When it comes to celebrities doing stupid stuff for charity, the BBC’s programming has in the past been a bit hit and miss. We’ve seen the good (the brilliantly camp Strictly Come Dancing), the bad (Fearne Cotton massacring our ear drums on Celebrity Fame Academy) and the downright terrible (Only Fools on Horses, in which ‘celebrities’ attempted to ride horses with very, very boring results).
So, where will the BBC’s latest charidee fundraiser fit into this? Let’s Dance For Comic Relief has a very well-worn and slightly dull format: each week, a celebrity dance troupe performs a famous dance routine, the judges judge, the voters vote, and two acts go through to the grand final on Red Nose Day.
The show is definitely let down by the choice of presenters and judges. Hosts Claudia Winkleman and T4’s Steve Jones barely count as one personality between the two of them, whilst panellists Anton DuBec of Strictly Come Dancing fame, singer Jamelia and Paul O’Grady roll out the boring clichés and superlatives so much that the producers might as well have plonked three thesauruses behind a desk instead.
Thankfully though, salvation comes when the dancing begins, which at times in this second episode borders on comic genius. Whilst the cast of Hollyoaks take the whole thing a tad too seriously with their version of ‘Footloose’ and the Dragon’s Den judges are just plain rubbish, Jo Brand’s dance to Britney Spears’ ‘Hit me baby one more time’, in full schoolgirl outfit and blonde pig tails embraces the true spirit of Comic Relief and receives rapturous applause.
The highlight of the show has to be Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuiness’ ‘Dirty Dancing’-style routine performed to ‘Time of my Life’, complete with Baby and Johnny costumes, brilliant ‘80s wigs and that lift. The pair struck the perfect balance between good and daft dancing, and their persistent kissing and cuddling even after the dance h-ad finished only added to the hilarity.
Next time you fancy a good giggle, I’d definitely recommend looking up clips from Let’s Dance on YouTube. But, unless you actually want to sit staring at Claudia Winkleman’s vacuous face or subject yourself to Jamelia’s boring brummy twang for an hour and a quarter, I’d give the next episode a miss…