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A national tragedy.

Eddie Mair | 12:41 UK time, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

johns.JPGI warn you, this will make you weep openly.

1535 UPDATE: There was a news conference in the last hour. Hugh Sykes was there for PM and will have a report for you in the programme.

And this is just in: Peter Mandelson has told us:
'John Sergeant should not bow out, he has become the people's John Travolta and he should be a fighter and not a quitter.'


  • 1. At 12:59pm on 19 Nov 2008, Fearless Fred wrote:

    What is this "strictly..." that the article refers to?

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  • 2. At 1:05pm on 19 Nov 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    "...this will make you weep openly."

    John Sergeant's been chosen as the new chairman of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue?

    *blubs even at the thought of it*

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  • 3. At 1:09pm on 19 Nov 2008, DI_Wyman wrote:

    TSSC, don't even go there! I thought Wonathon Woss was up for that.

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  • 4. At 1:26pm on 19 Nov 2008, mittfh wrote:

    But John already hosts a quiz (of sorts) - Argumental, which is something to do with a "Dave" (not the Tory!)...

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  • 5. At 1:51pm on 19 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Good for him! I think he's done really well (from what I've seen), taken it seriously, worked well with his partner, and given the public a great deal of pleasure.

    I think he can leave the series with his head held high - and fie on those other dancers who were so unpleasant to him at the end of last week's activity. At the end of the day, it was the public who kept him in as they admired and liked him.

    Now, where will he go next?

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  • 6. At 2:02pm on 19 Nov 2008, RxKaren wrote:

    Agree with you Big Sis. He always seemed to be enjoying what he was going and remembering to convey that to the audience. I've always thought Paddy would be good for SCD ;o)

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  • 7. At 2:22pm on 19 Nov 2008, patmartin wrote:

    Don't know about Paddy for Strictly as I've only ever seen odd bits of the results programme ( Don't know why you need to watch the Saturday thing.)but I do think he might be worth considering for ISIHAC, unless of course Eddie might fancy a go at that.

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  • 8. At 2:31pm on 19 Nov 2008, Mrs Effingham wrote:

    Alright, alright, let's not make and song and dance about it.

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  • 9. At 2:32pm on 19 Nov 2008, byronk wrote:

    This story has grown into a
    media frenzy so I think I will now add two-penneth. When an
    'entertainment' show, that raises much money for Children in Need, has
    to bow to its' 'judges' I believe the world has gone barking mad. The
    show is just that...entertainment. If the viewers want to see 'Winnie
    the Pooh in sequins' dance badly then why not let him!

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  • 10. At 2:51pm on 19 Nov 2008, Mrs Effingham wrote:

    I blame that Revel-Horwood wotsit bloke.

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  • 11. At 2:59pm on 19 Nov 2008, Bahnhof wrote:

    The world as we know it is coming to an end!

    The capitalist system is crumbling, millions are becoming, if not already are, unemployed and now John Sergeant has resigned for Come Dancing.

    Not because of any logical reason whatsoever, butl because a few sad individuals, who cannot accept that John towers so high above them they can only gaze with admiration, decide to put him down.

    If there are any resignations, may I suggest the judges take the plunge!

    For the sake of the our Nation, if not the whole of Europe:

    John withdraw that resignation.

    Your public demand it.

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  • 12. At 3:17pm on 19 Nov 2008, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    As a non-telly-viewer my only observation would be that since Mr Sergeant hasn't broken any rules, and the public have been encouraged to exercise their right to vote - surely the problem lies with the way the programme is designed ??

    I can't speak to his dancing ability relative to other contestants, but if you construct the voting so that someone having an 'off' week can be rescued by a 'sympathy vote' you do have to take consequences.

    Don't feel to sorry for him - I'm sure the ITV producers of "I'm a Celebrity.." will be, almost literally, throwing bundles of cash to jet him to the jungle to join the others, or be a 'sub' for anyone who has suddenly succumbed to 'illness'...

    Does anyone else also think he has succumbed to the 'Curse of Mandy', who was rather jealous of his success?

    Maybe the 'Prince of Darkness' will be making his own 'surprise' appearance in the Christmas special...

