COUCH POTATO: Indiana Jones moves as Strictly Come Dancing returns

Alison Hammond, Tim Wonnacott, Scott Mills, Judy Murray, Mark Wright, Pixie Lott, Jake Wood, Jennifer Gibney, Thom Evans, Sunetra Sarker, Gregg Wallace, Caroline Flack, Simon Webbe, Frankie Bridge, Steve Backshall - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
Alison Hammond, Tim Wonnacott, Scott Mills, Judy Murray, Mark Wright, Pixie Lott, Jake Wood, Jennifer Gibney, Thom Evans, Sunetra Sarker, Gregg Wallace, Caroline Flack, Simon Webbe, Frankie Bridge, Steve Backshall - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
Have your say

IF Hollywood is seeking a big new sequel, Scott Mills supplied a decent idea in BBC1’s ballroom on Friday night.

There he was, in the Harrison Ford role, heroically sidestepping the hazards in Indiana Jones and the Booby-Trapped Cavern of Dog Muck.

A man whose limbs are unaware of each other’s existence.

So Darcey Bussell offered some reassuring words: “You attacked it.”

With a crowbar and a bottle of chloroform.

There was no such comfort from Len Goodman: “It’s the sort of dance that would be better on the radio.”

So with that magnificence all round we’re off and shuffling on Strictly Come Dancing XII, which has got off to a flyer.

It’s the happiness-bursting antidote to X Factor’s dream-crushing misery.

There is much to celebrate...

Jiving Jennifer Gibney, from Mrs Brown’s Boys.

A jigging Gregg Wallace.

Bruno Tonioli telling Bargain Hunt’s Tim Wonnacott: “Your technique is difficult to define.”

And I’m not sure what Scotland was expecting from David Cameron’s promises but I’m fairly sure it wasn’t Anton du Beke in a kilt giving Judy Murray the caber-toss treatment.

It’s especially encouraging given last year’s tough act to follow and floor managers straying in front of the panel giving their scores.

There’s also the unavoidable issue – two female hosts on a BBC flagship, which I have absolutely no problem with.

Just not on this show.

Strictly, you see, is a down-to-the-core celebration of male-female partnerships.

You’ll never convince me that pairing Tess Daly with Claudia Winkleman is anything other than a badly judged, mistimed BBC attempt to break new ground.

It would jar just as horribly with two men at the helm.

Either Graham Norton or Dara O’Briain would have been my choice as the replacement for Bruce Forsyth who, incidentally, is not missed in the slightest.

Neither is James Jordan. Unlike him, the remaining professionals (and the judges too for that matter) truly get how this show ticks – they’re the catalyst to the entertainment, not the entertainment themselves.

But that’s Strictly’s strength. Its format is so unbreakable it can withstand two wrong hosts, an initially sorry-looking line-up, wandering floor managers and a cynical schedule clash engineered by The X Factor, which it roundly thumped.

No surprise either. That was on the cards right from the first couple of the series – Caroline Flack, wearing the tattered remains of Robbie Williams’ Millennium video set, and Pasha.

A wonderful, fun-oozing cha-cha that followed Flack revealing: “When I met the dancers for the first time there was something about Pasha that stood out...”

She’d had a similar effect on Harry Styles, apparently.

“... so when I got him, I did a little squeal of excitement.”



Variety’s alive and well on EastEnders where the fifth head of Ben Mitchell returned to stop dad Phil marrying Sharon, Peggy sent Ronnie and Sal to stop Sharon marrying Phil, Ian appeared out of thin air to stop the marriage of Phil and Sharon.

And, by stark contrast, gun-toting Shirley is awaiting a cab to stop Sharon and Phil marrying.

If you thought that was bonkers, check this scene on Friday...

Billy to Phil: “You jump in the shower, I’ll get the bacon on. Red or brown (sauce)?”

Phil: “Whatever.”

Whatever? WHATEVER?! No, no, no, no, no.

You don’t “whatever” the red/brown sauce question


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

BBC2’s life-affirming Marvellous.

Sky Sports’ mighty Ryder Cup.

The Doctor (Who) whistling Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall as teacher Clara scolded a pair of schoolboys.

Rik Mayall’s fantastic, snarling, lunatic-grinning final TV performance, on Dave’s Crackanory.

The Driver’s opening car chase, plus this line from a perplexed heavy on learning where Hartlepool is: “I didn’t even know the North East had a coast.”

And C5’s Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away “super bailiff” Paul Bohill, armed with a High Court writ, taking the wind out of an irate Neil “Razor” Ruddock’s sails... Razor: “Do you know who I am, yeah?! What’s this? A fine?!” Bohill: “I think it’s a dog food bill.”


All hail X Factor’s new queen bee, Mel B, who assumed the throne at a brilliant Bootcamp.

She’s rude, blunt, ruthless (but not heartless), the polar opposite of indecisive, fickle Cheryl who forgot how to eliminate acts, asking everyone to take a seat like a GP’s receptionist, and once she’d remembered, dumped the wrong ones and gloriously lost the crowd.

But let’s celebrate Mel’s coronation. Ben Quinlan: “I really want this chance.”

“No. Get off.” It’s a yes from me.


Loose Woman Ruth Langsford: “There’s a claim today that for 10 days every year, the UK’s women are in a mood.”

Ten days a year?

Ten days a fortnight, more like.

Monday to Friday, 12.30pm to 1.30pm.

Sunday Night At The Palladium host Jason Manford launching into song: “When we were invited to do this show we were asked if we had any secret talents. Well, this is my nana’s favourite song...

“Fly me to the moon...”

I’ll take that as a no, then.


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

Downton Abbey’s jam-for-brains Kindle sponsorship ads.

ITV2’s Tricked prankster magician Ben Hanlin assuming he needs a disguise to avoid being ID’d.

Dogs: Their Secret Lives’ Mark Evans claiming: “You’ve been sending in your dogs’ selfies.” (They’re not “selfies”. They’re “photos”. Ever seen a dog take its own piccy?)

Katie “I now like fatsos” Hopkins restyling herself as Mother Ther-bleedin’-esa on This Morning.

X Factor hiring judges whose other commitments stop them appearing half the time. (Looking at you, Mel B.)

And The One Show’s Alex Jones failing to sign Gyles Brandreth’s deed-poll form to change her name to “Dolphin Impersonator I Can’t Cook Jones”. Dolphin Impersonator I Can’t Cook Jones by name...


Paul Merton discussing Have I Got News For You guest hosts with The One Show’s Matt Baker and Alex Jones: “It’s easy for them to sit back and forget they’re meant to be contributing.

“A bit like you presenting this programme.”

Funniest he’s been in 10 years.

Now, if only he could carry that onto HIGNFY...