Panto dame or dancing diva?

September 14, 2010, 8:19 PM GMT+0

Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe has waltzed her way up the TellYouGov leaderboard following the launch of a new series of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday. Although some users, or tyggers, say Ann should ‘strictly not come dancing’ others are impressed by the ‘bravery’ of the woman who dubbed herself ‘this year’s pantomime act’ in the show.

The topic 'Ann Widdecombe' is currently experiencing a volume score of 63, up 48 points in the past 48 hours. However Ann’s sentiment score stands at -21, a 36 point decrease in the same time period, suggesting some people think she is more pantomime dame than dancing diva.

‘Career as a clown’

Some users, or tyggers, are distinctly unimpressed that a ‘serious politician’ is taking part in a ‘demeaning’ show. ‘Is she making a new career for herself as a clown?’ one tygger asked, while another said they had hoped Ann would ‘remain out of the public eye’.

Other tyggers, though, appear pleased that a ‘great’ and ‘honest’ politician is featured in the line-up, and call Widdecombe a ‘good sport’ for participating in a series that will be ‘full of laughs’. One excitedly wrote: '[I] LOVE her attitude to Strictly. She's gonna be fab.'

Ann has been paired up with ballroom professional and TV personality Anton du Beke for the programme, amid speculation that the pairing aims to punish Du Beke for a racist comment directed at partner Laila Rouass last year.

Waltzing to win?

Despite doubts about her dancing, our poll from 9th September shows that Ann is the most well-known contestant of the eighth series of the BBC programme, having been heard of by a substantial 94% of the population. However, audiences are predicting it will be more cha cha ciao than cha cha cha from Ann, as just 2% of the public think she will win. It isn’t necessarily a sizzling salsa that will win the competition though – the public broadcaster John Sergeant stepped down from the 2009 series when it appeared that his two left feet might well lead him to a ‘joke’ victory.

But while presenter Bruce Forsyth emphasised on Saturday that Ann was ‘very welcome’ among the contestants, viewers will have to wait until next month to see her in action, as the contestants have three weeks of intensive training before the live series begins. It’s possible that Ann has not yet registered just how skimpy the outfits are though: ‘We are going to train in Devon and have as many cream teas as we can manage,’ she announced. Let’s hope she brings her dancing shoes as well as her double cream.

The live shows of Strictly Come Dancing begin on 1st October.

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