Show 1 - The boys
Tx - 11th January 2009
It's back! 13 (13!!!!) celebs are going to face one of the greatest challenges EVAH, according to Christopher Dean. Ray Quinn is punchable. Michael Underwood has a lot to prove. Ellery Hanley is a SPORTSMAN. Jessica Taylor is sobbing at Pavel, who must be wondering why he keeps getting lunatic women. This! Is! Dancing on Ice! 2009!
Scary voiceover man says, "It's Sunday night. It's Dancing on Ice!" And there is a weird interpretative dance routine, where Jayne gets to dance with people who aren't Chris, and looks very happy about it, particularly when she gets Matt and Dan to be her Boys in a routine to Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps. There are odd people in geisha facepaint doing dancing on the edges of the rink. Has Brian Friedman infiltrated this studio too? Chris comes on at the end while Jayne does flying, and his role is principally to spin her around and then avoid being decapitated by her whirling blades of death, which he does.
Here are Phil and Holly, who is positively blooming with her tidy little baby bump. They embrace like they haven't seen each other for years. They thank the company of skaters, even the mad ones in the odd make-up. Chris and Jayne join them on the stage, and Chris is at pains to point out that he is only a little bit injured and he is not doddery, doddery he is not, and he will be back ASAP, so Jayne had better not go getting any grand ideas about choreographing her own routine.
Time to meet the stars - ex-Hollyoaks and Holby actor, now reality TV whore Jeremy Edwards and new girl Darya Nucci; Loose Woman and Nolan Coleen Nolan and new boy Stuart Widdall; investigative reporter Donal MacIntyre and the other newbie Florentine Houdiniere; soap villain Gemma Bissix and my lovely Andrei; Tucker Jenkins/Mark Fowler and Susie; popstar and Kevin Pietersen's wife Jessica Taylor and Pavel; rugby league player Ellery Hanley and Frankie; Swindon's finest [if you don't count Billie Piper - Steve] Melinda Messenger and Fred; spawn of Satan Ray Quinn and Maria; another reality TV whore Roxanne Pallett and Dan; Guardian-reading heterosexual Graeme le Saux and Kristina; Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon and Matt; and finally, making it an uneven and unlucky 13, ankle-breaking Michael Underwood and Mel.
Phil and Holly explain the concept of the show, and it's gone a bit Strictly because it's boys only this week. But of course we don't actually get to see any of them skate till after the break.
When Phil welcomes us back, he feels the need to remind us about the way the show runs again, before introducing our judges - Weepin' Karen Barber, Bloggin' Nicky Slater, Snarkin' Jason Gardiner, Singin' Ruthie Henshall [looking rather bloated this year, I thought - Steve] and the Amazin' Robin Cousins. Holly and foetus go to chat to Robin to ask what the boys need to do to impress tonight. Answer - be good at skating and leading. [And dancing. On ice. Sorry, wrong judge. - Steve]
19 minutes in, and it's time for our first skater. Jeremy is enthusiastic and wants to learn, and is adamant that putting in the hours will result in success. [He also looks like he's melting, from certain angles. Though he's still aged far better than I have, so I'll shut up now. - Steve] He is gleeful at being partnered with the beautiful Darya - "ding dong!" he murmurs. She is similarly pleased. The happiness doesn't last long. Jeremy is not a natural on the ice, and he doesn't seem to understand that Jayne and Chris have been skating together for the best part of the last half-century, whereas he and Darya have been skating together for the best part of a fortnight.
Their routine is to Spandau Ballet's True, and God love Jeremy, but the look of absolute frozen fear on his face is something to behold. It's exactly the same expression that Charlie Brooker mocked so admirably when Jez was presenting his cookery show - panic when the producers are yelling in his earpiece, "Get out of the frame, you stupid fuck!" At the end, he finally smiles and looks relaxed. Gubba makes an ill-advised topical joke, and suggests Jez should wear a sequinned thong in an effort to garner votes. Scores - Karen 3.5, Nicky 3.5, Jason 3.0, Ruthie 2.0, Robin 3.0 for a total of 15.0. Jez is self-deprecating in his comments; Darya says he is lovely and she is lucky to have him as a partner, and Phil just talks over the top of her, which is unlike him.
