Sourpuss Shirley took Wicked Queen too seriously – Vanessa Feltz on Strictly

Strictly: Shirley tells Adam ‘not to listen to Craig’

It is a fact universally acknowledged, as Jane Austen would say were she watching Strictly, that the world divides into two factions.

The first eagerly awaits the Halloween episode, aching to see contestants painted ghoulish green awkwardly attempting an eerie paso to the Ghostbusters theme tune.

These folk have swallowed the story frequently repeated by presenters and professionals, that ghostly ghastliness is ‘iconic’.

They genuinely yearn for Craig to appear as Severus Snape from Harry Potter and Motsi to emerge as Incey Wincey Spider.

The second find the whole grisly spectacle an interminable bore, unable to understand how or why a Viennese waltz is enhanced by toothless spectres whirling about to a clunking tune from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

READ MORE: Amanda Abbington supported by Hollywood star after quitting Strictly

When the time comes I will give you the inside scoop on what the Strictly team really thinks of upping sticks and schlepping to Blackpool.

Until then suffice it to say enthusiasm for slime, fake blood and fright wigs doesn’t necessarily consume all members equally.

Rumour has it certain hair and makeup mavens are sick to the back teeth of the same old brief series in series out and some of the more constitutionally delicate professionals – particularly the ladies who feel better classically beautified – would happily give All Hallows Eve a miss.

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Poor Zara McDermott! What a dreadful shame to dance your last as a skeleton. She has been elegance personified throughout and it seems unfair to consign her to the annals forever immortalised as ‘dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones’.

Theoretically of course Zara is exactly what Strictly is looking for. She’s a tall, slim, graceful non-dancer prepared to work her socks off to master a brand new discipline. She couldn’t have tried harder and, bless her, should have lasted far longer.

She simply didn’t stand a chance against the show’s casting team who this year signed up a couple of professional dancers who earn(ed) their living as hoofers, notably Angela Scanlon and Layton Williams alongside a batch of stage schoolers who danced daily so true novices like Zara barely stand a chance.

It’s a shame she’s gone and a further shame the judges kept telling her to ‘risk it’ when she was just doing her level best to remember and execute the steps.

Meanwhile exquisite Annabel Croft, another novice progressing astoundingly, somehow managed to make a terrifying tango look sensual and scintillating.

Nigel Harman, lauded weekly as ‘the one to watch’ was castigated for ‘too many mistakes’. Sourpuss Shirley, who seemed to take her Wicked Queen get up a tad too seriously, sternly reminded all and sundry that ‘we’ve hit the halfway mark’ as if we were all heading straight for the gallows.

Krishnan Guru Murthy, another novice showing edifying improvement seemed to lose his grip on the Viennese waltz though unbraiding him for his posture when he was hindered horribly by his costume seemed harsh.

Bobby Brazier, long-limbed golden boy got it in the neck from Craig for being flat-footed. Adam Thomas who smashed it with a spirited American Smooth inexplicably ended up in the dance off.

Corrie’s Ellie is the tremendously talented triumph of the leader board and Angela Rippon’s Charleston was a soar away sensation.

My money’s still on Angela and Kai. If ever the comforting slogan ‘age is just a number’, which we all know is a fib, seemed for a few glorious weeks to be true, we have Angela to thank. She makes even the creakiest among us feel immortal. Let us arise and bless her twinkling toes.

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