Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Thursday, 20 November 2008

Press views: John Sergeant

John Sergeant
John Sergeant became a viewers' favourite

John Sergeant's performances on Strictly Come Dancing captured the imagination of viewers. But how did the TV critics see his decision to leave the BBC talent show? Here is a selection of their views.


Personally I prefer it when the celebrities are hilariously hopeless - such as Gary Rhodes, who danced like a vulture having electric shock treatment - or get dragged round the dancefloor like shop window mannequins by their professional partners.

But John's performances were neither good enough to be impressive nor bad enough to be entertaining.

His aura of smug self-satisfaction - illustrated by his "the public will always save me" attitude - was simply galling.


His bravado saw him laugh through nine weeks of the show, his exit left millions feeling cheated. Where's the plucky politico gone?

Week by week, fans spent hard-earned cash voting for the 64-year-old to stay - despite the torrent of judges' abuse and a dance technique that looked like Herman Munster being tortured.

While I agree with the BBC's decision to refund the money from our votes, it can't come close to the joy of seeing renegade John murder a mambo.


Sergeant, whose unique interpretation of the cha-cha-cha had all the grace of a garden gnome on wheels, was the viewers' favourite.

The truth is, the audience were less entertained by Sergeant than by watching the increasingly stony faces of the judges, pressing their buttons at home to prevent him being voted off.

This tells us something interesting about these experiments in electronic democracy. TV programmes in which viewers are invited to vote now enjoy the attentions of millions. And in many cases, viewers seem to get their kicks out of sticking two fingers up to authority and sabotaging the whole show.


Well, I hope those po-faced judges are proud of themselves. Now that John Sergeant and his lovely Ginsters-pasty face have bowed to their carping and waltzed off Strictly Come Dancing, what are they left with? A show that's 90 per cent less interesting than it was last week and, I'd guess, a BBC paymaster that feels like killing them.

The judges moved in and put us in our place. "Is it a ballroom dance competition or is it Sunday Night at the London Palladium, in which case we should just bring in some fire-eaters," tutted Craig Revel Horwood. "This is a dance competition. It's not Strictly Come Entertainment."

Er, how can we put this, Craig? Yes. It. Is. You are only there to keep viewers entertained while they eat their Pringles.


Sergeant's dedication to sprinkling a little stardust over dark Saturday evenings is simply not up to scratch. He'd be great in the jungle wading through slime, and he's certainly got the right pedigree to put Kilroy-Silk's arguments through the shredder but, as he well knows, it's traditional for the portly older fellow who can't dance to go out in the first few weeks, and he had overstayed his welcome.

At last I can relax, knowing that each episode of Strictly might be punctuated with clumsy footwork and ugly timing, but the remaining dancers will be in it not just to win it but to really live it. I want Mad Hatters and March Hares, not bemused Cheshire Cats.

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