Fern and Jerry

Those in the UK and in the know will be aware that Jerry Hall has left Strictly. Strictly Come Dancing: a not-very-guilty winter Saturday evening pleasure. It took me a few years to get into this competition. Not that I preferred The Other Side, the competition that must not been named, but I had a feeling, probably connected to Come Dancing in the 70s, that this kind of entertainment was not for me. Back in the day it was gruesome, comprising hideously made-up grimacing women and poker straight(!) shiny men, sequins and backed by awful band music. Really, really not sexy at all. All before they revamped Blackpool and kitsch became trendy. Everything is so different now.

Of course there’s still Brucie. Why oh why? Just let Anton take over and be done with it. The shark faced woman, Tess, she does ok with the stars when she’s interviewing them at the top of the stairs. She can be sympathetic and spontaneous and funny. She and Claudia – does anyone not have a girl crush on her? – manage the so called Sunday evening results programme in some style. But the awful stagey introduction she has to endure with SIr B every week is excruciating to watch. And the way he grips her leg. Let’s move on.

I’ve mentioned Anton, which brings me to Jerry. She’s the best partner he’s had in years. Nancy last year staggered around, we never really got to know if that was an act or if she was for real. Surely not? But then again she is foreign. Enough said. Then Anne Widdecombe, dreadful dancer but at least she was a sport. A little too mouthy for most of us but she could take a joke. The public kept these clowns in for sheer horror value to the detriment of some good performers. Let’s be honest, poor old Anton has had some duffers in dance dept.

But this year I thought he was in with a chance. Jerry Hall is a different kettle of fish. She’s elegant, shapely, glamorous. She can walk in heels. She has catwalk charisma. And then I saw her dance. Mmm. Not great. I understand, I am tall too, though nowhere near six feet, and frankly it’s a mixed blessing. Those limbs are hard to manage, they bump and trail. And there’s such a high expectation of tall people. You must be capable, competent and hold it together. Poor old Jerry probably is all those things, but she couldn’t dance.

Jerry Hall

I didn’t take to her when she was first introduced. I thought rather meanly “one trick pony.” Her Texan drawl didn’t appeal and she posed with studied sexiness, she posed all the time. Posing and pouting. Oh my. But, big but (snigger), she worked hard and she remained gracious. She was filmed without her makeup and looked like the rest of us in our 50s, (except for her flat stomach, long neck and great cheek bones) a bit grey and somewhat haggard. She carried on smiling her immense smile and bantering with Anton. I got to like her very much and feel she left the competition far too soon. I would have liked to see her progress, tall woman doing rumba, paso double. Yes please. But not to be. Sad face.

Anyhow now we older ladies are represented by Fern Britton, whom I like. I’ve never seen her much on tv but I do envy her years of fun and chat on the daytime tv’s sofa with Philip Schofield – another crush I’ve had ever since he was in the broom cupboard with Gordon the gopher. And she has, I am told, lost a lot of weight. Respect.  Maybe she has a gastric band? Do I care? Not in the least because Fern can dance.

Fern Britton

She does have Artem as a partner who plays quaintly foreign and shy inside that impressive and shiny muscle-bound frame: she’s quite evidently delighted with him. She too works hard and is filmed looking less than lovely but she doesn’t take herself too seriously. When talking about the possibility of leaving the competition last week she commented that perhaps she should go as she had the most enormous pile of ironing at home. Excellent. Still a pose perhaps but a British one. Very understated.

And there’s the difference. Foolishly at the beginning Jerry said she was dancing badly to give the others a chance. However tongue in cheek she might have been, that kind of humour just doesn’t wash over here. Fern on the other hand is oh-so-grateful to be there. So interesting, the way we are. The games we play.

Well good luck Fern. I loved your Halloween outfit – very glam  – and your…quiet dignity underneath the mumsie housewife pose…I think. I’ll come back to that. Dignity. Good word. Fine quality.