Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Dancing On Snow

The 2011 line-up for ITV's show Dancing On Ice has been announced. Among those participating are ex-Coronation Street actor Steven Arnold, rapper Vanilla Ice, and Kerry Katona. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean will put the competitors through their paces, while the show's judges will include Robin Cousins.

So what's the appeal to the viewing public? Of course, the judges are peerless; Jayne, Christopher and Robin have every possible technical credential for appearing in such a programme, should they wish to. It's harder to understand why the particular contestants were selected, and what their attraction is.

Jeff Brazier is MSN's 'celebrity blogger' and an ex-partner of Jade Goody. Uh-huh. Elen Rivas is best-known for once being the fiancee of footballer Frank Lampard. Ah yes. Two ex-Hollyoaks actors, a children's TV presenter. Chloe Madeley, daughter of Richard and Judy. Quite so.

If we must have shows like this, I'd prefer the contestants to be unknowns. It might, conceivably, be interesting to watch them develop over the series. Instead though, these programmes are sold to us on the ticket of celebrity participants, stars in whom we should be interested, talented people with pull. Let's take a look at one of them.

Kerry Katona is an English singer, actress, author and television presenter. So says Wikipedia. She was a member of pop trio Atomic Kitten, though she can't play a musical instrument and isn't a songwriter. Kerry's had a variety of children, starred in adverts for budget food chain Iceland, revealed her giblets to the world. She's developed a cocaine habit, and passed through assorted addiction rehab clinics. Kerry's also featured in a string of thought-provoking television programmes: My Fair Kerry, Britain's Sexiest, Kerry and Me.

But her real skill, and that of the people around her, is in capitalising on a succession of publicly-aired experiences in personal turmoil. Kerry's New Search For Love; Kerry's Diet Triumph/Nightmare; Kerry: I'm Clean Now. It's this wretched never-ending parade which, inexplicably, is absorbing
to thousands of people.

The one light in next year's show is soldier Johnson Beharry. In March 2005, Lance Corporal Beharry received the Victoria Cross for twice saving members of his unit from ambushes in Iraq. He's the first person outside the 'world of entertainment' or sport to take part in Dancing On Ice. Let's hope he trounces the show-biz no-marks.

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