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Sleb Safari: Strictly Come Dancing is the antidote for 2020

Maeve Connoly

Maeve Connolly

Maeve is the deputy digital editor at The Irish News. She has worked for the company since 2000.

Craig Revel Horwood (left), Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli (right) are gearing up for the return of Strictly Come Dancing
Craig Revel Horwood (left), Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli (right) are gearing up for the return of Strictly Come Dancing

SLEB Safari didn’t realise how much 2020 needed Strictly Come Dancing until it tuned in to the best of the musicals special. The singing, the dancing, the costumes… but enough about Sleb Safari’s living room.

Strictly is the antidote to doom scrolling and talk of circuit breakers and Craig Revel Horwood is here to let you know that he’s just as excited as you about the new series.

For two weeks every year Craig is the most popular kid in (dance) school.

“Which is funny,” Craig told OK! Magazine, “because when the series first started back in 2004, everyone was terrified to do it. Now we have people desperate to.”

“Every year around the time of casting I start getting a flurry of emails from celebs asking for a favour. As if I have that sort of power. Who has asked? I couldn’t possibly name names, darling. If I had my way, Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell would be on the show. They’re my dream names.”

Sleb Safari is holding up a scoring paddle with a zero on it. No offence to Simon Cowell but Sleb Safari suspects he can neither shimmy nor shake. And do we want to see Simon samba? Do we heck.

There’s no point inviting two of the original X Factor judges on to Strictly when you could include Louis “You look like a dancer, you sound like a dancer, you ARE a dancer. One million per cent yes” Walsh and have a full house.

Craig Revel Horwood is a bona fide celebrity darling but even he isn’t immune to the force of nature that is Gemma Collins.

Did you know the GC had to get A4 business cards printed because she wears so many hats? Gemma Collins: Trapdoor phobe; Towie, I’m A Celebrity and Celebrity Big Brother alumnus; cleanser of negative energy from the Dancing on Ice rink; businesswoman; home schooler of two nephews; Diva Forever and Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Craig says Gemma “proved… how entertaining she was when she fell on her face and slid into the wings” on Dancing On Ice. It’s not so much an endorsement as a cackle.

“She’s a big name and a major personality so I’d love to see her dance,” he says.

Gemma! What are you playing at? Slide into Craig’s DMs and the 2020 Strictly glitterball trophy could be yours! The only ice on this show is the dry ice for your Halloween number and the BBC know to keep all the trapdoors locked. You’re a shoo-in!

Buying fruit is the highlight of Caroline Quentin's week

Caroline Quentin, one of the contestants in this year's BBC1 dance contest, Strictly Come Dancing
Caroline Quentin, one of the contestants in this year's BBC1 dance contest, Strictly Come Dancing

STILL on the subject of Strictly Come Dancing, Caroline Quentin says agreeing to take part might well be the best decision she's ever made.

“Until you’re in the eye of the storm, you don’t really know how much people love something,” Caroline says.

“I’ve been working with Elizabeth Hurley and she’s more excited about it than anyone I’ve ever met. She has told me so much information about the programme that I didn’t know, past years and winners, what’s happened and how to go about it.

“She and her son Damian have been extraordinarily supportive. In my local grocer, I got a round of applause when I went to buy some fruit!”

People clapping you for putting a bunch of bananas in your basket is pretty appealing.

Aisling Bea's love of potato waffles reaches new heights

Aisling Bea’s love of the humble potato waffle is well documented. Her feelings run so deep that she wrote a part for a potato waffle (extra, rather than leading, but a part nonetheless) in her bittersweet Channel 4 series This Way Up. And now Aisling has received the ultimate gift, courtesy of Kadiff Kirwan who had a more substantial part, that of her room mate, Bradley.

Kadiff gifted Aisling a potato waffle statuette and she shared her joy about this “mic drop of a present” all over Instagram.

“Irish people in particular – I’m about to blow your minds into mash with jealousy. @kadiffkirwan has given me many gifts since we first met just under two years ago – a beloved friendship, a brother, a self-esteem course, joyous love, drunken chats, tofu cookery courses, a litre of his mother’s sort-your-soul out pure ginger juice which I’m still buzzing off months later, being in #ThisWayUp as Bradley, becoming my script editor, history lessons on the Irish of Montserrat (Kadiff is from Cork, but just the one in Montserrat- Google it, a fascinating connection between our two lil islands), but nothing he gives me will ever match the fact that he commissioned his artist friend @robintarbet to make me a 24carat gold leaf potato waffle statue as a post BAFTA gift. It’s honestly now one of the best things I own & I finally have a full answer to ‘what would you grab from your house in the event of a fire?’”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Irish people in particular - I’m about to blow your minds into mash with jealousy . @kadiffkirwan has given me many gifts since we first met just under two years ago- a beloved friendship, a brother, a self-esteem course, joyous love, drunken chats, tofu cookery courses, a litre of his mother’s sort-your-soul out pure ginger juice which I’m still buzzing off months later, being in #ThisWayUp as Bradley, becoming my script editor, history lessons on the Irish of Monserrat (Kadiff is from Cork, but just the one in Monserrat- google it, a fascinating connection between our two lil islands), but nothing he gives me will ever match the fact that he commissioned his artist friend @robintarbet to make me a 24carat gold leaf potato waffle statue as a post BAFTA gift. It’s honestly now one of the best things I own & I finally have a full answer to “what would you grab from your house in the event of a fire?”. It’s a mic drop of a present. This is not a sponsored ad but I should get money from @birdseyeuk because I fucking love potato waffles. I was raised in them & I’ll die on them, man. Based on Captain Birdseye’s lovely tweet when I was nominated for the @bafta - Robin is now making some more because they’re so brilliant if you want to get in on that Christmas rush - what a gift for the waffle lover in your life! Please do not copy his work because it’s so brill & deserves to be rewarded. Important to say that because sometimes companies copy artists with brilliant ideas so LOOK OUT FOR THAT- it happens in fashion, jewellery & design & is cheeky & immoral but back to spuds. Thanks you @kadiffkirwan & @robintarbet my sBuds. This post also features my very excellent architect bro-in-law @mkidao who has had to learn to love the family favourite food of potato waffles being lit up by the gold of it. I one day plan to get him to design me a whole house based on a potato waffle, or at least a front door.

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