John Sergeant used to be a highly respected political journalist on TV; he is not what one would call a handsome man and is rather portly these days. Now retired, he was asked to participate in a strange TV programme on the BBC called Strictly Come Dancing. The raison d’être of this programme is to pair off a professional dancer with a complete amateur, allow them to train together for a week and then to compete in front of a panel of judges. At the end of the programme the public gets to vote for their favourites (by phone on premium lines) and the two couples with the fewest votes perform again before the judges to decide who gets a second chance to compete again the following week.
Frankly this isn't my cup of tea at all. My passion for almost all forms of dance simply doesn't extend to the tawdry spectacle that is professional ballroom dancing, but I'm clearly in a minority among British telly watchers as this programme is massively popular, possibly because the public enjoys seeing well known figures making fools of themselves.
Back to Mr Sergeant: week after week he defied logic and the venom spat at him by the show's judges to get voted through to the following round; again and again and again. The judges raged, the other contestants sulked, but it was Sergeant the public loved and they voted for him in their thousands. Yesterday Mr Sergeant decided it was all too much, a sensitive soul at heart, he had had enough. Today the proverbial hit the fan and every paper in the country has John Sergeant's picture on the front page and dance hasn't featured so prominently in British newspapers since Anastasia Volochkova was sacked from the Bolshoi allegedly for being too fat.
Here is a sample:
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ ... 188145.ece
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/no ... n-sergeant
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-enter ... 26306.html
The Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... sands.html
The public isn't happy: it wanted Sergeant to win and spent considerable sums on over-priced phone calls to ensure he would win and now he has been forced to back out due to the hostility he encountered on the show.
This has come at a bad time for the BBC as the corporation is still in the midst of another scandal when presenters Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand rang an elderly actor on air to tell him how Brand had been sleeping with his granddaughter. The public was outraged and Brand was forced to resign while Ross is suspended without pay. This follows a string of revelations about phone votes and competitions that have resulted in public outrage. The John Sergeant resignation clearly seems to be the final straw and already a number of people that voted for him last week are demanding their money back.