The Ashes are over. Corbyn has been elected by the Labour Party to lead them in to opposition. Doctor Who is about to start infuriating me again. So, it's time for Strictly Come Dancing.
And here, in response to the literally requests, is my opening assesment of the runners and riders in Strictly Come Dancing 2015.
In this post I'll be giving a paragraph or two on each couple, consulting Wikipedia for biographical information and considering how what I've seen of them in the Partner Matching Programme and what I know of their professional partner and considering how I think they'll do in general. I don't have ready access to Twitter at the moment so an analysis of their Twitter reach and a final predicition will have to wait until later in the week.
In the order in which they are mentioned in the Strictly Come Dancing blog.
Ainsley Harriot and Natalie Lowe. Celebrity celebrity chef Harriot is paired up with the Lovely Natalie Lowe. Natalie is one of my favourite pro-dancers and is good at training up celebrities and getting the best out of them. Ainsley has some natural affinity for dancing judging by the way he bops around the kitchen. He's a likeable and enthusiastic guy. This bodes well. If Lowe can get him some decent technical proficiency early on and steer him through the early rounds I think he's in with a good chance of doing well.
Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilana. Jay is a member of boy band The Wanted. Aliona is a past winner with Harry Judd, a former member of boy band McFly. In recent years Aliona hasn't prospered on Strictly, going out in the first two rounds with Tony Jackin and Greg "the Pudding" Wallace. Boy band members tend to do well. They are used to moving to music and usually have a decent native support. I didn't catch Jay's dancing ability during the group dances. Boy band membership says he'll get through the first few rounds easily.
Jeremy Vine and Karen Clifton.
I like Karen Clifton as a pro-dancer. She did well to steer Scott Mills as far as she did last year. However, her track record is limited.
Vine appears to be able to move in time to the music. He's an engaging character but I'm not sure there is a huge cross over between his natural constituency and those who vote in Strictly Come Dancing votes. I can see him doing well in ballroom. For me a bit of an unknown quantity.
EDITED TO ADD: Clearly an unknown quantity as I've mistaken Karen and Joanne Clifton. Karen Clifton has a bit more of a track record than her sister-in-law Joanne with some decent places in previous years. She's quite a determined and driven pro. I'm not sure the change in personnel changes my assesment.
Iwan Thomas, and Ola Jordan. Ola Jordan is a past winner, and a past winner with an outsider. She's good at making her celebrity dance partners train and her choreography is of a high standard and gets the best out of her partners. Her Charlston with Chris Hollins was game changing. Iwan, in turn is an Olympic athelete. They are fit and they know how to train. He's also got a bit of a deeper constitutency through appearing in light hearted panel shows. The question is, is he a Louis Smith or a Victoria Pendleton. Will he love the dance and will the dance love him. If he can move then he's a good candidate for finalist.
Jamelia and Tristan MacManus. Jamelia is a musician which a somewhat checkered media profile. Tristan MacManus was partnered with Jennifer Gibney (not Grey) last year. Jamelia should be able to dance but I'm not sure how popular she is. Tristan is an unknown quanity. I don't know.
Kirsty Gallacher and Brendon Cole. Housewives' Favourite Cole is teamed up with For the Dad's Gallacher in a combination sure to re-kindle many flagging middle-aged marriages. Cole, a past winner, has a decent track record in the show but in recent years he's failed to convert good field position in to wins. His tendency to stridently support his partner is both a strength and a weakness. Gallacher has long career in sports journalism on Sky. She's an undoubted beauty. How popular this makes her in with Strictly voters I'm not sure. A wild card here is her public support for the Union in IndyRef. She may well find that the state of Scottish politics is such that an anyone but Kirsty campaign takes off. Or not. As usual, the key factor here is whether she can dance. If she can move well and has chemistry with Cole she should do well. If not, I'm not sure he native constituency will carry her very far.
Kellie Bright and Kevin Clifton. I think Clifton, Kevin (one of three Cliftons on the show) is a superb dancer and coach. Bright, of popular Continuing Drama Eastenders, is an alumni of the Sylvia Young school. This has finalist written all over it.
George May Foote and Gionvanni Pernice. May Foote irritates the living heck out of me. It's a Skinstead thing. An irrational dislike (unlike my dislike of Steven Moffat, which is perfectly rational). Pernice has no Wikipedia entry. I'm sure they will do well but I don't care to think about them.
Helen George and Alijaz Skorjanec - always a hard one to judge, where you have a popular actor who is popular for being in a popular programme you, yourself, didn't much care for. Helen George has name recognition. Alijaz is a previous winner. Probably strong contenders to do well.
Daniel O'Donnell as the old school joke goes is not a famous Irish revolutionary. Famous enough to be a cultural icon he certainly has a powerful name recognition factor. He works in the music industry which I feel ought to help with some moveing to music. However, he's in his 50's, so I'm not sure how well his body will stand up to the training schedule. He's paired with the Kristina of Troy. Kristina has a mixed record in Strictly. Her best place is runner up in 2014 with Simon "from Blue" Webbe. Can he dance? Does your mum like him? Will she vote for him? Daniel O'Donnell is the Jeremy Corbyn of this year's Strictly. A psephological nightmare.
Peter Andre. Peter Andre. Peter Bloody Andre. Known for Mysterious Girl in more ways then one. My own view of Andre is that he's a decent bloke trying to do his best and that this comes through when he talks. Which should make him a sympathetic figure. He's very well known. Janet Manrara, his partner is less well known. She worked well with Jake Wood last series, going out late in the series. Given Andre's personably personality, his name recognition, his musical career and Manrara's coaching ability Andre would be my pick for finalist and probably winner.
Anthony Ogogo is an Olympian and a boxer. Olympians ususually do well. Boxers do not. Personally, I'd never heard of him, but then Olympian Boxers are not my bag baby. He's partnered with new professional Oti Mabuse. She is so unknown that she doesn't even have her own wikipedia page. I'm not hopeful. I expect Olympian grit will take them about half way and then boxer stiffness and Mabuse newness will trip them up.
Katie Derham. Is partnered with Anton du Beke. So she's not going to win.
My personal favourite, BBC weather present Carol Kirkwood is partnered with current champion Pasah Kovalev. At 53 Kirkwood might suffer from not being as physically fit as some of the younger, sportier contestants. She's affable and has the full might of the BBC Breakfast mafia on her side. She's good mates with former winner and BBC Breakfaster Chris Hollins. Not sure that's enough to take her further than half way.
Anita Rani and Gleb Savchenko I know nothing about, not being a watcher of what my brother in law refers to as CitydwellerFile I can't speak to either it's appeal or hers. She's paired with new boy Gleb Savchenko. When I search for him in wikipedia wikipedia coyly suggests that I might like to create a page for Glen Shevchinko. This does not bode well. Dancing will be the key here. If she's rubbish, out early. If she's good, she'll survive the early rounds clear out.
And that concludes this year's Strictly opening review.
I'll try to keep up to date with weekly reviews and some psephological analysis as work and health allows.