Nicky says he takes his hat off to Jeremy's smoothness and the way he is trying to present Darya, and says that skating with so much content and "to pull it off" is a great achievement. I snigger, because I have a mind in the gutter. Ruthie says, "It is VERY early in the competition." Yes, Henshall, it's the first blinkin' dance! She says that everything he thinks is expressed on his face, and suggests he uses his "lovely smile" a bit more.
Donal Macintyre is clearly short of a bob or two. If we have to have an investigative journalist on the show, personally I'd rather have seen Roger Cook. Is he still alive? In fact, even if he's not. Donal says nothing scares him, and he is comfortable in prisons and with gangsters, but he is nervous and uncomfortable when it comes to skating. Jayne and Chris sandwich him and walk him around the rink. There is a minor problem in that Donal has to do a day job in South Africa, but fortunately The Abroad also has ice rinks! He walks onto the ice with a man whose tracksuit is the most patriotically Springbok thing I have ever seen, and I comment to my friend, "I bet that's the South Africa coach." Lo and behold, the caption comes up, SOUTH AFRICAN COACH. He doesn't have a real name. Just a job title. Then Donal has to go to America and skate there too, and he lists all the countries he will skate in before the end of the series. Chris hails him as his hero for his determination. Donal would be gutted if he went out in the first round.
Donal and Florentine are skating to Rock Star, and the pseudo-line-dancing combined with this dreadful song is enough to drive me into the kitchen until the end of the routine. I'm told that his speed wasn't bad, his face showed a little too much tension at times, but he definitely worked hard at making it look good. Scores - Karen 2.5, Nicky 3.0,Jason 2.5, Ruthie 2.0, Robin 3.5 for a total of 13.5. Donal enthuses about how lovely everybody is and how much he sucks and how he will be better in the skate-off. Florentine talks about Donal's Journey, even though this is the first week. Drink! Donal has lost three stone and is "orange as an Oompa Loompa". Chris calls Donal his rock star. Ew.
Robin says that Donal was in control of the partnership and that is the important thing; the skating will come. Jason is impressed, pointing out the excellent eye contact, and recommends that he keeps that in the lifts too. He concludes by saying, "You're not as bad as I expected, or as bad as you think you are."
Coming up - the girls being feisty, and Todd Carty attempting to break Chris's leg, much to Jayne's amusement.
Back. Todd Carty has done much acting, but not much skating or dancing. Jayne and Chris drag him around a bit, then he falls over, kicking Chris's legs out from under him. "Yay! Good work!" cheers a clapping Jayne. We see that Todd is not good at skating backwards, but he does not have time to practise because he is in PANTO in the PROVINCES and needs to travel two hours down the road to Bristol and the nearest rink. Susie gets cross with him and shouts at him. Todd doesn't seem all that fussed.
They're skating to (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, and before they begin there is much whooping and encouragement. Todd manages to skate by himself for a bit before Susie circles him and proceeds to lead him around, including in a spiral where his footwork is ridiculously jagged. They both laugh throughout the routine. Gubba reminds us that ice is slippery. Scores - Karen 2.0, Nicky 1.5, Jason 1.0, Ruthie 1.5, Robin 1.5 for a total of 7.5. Phil tells Todd that for entertainment value he deserves straight sixes; Todd declares that he loved every single minute. Chris says there is a showman inside the skates, and he needs to be let out; Todd adds that he is a slow learner, but Susie is amazing - the usual stuff.
Karen congratulates him on making it the whole way through the routine. Jason is booed before he manages to speak, and then shows that the audience may possess psychic powers by telling Todd that he moves like he's crapped himself. I half-expect Holly to have to interrupt and apologise to the easily-offended viewing public, and feel sure that the Daily Mail will be outraged in the morning. Nicky says Todd is like Eddie the Eagle in that he is rubbish but we like him.