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  • 13. At 3:31pm on 19 Nov 2008, U12196018 wrote:

    I note in the piece that Arlene Phillips said: "Last week's performance was an improved performance. There wasn't a judge who didn't say that."
    Yeah, right! The judges wouldn't have dared to pan John Sergeant again after the reaction in the media during the week. They would have made themselves look spiteful and increased the votes for Sergeant.

    Having played by the rules when he was in the show and then done the honourable thing' John Sergreant comes out of this very well. The Judges, by bitching about the public's input, have demeaned themselves.

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  • 14. At 3:36pm on 19 Nov 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    LBG (12):

    I agree. I'm on record as being very scathing about this kind of programme, but I have to say that what I've heard JS has done is entirely in the spirit of the programme and both the judges and the people I've heard to day talking about him "turning the competition into a farce" really seem to have a difference picture of what the programme's about to that of the general public.

    It's something the same as the Eurovision Song Contest - many Europeans apparently take it seriously, but - at least when Wogan was commentating - Britons seemed to get the silliness of the whole idea and played along appropriately.

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  • 15. At 3:46pm on 19 Nov 2008, U11204129 wrote:

    Hey, let's join in the fun!

    Another Tory (he left his BBC political slot because his pro Thatcherite sympathies made any objectivity in his reporting impossible) who, via buffoonery, has the nation's sympathy.

    How will he cash it? Probably with no more than a few biased words from time to time. I hope he doesn't have Parliamentary ambitions.

    Talkin of Tories::::

    We are surely very close to getting Cameron to ADMIT, what is plain for all to see, that he supports the Credit Crunch.

    It was caused by classic 'hurt the poor' policies.

    The slump it is bringing is classic Tory stuff, too. The crisis and the slump are the classic Tory double whammy. Japan and the Asian Tigers, now India and China, are prevented from getting too powerful by a financial crisis scam (check out both these latter contries' CAPITAL account debts to Western finance).
    The slump kills demand for the products of rivals, puts the Islamic oil states 'in their place', and disciplines the poor here at home.

    Why give up a winning formula, eh David? It all hurts rich Tories, a bit, of course, but not one tenth as much as it's going to hurt us.

    The 'cuts in growth' he proposes will be real enough. So much growth these days is in expensive innovation - in health, in education , in public building furbishment.
    Cameron promises outdated looking schools and hospitals offering outdated services.
    So convenient for his private sector friends in their public schools and private health clinics.

    This man says he wants people to stand on their own two feet, whilst he stymies any attempt to help them struggle to their feet in the first place.

    Now he has abandonned readiness to match Labour spending, he will exaccerbate the financial crisis and contribute to the slump.

    Tories LIKE mass unemployment. This leader might even admit as much.

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  • 16. At 3:47pm on 19 Nov 2008, U11204129 wrote:

    Let's hope the Obama effect is to condemn Tories to 5 more years in opposition and Come Dancing

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  • 17. At 3:52pm on 19 Nov 2008, splendidsillyfish wrote:

    So now it's confirmed,, we are a nation of bullies. John has given hope to all those of his physique and age,and their wives. We know the young can dance, but over 50 with dodgy knees? I shall now veto that show, it will not be watched in this household whilst there is power in me to hold on to the remote.VERY AGGREIVED SARA FISHER>

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  • 18. At 3:55pm on 19 Nov 2008, Charlie wrote:

    I don't know that it's a National Tragedy that the fellow wasn't totally correct.

    But he did very well indeed...


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  • 19. At 4:14pm on 19 Nov 2008, U12196018 wrote:

    Eddie - Now, tell the truth.
    Did Peter Mandelson actually say what you have put in your 1535 UPDATE?

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  • 20. At 4:17pm on 19 Nov 2008, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Interesting press conference - perhaps it goes a way to explaining how Gordon Brown is still ploughing on.. No one has put forward a 'Stop Gordon' candidate - and just as in that fantastic show 'Yes Minister..' if you are not careful...

    So maybe Mr Sergeant will be cajoled into a political career even at this late stage in the proceedings...

