Dunwoody to belie long-shot status?

Aug 26, 2009 by

Dunwoody to belie long-shot status?

The line-up for Strictly Come Dancing 2009 has been unveiled and it’s the usual mix of sportspeople, rock star other halves, nominated BBC and ITV contestant (namely, Chris Hollins and Lynda Bellingham), soap stars, and even more soap stars.
Seasoned Strictly punters will already be putting a line through at least half the field in terms of potential series winners. One piece of advice to pass on is that the pro dancers who made it to the final stages the previous year are generally paired with absolute no-hopers the following year.
What you also need to be looking at is who is most likely to tick the boxes of the Beeb’s middle England voters. Last year, Lisa Snowden and Rachel Stevens continually outshone Tom Chambers on the dancefloor, but brought out the green-eyed monster in female viewers, and even with the constant backing, and arguably over-marking, of the judges, neither was able to win.
Ultimately, the series winner is decided by public vote, and shrewd punters latched on to the fact that Chambers chiselled features and Home Counties accent, were a surefire hit with housewives and teenage daughters alike, and bound to secure him the title ahead of his two pretty, female rivals, even if his success did come courtesy of a lucky escape from what had looked like certain semi-final elimination.
This year the points system has been tweaked to make sure a similar cock up cannot happen again, and guarantee it will always be possible for the public to save a contestant from the dance off following the judges’ vote. But the same general voting patterns will no doubt emerge and it remains my firm belief that it’s harder for a female celebrity to win the show based purely on the demographic of BBC voters. This may count against the ‘Swiss Miss’ Martina Hingis, and long jumper Jade Johnson in the long run, both of whom are likely to shine on the dancefloor.BB192486@STRICTLY COME DANC
Sportspeople have a good record in the series and sure to endear himself with viewers is previous ‘I’m A Celebrity…’ winner Phil Tufnell who could have a decent run. It is also worth factoring in the tutoring skills of the professionals. Lilia Kopylova is one of the best in my view which means Richard Dunwoody’s hopes of progression are probably a little bit better than initial quotes of 33-1 might suggest. If Dunwoody, who confessed at the press launch to being a lousy dancer on FiveLive, can show a modicum of flair, and escape elimination in the first few weeks, he could have potential as the classic ‘journey’ contestant.
In the last series I was most impressed by the ingenious choreography of stunning newcomer Kristina Rihanoff which helped previously dour BBC political correspondent John Sergeant capture the hearts of the nation. This year she’s been handed a serious contender in the shape of the ‘Pride Of Wales’, former undefeated world boxing champion Joe Calzaghe. The bookies have acknowledged the potential of this dynamic duo in making Joe the early favourite but 5-1 could soon look big if he can transfer his fleet-footedness around the boxing ring to the dancefloor.
Great news for punters is the pre-recorded Sunday night show has got the bullet in favour of a single Saturday night edition, including the dance off, offering the opportunity for lots of exciting live in-running betting opportunities.

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