VT of the girls - they are feisty, determined and gorgeous. Jess keeps fallng over and dragging Pavel on top of her. Wise lady. Make the most of it while hubby's preoccupied, right? Coleen whines. Melinda is terrified. Matt is fed up with Zoe's gabbling. Gemma wants to win, and is willing to strangle Roxanne to do so. They wrestle each other around the rink, but are at pains to point out that they are only teasing. Gemma tells Phil what a fan she is of the show. Phil asks Jess how she's coped with a difficult week, which I take as a reference to the problems her beloved has had, but she stays on-message and talks about the skating. Coleen whines. [They should've got Bernie Nolan on instead, then they could've pitted Ray Quinn against his former soap mum. - Steve]
Ellery Hanley's up next. He has met Jayne and Chris before. They were wearing Eighties shorts. Hilarity ensues. When he begins to skate, he doesn't look bad at all. Chris admires his enthusiasm. However, it emerges that Ellery cannot tell his left from his right. "This is a whole new ball game!" he admits. It's not a ball game at all, Hanley! Frankie suggests getting satnav to tell him when to turn left and right, and then giggles at her own gag.
They are skating to Born To Run, and Frankie is wearing a Bacofoil bikini. The highlight of this routine is the slow-motion running. Because the song is Born To Run. DO YOU SEE? Frankie goes mental at the end and starts hugging and high-fiving him. Scores - Karen 3.5, Nicky 4.0, Jason 3.0, Ruthie 3.0, Robin 4.0, for a total of 17.5. Ellery does his Oscar-winning speech, saying it's the most beautiful sport he's ever done. Frankie says it's an honour to work with him. Chris says, "I didn't think anyone could work harder than we do, but he does", thereby turning what was supposed to be a compliment into an arrogant egotistical aside. Robin says that Ellery reminds him of "another rugby player at this stage of the game", and then goes on to name him - "he being Kyran Bracken" - like we couldn't have worked out who it was he meant. Ruthie is happy now she has her muscular sportsman to lust after, proclaiming him a "hunk".
I must confess here that Ray Quinn is a bete noire of your Bitching team. From his smug swing stylings on The X Factor to his Baby Ballroom judging to his omnipresent grin on the tube posters for Grease, for us he encapsulates most of what is wrong with humanity. Maria's drawn the boy singer straw for the third year running, and shockingly seems to be happier with this year's pick than she was with whinging Gareth Gates. We are reminded of him crucifying Sinatra standards live on television, and then he talks through his nose about how amazing he is and how much he loves skating. As a rollerblader, he can skate quickly already, and gets carried away from time to time, which makes me worry about Maria's safety. "Sometimes I lose control of myself and get overexcited!" he declares. I vomit.
They're skating to Mmm Bop, and though it appears to be fast and accurate and technically impressive, I cannot bear to watch him. I fear this may be the case for the rest of the series, so the recaps will be lacking slightly, unless Steve can force himself through it. [I'll do my best, but I can't make any promises. I lasted long enough to see him skating onto the ice looking like JonBenét Ramsey before curling up into a ball and crying. - Steve] Scores Karen 4.5, Nicky 5.0, Jason 4.5, Ruthie 4.5, Robin 5.0, for a total of 23.5. Ray whines, "WAIL POOR ME NO ICE-RINK IN LIVERPOOL." Chris says it will be a challenge to push him week after week [not if he's standing on the edge of a cliff, I shouldn't think - Steve]; Jayne vows that they will. Heh. Over with the judges, Holly asks Nicky if that was a demonstration of a celebrity leading their partner. I tell my friend watching with me that this will mark the first Slater "it's about DANCING ON ICE" comment of the series, and lo, so it occurs. Slater also says that Ray has a Sinatra swagger (no) which he's sure works for the laydeez (no) and works for him too (NO. JUST NO). Jason is excited that there is somebody who is brilliant, and he hopes he is in the final.
Graeme Le Saux is rehearsing with a chair for some reason. We all know how difficult chairs are to work with. [They're nothing compared to the trials of a hat or a cane, I'm sure. - Steve] He seems to be getting on OK with skating and with the choreography, and then manages to fall and smack his head on the ice, splitting his lip open. Kristina is all upset. Hang on. She has got a brace on her top teeth, bless her. When they're out and ready to skate to I've Got You Under My Skin, she's not doing her usual smile - it's a closed-mouth one, so you can't see her teeth, in the same way as 13-year-olds do when they get train-tracks stuck on. BLESS. Le Saux offspring are in the audience to see a nice routine; Graeme's a little awkward on the choreography in places, but the skating seems reasonable. And he kisses her hair at the end. BLESS! Scores - Karen 3.0, Nicky 2.5, Jason 3.0, Ruthie 2.5, Robin 3.5, for a total of 14.5. Graeme is delighted with that. Kristina is proud of him. Drink! Jayne thought he gave the best he could, and wants him to use more of his personality. Ruthie says it was a good performance, and there is then a minor debate about whether the shoulders of his jacket obscure his head lines. Karen tells him to relax and the marks will improve.
