I am about to write something you won’t believe. So I need to ask a favour – please go with it. Instead of gasping, “Come off it, Jeremy!”, just exhale, let the thought settle and resist the urge to chuck your computer across the room.
OK – ready?
The Strictly Come Dancing celebs get on. All of us. I have never met a bunch of people I’ve liked or trusted more.
The papers had their heaviest artillery trained on the starting 15. “IS THIS THE BITCHIEST STRICTLY EVER?” was the first double-page headline to hit us. One of our number was then the target of a cruel article; suffice to say that she is the shyest of all the female contestants, but was branded a “prima donna” and “secret diva” given to strops – totally false. She is delightful.
The problem is that the most unbelievable story is the one that is true: we all like each other. When Daniel O’Donnell left the contest he stayed in the social media group we use. One night we were all struggling. Our routines were taking hours to learn. Jamelia posted that she also had to “make 50 cupcakes and a cupcake stand that looks like a dress” for her daughter’s birthday. Kellie had a monster EastEnders plotline to conquer and Katie and I had discovered new muscles by tearing them.
My phone buzzed with a new post. Daniel appeared suddenly from a pool in Tenerife, clouded in blue like an angel. “Take your vitamins, friends.”
I replied (being a bit silly), “Sing to us, Daniel.”
Next thing we know, up pops a short video selfie of the man himself, crooning What a Wonderful World and signing off, “Sleep tight, everyone.”
It made some of us cry.
Yes, Strictly has made us gloopy and schmaltzy and so cheesy that we should probably all be sliced and sold in Lidl. But we really do love each other.