Abbey Clancy, Mrs Peter Crouch to you and me.

Or Mrs Steven Gerrard as I first thought before being corrected by someone who knows their blonde Scousers better than I. Saturday night's curtain-raiser was a getting to know you session, where the keys to the sequins cupboard were chucked in the middle of the dance floor and couples paired off to go away for a few weeks and foxtrot until they can foxtrot no more.

It was the usual array of terror and sofa-biting torture not witnessed on a Saturday evening since the Daleks were moving around like John Sergeant with a gammy leg but with Bruce, now 173, around, it's no so much Dr Who as Dr How.

It was over to cohort Tess Daly to introduce our first sporting star, in the less than shapely shape of Tony Jacklin, who hoped he wouldn't get a 'fore'. Strap yourself in, it gets worse.

Tony admitted that his last experience of dancing was jiving in the late fifties or sixties, indeed, about the same time as he was last at his peak on a golf course, and a terrible dread suddenly descended upon me as I fast forwarded 10 years to the thought that Colin Montgomerie may follow sequined suit.

"Is your dancing up to par?" mused Daly, sadly not John, now that I would tune in for. Can you imagine his outfits?

"I've been a swinger all my life," replied Tony and no-one knew where to look, before more 'jokes' that he had a 'fair way' to go and that he couldn't hold his partner like a golf club.

Thankfully he was able to move away quite quickly and this opened the floor to another sporting link, with the next competitor achieving notoriety by repeated beatings of Tyrone. It turns out it wasn't Donegal or Mayo, it was just some woman off Coronation Street. Next up was Abbey, and the obligatory pictures of her other half's robot dance, which she described as 'still hilarious.' Not as hilarious as Peter not getting into the Stoke team ahead of Kenwyne Jones, but his face when she was paired up with some muscle-bound eastern European heartthrob was a picture.

It's a disgrace that the dance game is being plagued by cheap foreign imports meaning up and coming British dancers are forced to samba at a lower level. Yes, the Bossa Nova Ruling has ruined dancing. Then came Fullerton, a bit of eye candy for the more discerning viewer, with sultry moves and a shock of wavy silver hair. It turns out it was Fiona, not Jackie, but there was still one more sporting icon to appear to try and following in the twinkling footsteps of last year's winner, Louis Smith.

Ben Cohen won the World Cup with England (did they win it? They never talk about it ... ) but nothing would have prepared him for being the feed line for a Brucie joke. Mind you, let's be thankful it wasn't Rory Best, he hasn't found a good line in ages.

So there we have it, our intrepid duos for the four months of mayhem that will ensue, and the band played 'This Is It', or at least I think that's what Brucie said.

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