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  • 21. At 4:42pm on 19 Nov 2008, Screamingmuldoon wrote:

    Pathetic. Pathetic response. I really thought the public was finally giving the 2 fingers to reality formats - cheap telly at its very worst - by keeping the buffoon in the game. Take your oil John. So what if you win? Suck it up, you big grils blouse!

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  • 22. At 4:42pm on 19 Nov 2008, mittfh wrote:

    Generally speaking, the best dancer in Strictly usually wins. Occasionally a really naff dancer will do pretty well, but so far they haven't won.

    Having said that, Christopher Parker and Julian Clary in the first two series often struggled to get high marks in the judges scoring, but still reached the final. However, they were both beaten to the trophy by consistently good dancers.

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  • 23. At 4:42pm on 19 Nov 2008, Screamingmuldoon wrote:

    Sorry, should have said girl's blouse

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  • 24. At 4:58pm on 19 Nov 2008, bigc1962 wrote:

    The show is paid for by license fee payers.

    Those that text in their support do so at their own cost.

    The show has rules that are followed.

    John should not have been pressured to go.

    Will the BBC refund the cost of text messages that have been sent in in good faith the put John through each week?

    Another phone/text scam by the BBC!

    Abide by the rules setup or refund the money!

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  • 25. At 5:19pm on 19 Nov 2008, Fifi wrote:

    I had avoided SCD till now but saw some clips of JS on the lunchtime news.

    He really is no dancer... but so entertaining to watch him genuinely try! Three cheers to the viewers who kept him in and no doubt improved the programme considerably.

    Reality TV is not about excellence, otherwise it wouldn't need those infuriating .......... ............ .......... ............ ............ pauses before the announcements to add spurious drama.

    Come back John Sergeant, stick at it to the bitter end, win it, and then let's have no more of this zero-value series please.

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  • 26. At 5:26pm on 19 Nov 2008, disguted_of_TW wrote:

    Didn't anyone realise how this worked? J Sargeant was 16-1. The BBC are not transparent with the voting, but one thing was clear - Sargeant was getting the vast majority of votes. All punters needed to do was pick up their 'phone every Saturday and BINGO - you've got an instant win. Rather like betting on the horses because you liked the look of them without asking them to run a race.

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  • 27. At 5:37pm on 19 Nov 2008, iron_person wrote:

    Don't the judges know that this is a reality show and that the public's view count. Otherwise drop the 'strictly' and go back to 11;30 pm on a Tuesday night and the judges can go back to their deserved obscurity!

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  • 28. At 5:39pm on 19 Nov 2008, Brian Tomkinson wrote:

    I can't imagine why anyone would have wanted to vote for John Sergeant except as a joke and to destroy the whole purpose of the show. Sergeant has now achieved his ambition to become a celebrity and make millions of easy money. Watch out for him next in the likes of Big Brother.

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  • 29. At 5:42pm on 19 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Screamingmuldoon @ 21, isn't a grils a young salmon?

    Visions of the dancing blouse of an infant fish.

    Listening to the 'press conference' made me feel that I like John Sergeant, possibly because I have never seen him dance!

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  • 30. At 5:47pm on 19 Nov 2008, Londontechnophobe wrote:

    I cannot believe the hypocrisy of Arlene saying that John should abide by viewers votes when all the judges have been complaining about the effect of those votes!
    And John Sergeant being semi-forced to resign makes me feel disenfranchised since I voted for him!

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  • 31. At 5:48pm on 19 Nov 2008, Radiofourforever wrote:

    I haven't watched Strictly since Colin Jackson didn't win the final, although he had consistenly been the best dancer!

    Even though I supported him I wouldn't waste my money voting - sorry Colin.

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  • 32. At 5:51pm on 19 Nov 2008, minijem wrote:

    Surely the SCD audience is just avin' a larff and showing what it really thinks about so-called reality shows?

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  • 33. At 5:51pm on 19 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Chris: John S is a real sweetie - much underestimated, imho, until he hit the Coming Dance limelight. Somebody compared him to Jo Brand, and I was thinking about this earlier while listening to him speak. Like Jo, he has quite a soft voice, and like her he is very funny, but otherwise - can anyone else see a likeness? - No, I thought not.

