Awful Ann Can't Put a Foot Right; DANCE
Byline: Rupert Christiansen
Without doubt the most bizarre and memorable aspect of this year's Strictly Come Dancing - The Live Tour **** is the appearance of Ann Widdecombe, partnered by Craig Revel Horwood, the judge who lambasted her performance on the BBC television show.
Here Widdecombe appears in a special comedy slot after the competition has ended - and yet again she leaves one wondering why a once-respected and serious Conservative politician should end up willingly making such a complete fool of herself.
Widdecombe herself claims she's 'just having fun', but she left me squirming with embarrassment. Dressed as a flapper girl, she enters the arena wailing for her beloved absent dance partner Anton du Beke. Then she bumps into Horwood, who proceeds to engage her in a farcical charleston, which she dances with staggering ineptitude and a lack of grace or musicality.
Yes, the audience adored every second of their duet, but the hysterical laughter had something cruel about it. This wasn't affectionate mockery so much as the cackling of the mob that sat below the guillotine during the French Revolution, watching hated aristocrats getting the chop.
The nasty undertone was all the more noticeable because Strictly is such a good-natured show, and this live tour runs business pretty much as usual - the only other departure from tradition being the exclusion of any female judge, leaving the triumvirate of Horwood, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli to their familiar carry-on.
The line-up of celebrities includes last year's winner Kara Tointon, hurdler Colin Jackson, Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker and B-list soap star Ricky Whittle. All of them danced well - Baker and Tointon very well indeed. …