Strictly for Christmas

Louis and Flavia from Strictly Come Dancing BBC Worldwide brings the magic of Strictly to a range of beauty products

'You've got lovely strong nails,' gushes the beauty therapist, her professional smile masking an inner grimace as she saws through my talons with an industrial strength nail file.

I'm being pampered in the Strictly Come Dancing boudoir at Worldwide's Big British Christmas Press Showcase. Well, someone has to do it.

I soon forget that I'm there to do a job, though, as I sip tea and chat about my holiday. It distracts from the state of my nails which, while robust, have not seen an emery board in some years.

Strictly perfume

The beautician selects a natural hue for me over one of the dazzling colours on offer in the Strictly box set of a dozen nail polishes. Clearly my larger than life personality is not cutting through.

It's the second year that BBC Worldwide has harnessed the Strictly brand for a collection - exclusive to Boots and developed in conjunction with the programme's make-up artist Lisa Armstrong - that includes nail varnishes, eye shadows and lip glosses. With the Christmas stocking in its sights, the reasonably priced range targets teenagers - well, those who aren't glued to X Factor, at least.

Worldwide, in partnership with Avon, has also created a couple of Strictly fragrances. Ballroom Beauty and Latin Sensation (which 'evokes the passion and ardour at the heart of Latin dance' apparently) will battle it out with Bieber and Britney's latest scents for the festive pound.

I search the shelves in vain for figurines of Strictly legends like Ann Widdecombe and Russell Grant (complete with firing cannon). They're surely missing a trick.

The tranquility of the boudoir is shattered by a Cyberman who stomps menacingly up and down the room. S/he freezes periodically and then, melodramatically, turns and fixes his/her gaze on any unsuspecting new arrivals. 'I'm a grown woman and it still scares me,' squeals one of the Worldwide team. I smile at Doctor Who's arch enemy a little unsurely. I don't want to appear rude.


There's a big push this year to get the Doctor's legion of adult fans splashing the cash. Collectability and design are key to a range that includes a smart and subtle Tardis watch (you could get away with it in the boardroom) and an incredibly detailed Matt Smith figurine, lovingly packaged in a box that a true collector will never open. The figure, built from lifesize and then scaled down, is definitely not one for the kids.

A new range of Doctor Who homeware, meanwhile, featuring bold, graphic prints, could do a job to break up the magnolia. It includes cushions, oven gloves, aprons and porcelain teapots and borders on sophisticated.

Pride of place, though, must go to the latest incarnation of the sonic screwdriver. A gesture-based working replica of the Timelord's trusty gadget, it features realistic sound effects and 13 different movements. Rotate to adjust the volume, flick to the left to rewind, push forward to select… it's a big boy's toy at a big boy' price of £59.99.

I'm less sure about the augmented reality t-shirt range. The idea is that you download a free app, point your smartphone or tablet at the picture on the t-shirt - in this case a Tardis - and watch the image come to life as you explore the inner workings of the time machine.

It's a clever gimmick, but the drawback, as far as I can see, is that the t-shirt wearer doesn't reap the benefits of their hi-tech clothing - that's the preserve of their tablet or smart phone-wielding friend.

It's probably one for the future, although the new Deadly 60 Top 10 dvd features an augmented reality surprise that the little ones might relish. They can point their smartphone at the dvd to watch a scorpion come to life.

The Natural History Unit has kept a close eye on development of the Deadly 60 range - based on the Steve Backshall-fronted children's programme which tracks down the world's deadliest animals - to ensure factual accuracy. We're talking science, not superhero, here.

There's still the usual extensive range of old-fashioned books and dvds, based on favourite BBC children's characters from Mr Tumble to Shaun the Sheep, to keep them occupied on Christmas Day.

Failing that you could always invest in a full size replica Dalek. Costing between £2995 and £3695, the Doctor's foe is created from the original moulds and made to the exact specifications of its tv counterpart. Standing at a life-sized 5'3" tall, each replica is custom built in a choice of colours.

The children won't be able ride in one, and the exterminate function is inactive, but there's nothing to say you have to tell them that.


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