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  • 34. At 5:52pm on 19 Nov 2008, MoMorganan wrote:

    As a very bad dancer myself I am extremely disappointed that John has been forced to leave the Strictly Come (if you are any good) Dancing show. I for one will certainly not now accept any invitations to join the show from the bunch of miserable moaning judges; if you invite someone to your event you should at least be polite to them.
    Yet another example of program makers manipulating the public telephone vote!

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  • 35. At 5:53pm on 19 Nov 2008, Londontechnophobe wrote:

    pmLeader sems to forget that the dire credit crunch effects he complains about have all happened with Labour in power!

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  • 36. At 5:57pm on 19 Nov 2008, pipgower wrote:

    Dear John Sergeant ,
    I wish to say I admire your withdrawal from Strictly etc. immensely . Not because it is a lowest common denominator show which I avoid like the plague - but because I think it takes some courage to step out of something like that , an ability to act independently , and to not be vulnerable to group thinking . I watched the late Spike Milligan do it once , in the midst of a dull interview on Pebble Mill at One . Outstanding .
    You made my day , and have been enrolled on my list of heroes .

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  • 37. At 6:01pm on 19 Nov 2008, PeterStein wrote:

    John, did you jump, or were you pushed?

    Seems to me that your example goes to show that even in SCD youth, lewdness, suppleness, agility are not the criteria for a winner. I am a lot older than you, but your example is an inspiring encouragement.

    Have the judges / the BBC never heard of a Handicap Race: e.g. "Round the Island" where even the slowest and most beautiful old craft can win on handicap against the slimmest and fastest boat.

    Thus the oldies can compete on equal terms with the youngsters.

    In this case "your" voting public were the handicap-setters: you won on points even if you did not cross the line first.

    So well done John : and Cherie.

    So, you producers try "Strictly Come Entertaining".

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  • 38. At 6:04pm on 19 Nov 2008, longaman wrote:

    How sad that whiners, pretentious 'celebrities' and miserable folk have forced JS out of 'SCD'. He was a joy to watch, a beacon for oldies, and a jolly good entertainer. Surely SCD is supposed to be entertainment, not just a demonstration of dancing. Sadly the 'celebrity' cult has defeated the entertainment culture. I will no longer be watching.

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  • 39. At 6:13pm on 19 Nov 2008, payzacblog wrote:

    John Sargent has taken the most admirable step! He was in an invidious situation, but he has shown consideration for all the other competitors and his action is to be commended as a gentleman and a good sport.

    Thank you, John Sargent, for all the pleasure you have given to so many people.


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  • 40. At 6:16pm on 19 Nov 2008, glyderman wrote:

    John Sergeant, a LEGEND! What a refreshing change from the J Ross debacle. Auntie starts winning back the public.

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  • 41. At 6:26pm on 19 Nov 2008, iceman321 wrote:

    John should stay on, if only to take down those pompous judges a peg or two! The Times summed it up rather well this week saying Come Dancing was serious stuff, but Strictly Come Dancing is only entertainment and the public are obviously more entertained by John than fancy dancers and grumpy jusges!

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  • 42. At 6:34pm on 19 Nov 2008, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    I quite seriously thought that Eddie's 'quote' from Lord Mandelson was one of his 'obvious' windups - but it is quite true !!

    Truth being stranger than fiction...

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  • 43. At 7:10pm on 19 Nov 2008, U12196018 wrote:

    Big Sis (33) - I've thought for years that they are like each other. It's a view that is very widely shared - just type their names into your favourite search engine. Looks, mannerisms, facial expressions . . .

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  • 44. At 7:10pm on 19 Nov 2008, U11204129 wrote:

    One poster thought Egdie's quote from Morrison's grandson, was a joke.

    Is that a worry for PM listeners?

    'Cos Edgie is so trying so hard to be a good boy. Tonight, he dutifully told his audience that the BBC would refund Sergant phone money.

    The first time he's taken phone scams by the BBC seriously.

    His partner in crime Paxman was at the Sargent press conference, apparently. He, of course, started the 'Take no notice of the stock numbers' line. As a result Nils seems unable to say what he should, about the numbers. Some of both the short and long term movements are clearly scams and PM should say so.

