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Strictly no water, please

HAVING been sold in kazillions of countries Strictly Come Dancing is, it has been said, Britain's "gift to the world". Forget football, penicillin or the television, the invention the world most desperately wanted from Blighty was a show format in which the local equivalent of Edwina Currie, blind with mascara and dumb with orange make-up, tries to tango while a Botoxed David Hasselhoff-like figure nods in approval. The Nobel Prize for ... um ... the campest thing ever ... must surely be in the post.

Anyway, Strictly proved its gigantic worth yet again last week as a gift begat another gift: the end of the strict convention of chat show guests drinking only water. Comedian Alan Carr gets a little credit for giving "normally composed" judge and Strictly ambassador Alesha Dixon an actual glass of wine on his show. But then it was more Strictly televisual magic. Within minutes, she was saying that everyone on the show was "horny" and "really gagging for it". And, as if to show how "gagging", she finished up by necking the last slug from the bottle while Alan Carr rubbed his hands together at the ratings. Afterwards she sheepishly tweeted about being a "cheap date".

Now that the horse has bolted this can only change the way celebrities are interviewed forever. Pretty soon they will be "Irishing up" the coffees on every breakfast show on every network, just praying for an Oliver Reed moment. 'Why on earth try to warm them up with jokes and puns when you can just get them trolleyed?' Is what television executives from Madrid to Malmo will doubtlessly be asking themselves. The X Factor doesn't stand a chance.

Donal Lynch

Sunday Indo Living