Sport on TV: Calzaghe's tangled tango more 'It's a Knockout' than 'Strictly'
Sunday 20 September 2009
It's the hardest game in the world, that ballroom dancing. Joe Calzaghe may yet become the next sportsman to dazzle us on
Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, Friday and Saturday). After all, he is used to wearing sequins and he's nimble on his feet from years of skipping rope.
But so far the recently retired boxer has looked like a bouncer shifting his weight from foot to foot, trying to stay warm outside a nightclub.
After the first two rounds, he and Kristina Rihanoff were down on points, in last place. Somehow they survived. The judges sounded like camp cornermen after the tango. Craig Revel Horwood said: "You're lurching over Kristina. Your bottom's sticking out." Len Goodman opined: "You were creeping around. Get out there and give it some!"
Let's not forget that he has been paired with the partner who turned John Sergeant into a ballroom sensation. To add to the allure, there are already hints of romantic involvement, which may well be why he wasn't voted off. Bruno Tonioli did his best to encourage him: "Get down on her, use her, make the most of what she's got, play with it." Joe would have no problem dragging her across the dancefloor, but hang on. There are limits.
He looked desperately nervous as he waited for his first turn, like a tightly wound spring, rolling his shoulders and slapping his thighs. It seemed as if when he got out there he might start throwing punches, willy nilly. Afterwards he vented his frustration by aiming a few shadow punches in the direction of the panel. If they know what's good for them, they will start giving the big man a few more points.
'Strictly' has the greatest gathering of sports stars you are ever likely to see on the BBC these days, outside of 'Sports Personality of the Year'. And it probably won't be long before someone wins that title solely based on their performance on this show.
Martina Hingis seemed to be the real superstar here, like Martina Navratilova was on 'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!', and she looked to have a decent chance of making the transition from extreme effort to restrained grace (we're all experts now). "But I used to hit the balls hard," she protested. Partner Matthew Cutler might just be glad that she was the first to be foot-faulted. New balls? No need.
Don't Tell the Bride (BBC1, Tuesday) was billed "A football fan is given £12,000 to plan a fairy-tale wedding". It sounded like a recipe for disaster but sadly, it all went rather well. Wayne did briefly consider Bristol City's stadium as a venue but he turned out to be far too sensitive. And her father did drive her in and out of the City Ground on the way to the ceremony. But there was no repeat of the wedding that took place at half-time at one football ground when the bride was rather on the plump side and a merciless crowd sang "Who ate all the pies?".
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