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Could Ballroom Dancing Be About To Give Us The Feud To End All Feuds?

09/10/2017 13:29
Karwai Tang via Getty Images

If there's one thing that marks humans out as selfish, shallow, highly strung narcissists, it's the humble feud. Those petty squabbles that start out small and somehow end up much larger.

Often they go on for years, escalating out of control and resulting in the complete breakdown of relationships. Before you know it, war practically breaks out and all because at some point in the dim (or Kim) and distant past, North Korea's supreme leader never got those promised Beyoncé concert tickets. Although in this particular case maybe it did have more to do with America's concern that the rogue nation was processing plutonium to build nuclear weapons.

That's the problem with fallings-out. It's frequently difficult to remember exactly what the initial disagreement was even about. However, neither side ever seems willing to back down. Like that time when your dad borrowed next door's lawnmower and kept forgetting to give it back. Then one day you found yourself waking up to the sound of your mother's screams as she pulled back the bedroom covers and looked out of the window to see the head of her prized topiary horse had been chopped off with a Flymo Strimmer.

As bystanders, we can't get enough of a good old bicker. We especially love it when someone famous is involved. And all the better if a spat is played out in the public domain. For grown ups in the 21st century, Twitter is the equivalent of the school playground scrap. This is no bad thing as far as Donald Trump is concerned. He can certainly do without any girly hair-pulling in his dust-ups against personalities such as Meryl Streep, Rosie O'Donnell and Megyn Kelly.

But forget about the beef between the 45th President of the United States and whoever his latest sparring partner is. Next week it could turn out to be Sooty and Sweep, who he'll probably accuse of being rulers of a Russian sponsored puppet state.

In addition to his numerous slanging matches, there have been many celebrated altercations over the years. History is positively littered with them. Mind you, compared to Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer, Simon Cowell and Gary Barlow, Liam and Noel Gallagher and Piers Morgan and, well, practically everyone, there's a new feud out there of such deep and undying personal animosity that it's set to eclipse all others before it.

Obviously I refer to the argument that has suddenly erupted between Brendan Cole and Shirley Ballas from Strictly Come Dancing.

It started when Len Goodman's replacement as head judge criticised Brendan for his overly complicated choreography. Not surprisingly this didn't go down brilliantly with the dancer who has been a part of the show since day one and he retaliated, accusing her at every possible opportunity of making cruel and hypocritical comments.

Producers might have been hoping, or maybe they weren't (one suspects this must be manner from heaven for them) that the dispute would quickly blow over and things could return to a more normal passivity, leaving Craig as the pantomime villain. No such luck.

As it turned out, events took a decided turn for the worst as in the weekend show just gone, Shirley couldn't resist once again laying into the routine dreamt up by Brendan. The ensuing couple of minutes, when it appeared as if they may actually come to blows, definitely made for uncomfortable, yet weirdly compulsive viewing.

For reasons best known to herself, this is a lady who has got an axe to grind. The same sort of axe used to bring an end to the feud involving Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth 1st. But if she's relying on Bruno to be some kind of waltzing Walsingham who will constantly help defend and support her, I think she might have another thing coming. As soon as Cole loses a few extra shirt buttons and flashes a bit more flesh, she may discover that Mr. Tonioli's true allegiances lie elsewhere.

There's no doubt that the Strictly veteran is smarting from not getting the judging gig himself and he should learn to hold his tongue. All the same, any cod psychologist would say that the reason Shirley is behaving in such a domineering fashion is due to the fact she wants to demonstrate that she is the one in charge and is therefore not going to allow any man, least of all a former rival for the main job, to get the better of her.

Originally a slight fish out of water, but now a fully fledged piranha; BBC executives need to prevent Ballas from taking the bossiness too far. That's if she hasn't already done so.

In the meantime, never mind about 'keep on dancing'. Surely the message here is 'keep on quarrelling'. Much more fun, entertaining and likely to keep people tuning in.

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