And the final couple - Michael and Mel. We get to see his hilarious waaaaaaaaaailing in hospital - "I've BROOOOOOOOOOKEN IT! I caaaaaaaaan't BEEEEEEELIEEEEEEVE it! It's sooooo TYPICAL!" He still has FLASHBACKS of the accident and needs to build his confidence up. When he falls for the first time, Mel cheers - "First fall!" - and tells us wisely, "That's how WE LEARN." Michael does not expect to get through the routine without anything going wrong.
They're skating to Have I Told You Lately, and Michael is right, there are lots of little glitches here that I suspect he'll be marked down for simply because he had all the technical training last year. There's a bit where Mel comes out of a lift and lands on his boot, and another where she's down on the floor and reaches back for his foot, which is not there, and her hand is scrabbling around on the ice instead. Scores - Karen 3.5, Nicky 3.0, Jason 2.5, Ruthie 2.5, Robin 3.5 for a total of 15. Mel wibbles about Michael's courage, and then Jayne and Chris weigh in too. They all keep saying how good it is to have Michael back. Jason points out a few presentation problems, beginning with the hands, and a "wobbly core". Karen doesn't want to give constructive comments, she wants to tell him she is proud of him for coming back and to warn him to stay safe this time. Thanks for that, Barber, you tear-filled waste of space.
So that's your lot. Time for a quick look at the leaderboard - Todd and Susie are firmly at the bottom, and Maria and her devil's minion are at the top - and a time-filling recap in which we are urged to vote. Holly reminds us that nobody wants to leave, so vote vote vote, and then we thank our skating stars. Results will be announced in an hour!
Earlier tonight! Men skated! Now it's the results!
Phil welcomes us back and warns us the lines will close shortly. Holly tells us YET AGAIN that nobody wants to leave, and then it's time for Hot! Backstage! Action! Jeremy was pleased that Nicky was complimentary, and doesn't want to skate again. Donal thinks it is a privilege to skate. Todd is happy that his sons were there and it was a wonderful experience. Ellery liked Ruthie's comments, which made him blush. Maria and her partner are happy but for the benefit of my sanity and my stomach ulcer we will be ignoring them. Graeme is happy because Kristina is happy. Mel tells Michael they weren't as bad as Jason said. Or at least she wasn't.
Phil asks the girls what they thought of the boys. Melinda says they are all proud of them. Zoe reiterates this, and says they are all looking forward to skating next week. Coleen whines. Jayne says how beautiful the girls are; Chris leers at them in a horrid Benny Hill way. Robin says that the boys collectively set a high standard. Nicky talks about someone called Roy. Jason says that Donal stood out for the way he was attempting a performance.
The results are in! Phil touches his ear. I whoop. In no particular order, the safe couples are - Michael and Mel; Ray and Maria; Jeremy and Darya; Ellery and Frankie; and then obviously when it's down to the final three couples, there's a break. After we've had our fill of adverts, we learn that Todd and Susie are safe.
So Graeme and Kristina skate off against Donal and Florentine. Jayne says that whoever leaves tonight, they have to know they've made a huge improvement, and Chris tells them to go for broke, as there's nothing left to lose. Anyway, both couples skate, and Graeme has rid himself of his head-obscuring jacket in an attempt to please Ruthie. He tells Phil, "I wanted to actually go and give it to Ruthie...the jacket, that is." HAHAHAHAHA. Phil tells him, "That would have got you through to next week." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!
But it's too little, too late - the judges vote in a clean sweep to save Donal. There is much hugging, and Jayne gives them their bouquets. Graeme is pleased he won't mash his face up again, but he will miss Kristina. [And I will miss Graeme, because he was quite nice to look at. - Steve]
So Graeme and Kristina are out in the first week. He's sanguine, she's upset, and I'm vaguely disappointed, but at least this means I can throw my entire weight behind Bissix and my Andrei. Join Steve next week for ladyskatin'!