No matter how I try, I cannot avoid the Strictly Come Dancing ‘story’ about the alleged comedian Seann Walsh and his dancing partner Katya Jones. They both have – or in Walsh’s case had – partners in real life (Strictly, believe it or not is not real life) and one night, with a few sherbets on board, they had an indiscreet snog which – surprise, surprise – was picked up by the red tops. Now, it’s all kicked off. Walsh’s partner had a twitter pop at him, both Walsh and Jones appeared on telly last night apologising to all concerned. One thing concerns me more than anything else: some people seem to be interested in how this pans out.
I had never heard of Seann Walsh before Strictly. I am not one for watching stand up comedy so my knowledge on the subject is not exactly the deepest. In fact, I know very few of the ‘celebrity’ dancers on Strictly because I only watch bits and pieces of the show, other than when Faye Tozer and Karen Clifton are on the show. (This is because I am a great admirer of their…ahem…dancing skills.) And guess what? I am not overly concerned about the private lives of the stars.
In fact, I don’t know why anyone is interested in their lives. I guess it must be to do with the times in which we live. People watch shows like the X Factor, which is, so far as I can tell, a karaoke competition between amateur pub performers who must have a preferably traumatic back story. Viewers are in floods of tears as they learn of the contestants’ tragic backgrounds. There is, it seems, a ferocious hunger to know more about TV performers than would appear to be healthy.
Go into a newsagent and check out the magazines on sale. Hello, Closer, Now are some titles that spring to mind. If you want to learn about the former ‘glamour model’ Katie Price, for example, there will usually be some exclusive story about her or her children. That Ms Price is largely bereft of talent, other than the ability to earn cash from credulous fools, is neither here nor there. And if you want to learn about the grim secrets of a fading soap actor who has had unfortunate plastic surgery, it’s all there for you. People read this stuff.
On a recent holiday, I noted that the gossip and scandal magazines are hugely popular. People sit for hours reading about things that I cannot, for the life of me, understand why anyone would. Worse still – and this probably says more about me – I have never heard of most of these celebrities. Perhaps it is me who is out of step?
A few months ago, I visited someone in a professional capacity and they were watching the Jeremy Kyle show. I had obviously heard of it, but thankfully, I now realise, had never before seen it. For those of you who have still not experienced the magic of Kyle, the idea is for the producers to find the most dysfunctional families imaginable, who will be, frankly, as ill-educated as possible and for them to argue about various domestic matters in front of a studio audience. The presenter, Kyle, who is a posh and privately educated , adopts an odd ‘mockney’ accent at the victims and shouts at them, like some weedy classroom bully who is surrounded by his much harder mates, in this case burly security guards. The effect is startling. People appear like rabbits in the headlights and confess to all manner of supposed sins and foibles. Millions of people watch this. Why?
I’m guessing they watch for the same reason people read the scandal sheets to find out more about a snog between two C list celebs: they have a right to know everything. But do they?
Making public the private lives of the stars proves only one thing to me: everyone’s life can be boring, no matter the social strata from which they come. Walsh had a poorly timed, pissed-up snog with Katya Jones and suddenly this is more important than the future of the United Kingdom. It really isn’t, you know, and if you are paying good money to read about it, I feel very sorry for you.