    If the numbers ARE a farce, again, the programme should say so, and start investigating other ways to

    evaluate our capital stock,
    determine the level of our pensions, determine where new capital should go and
    determine the wage profit bargain.

    Big jobs for such variable numbers.
    It's time to change the way economic decisions are made, y'know

    The numbers are much more driven by what Keynes**** called the (highly changeable) 'conventional wisdom'.

    **** See my Glass Box post, for a comment on Keynes.

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  • 45. At 7:27pm on 19 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    can someone remind me: was pmLeader under another alias before this one? There is something about dragging the Tories into this thread and being altogether ridiculously serious as well as off-topic that seems familiar...

    The real question to ask here of course is, Could Keynes dance?

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  • 46. At 7:33pm on 19 Nov 2008, King_Pike wrote:

    John Sargent quits Strictly Come Dancing..................Is it really that important ?

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  • 47. At 7:43pm on 19 Nov 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Oh, well, now for a BBC apology, demands for DG to resign, etc, etc

    Blast this deja vu

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  • 48. At 9:15pm on 19 Nov 2008, Kno77y wrote:

    Wossy out, Johnny in!

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  • 49. At 9:30pm on 19 Nov 2008, J_O_E_L_-_C wrote:

    It'll be interesting to see what they do next series for the "comedy" dancer, given that it now appears to be an invitation for the public to take the mick out of the judges.

    Was I not the only one suprised to hear Jeremy Paxman at the press conference? Is there now no limit to how far these so-called 'serious' public figures will go? I think when 'Gorgeous' George Galloway did his "Shall I be the cat?" act on CBB, all bets were off...

    So we've had a roly-poly ex-BBC political editor strutting his stuff on the floor. Is there not now an opening for, say, a cuddly middle-aged scottish radio 4 presenter..?

    I think we should be told.

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  • 50. At 10:52pm on 19 Nov 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    But joel (may I call you joel? all those underscores dae ma heid in)

    ... please, no further platform for Galloway. Please, pretty please.

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  • 51. At 11:16pm on 19 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Frances: There were several water voles on BBC1 tonight - Did you spot them?

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  • 52. At 07:30am on 20 Nov 2008, J_O_E_L_-_C wrote:

    #50: Yes you can! Blame BBC blogs (or more specifically, some other Joel) for not having a decent version of my name available! I refuse to go for the whole "joel999x53" typey name...

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  • 53. At 08:44am on 20 Nov 2008, tastytrayf wrote:

    Do the judges not realise that if John had gone a few weeks ago they would still be in the same position as they are now choosing between the same people? I have watched the show since it started for fun and feel very differently now about it, not fun anymore John is a star.... keep dancing

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  • 54. At 10:28am on 20 Nov 2008, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    ""You did get that Hollywood feel, although it was more Mickey Rooney than Fred Astaire" [Arlene]

    she should be a bit careful - Mr Rooney will be on these shores in time for Christmas...


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  • 55. At 1:00pm on 20 Nov 2008, Ilavabeer wrote:

    I expect this "home-grown talent" has just succumbed to all those offers from other broadcasters that must have been flooding in when they found out that he hadn't been offered even the bare minimum of £18,000,000 over three years.

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  • 56. At 3:26pm on 20 Nov 2008, gossipmistress wrote:

    Poor JS was stuck between a rock and a hard place - I think he did the honourable thing in the situation and with humour and grace.

    If the BBC wants a serious dance competiton then clearly they shouldn't give us half the vote. If the judges agree to judge under the conditions that the public have half the vote, they shouldn't be castigating the public for keeping their favourites in.

    Still, any attention is better than none, I imagine it's all good publicity for the show, the makers of the programme are probably delighted.

    Cynical, moi?

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  • 57. At 7:20pm on 21 Nov 2008, squaresemidetached wrote:

    John and Kristina behaved Impeccably and set an example to the younger generation. All that kissing and cuddling is overdone.
    Revel Horwood let the cat out of the bag when he said of the winners last week'that performance was almost indecent' Is that why they came top?

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