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Lets Dance For Comic Relief

Image courtesy of DigitalSpy


A SIMPLE question, just to check we’re all singing from the same whatsit - How much of a flying one do you think Katie Price gives about the street children of Uganda?

Correct. She doesn’t.

And nor, I hope you’ll agree, do too many of the other celebrities involved here.

In fact, it would be hard think of a show that appeared to give less of a toss about Africa than this four week shin dig.

Let’s Dance For Comic Relief.

A joint BBC1/S4C production, by the sound of things, presented by the self-styled “driver of the groovy train” Steve Jones and “the (reasonably) lovely Alex Jones,” who are doing it: “In aid of all those people who are having a rough time.”

Africans, children, women, victims of abuse, Penny Smith’s agent, TV critics and BBC1 viewers, who must be really starting to resent comedian Robert Webb.

Two years ago the irresponsible berk dragged up to do a Flashdance routine, on this programme. The acclaim was huge, the laughter genuine and they’ve been cross-dressing for Africa ever since.

Week one, this year, we had Katie Price playing Freddie Mercury, Rebecca Front’s Bjork (Cherie Blair shoplifting) and Russell ‘Crazy Legs’ Kane doing Beyonce Knowles like a Fonzified Sarah Jessica Parker, with brittle bone disease.

Saturday’s second episode was more unfunnycomediansindrag.com. However, we also had dear old Penny Smith tip-toeing through the tulips in Britney Spears’ Thunderbirds Three clobber, which added a hint of Let’s Dance For Age Concern.

The really weird thing about both shows, though, was that the most disturbing images were the mental ones.

Katie Price, bless her, started it by announcing “I’m hairless all over,” judge Jack Whitehall followed suit by claiming Charlie Baker looked like “A 16-year-old who’d found porn in the woods,” and the daughter of Waterloo Road’s Philip Martin Brown finished nearly everyone off by revealing “Dad’s been cracking it out in the living room.”

With images like that rattling around your brain, it’s mighty hard to focus on Africa and work out if the charitable ends justify the self-publicising means.

I’m going to say they don’t though.

It’s partly the drag, it’s partly Katie Price, but it’s mainly one of the presenters who’s to blame.

Steve Jones. Not a man troubled by self-confidence or subtlety issues, yet I’ve seen flash floods with better comic timing.

It’s not his fault, of course. He’s part of TV’s new HIMBO invasion (See also Vernon Kay and Matt Johnson). A presenter chosen by women, for women.

They’re a stupid sort of equality and trade-off for Tess Daly, I guess.

But the fact is, just as a great presenter can rescue a bad show so a bad one, like Jones, can push it over the edge. And part of me thinks it might be a pity to lose Let’s Dance For Comic Relief.

It is, after all, a show that bans Lulu from singing, prevents Russell Kane from talking and forces Steve Jones to link, from a film about dying Africans, with the words: “Jack Whitehall. I’d like to apologise.”

Which was awful sweet of him, but it really is Mr and Mrs Whitehall’s responsibility.

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