Sometimes as a treat, I watch 'Have I got news for you' on the iplayer so I can watch in bed. I recently watched an episode in which Arlene Phillips was on Paul Merton's team. From the beginning of the show I found her to be odd and rather pointless as a team member as she didn't say a word but nodded nervously, and her movement, both facially and in her body, seemed unnatural and stiff.
But when she finally said a few words boy did I wish she'd never opened her mouth. What she said was utterly embarrassing and damaging to the dance world. It was insulting and saddened me greatly to see a supposed 'professional' talking so degradingly about their own profession, knowing it would be aired on national television, in a highly popular show.
When asked about a Strictly Come Dancing dancer, Anton du Beke, who had got in trouble for a racist remark he made, Arlene said 'Very often they [dancers] are not taught to think for themselves' to which Ian Hislop says 'right, because people are shouting '1,2' at you all the time'. There is a bit of banter and Arlene shows her superior knowledge by saying;
'No, actually, 5,6,7,8. Thats how you count a dancer in. And thats why they have such trouble in the real world because thats all they hear. 5,6,7,8!'
Oh, now it all makes sense. I wondered why I wandered round aimlessly in circles unless I could hear someone saying 5,6,7,8........
I was dumbfounded by the sheer stupidity of her statement, maybe she was joking but its hard to tell seeing her delivery of it seemed pretty serious. And if if it was a joke it just isn't funny.
The majority of the dancers I know are highly intelligent, strong minded and individual people. Its vital that they are all those things in order to survive as dance artists. They often make choices that actively go against the typical ways of society, even if this is something as un dance related as having their baby at home. What I am saying is they definitely think for themselves.
But its not just Arlene in the wrong here. As this whole unpleasant section of the program began Paul Merton can be hear to say 'some dancers are a bit thick outside of dance, and its true.' A pretty bold statement for someone who seemingly has little connection to dance. I'd like to know how many dancers Mr Merton has met. Perhaps just Arlene Phillips.
(the section I am referring to starts after 2 mins 37)