Friday, December 2News That Matters

Should Seann and Katya stay on Strictly?

It started with a kiss… Strictly contestant star Seann Walsh and dance partner Katya Jones hit the headlines after being caught kissing in public.

Walsh, who had a long-term girlfriend, Rebecca Humphries, and Jones, married to Strictly professional Neil Jones, both tweeted an apology.

Humphries has since accused Walsh of “inappropriate and hurtful behaviour” during their relationship.

Walsh has yet to comment but what does this mean for such a big TV show?

Entertainment reporter Caroline Frost told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think the Strictly producers can’t really lose here, it’s a huge story.

“If they [Walsh and Jones] don’t go by lunchtime, every viewer in the country, even the ones who weren’t tuning in for the first three weeks of the programme, will be tuning in to see how this plays out.

“Even if they were to stay until the weekend I wouldn’t expect them to go through.”

A list of songs and dances announced on Tuesday revealed Walsh and Jones are set to perform a Charleston on Saturday’s show to Bills by LunchMoney Lewis.

Frost said the hugely successful BBC One show was in uncharted territory.

“For years, one of the great ingredients the show has traded on is the so-called curse [relationship break-ups during the series] – Strictly has never had to say too much on this [because] it’s gone on behind the scenes. This is the first one so blatantly played out on the front of the newspapers.

“But when there are, from Rebecca’s account, [allegations of] a background of… bad treatment, I think a line has been crossed.”

The BBC has asked Walsh and Strictly for a comment on the allegations but have had no response so far.

‘Disaster for Seann’

PR guru Mark Borkowski told the BBC that the situation is not necessarily bad news for the show.

“If you’re cynical about it, it’s good news for the show. It’s provoked a huge debate and provided the papers with a huge story to keep interest in Strictly going.

“The BBC won’t make a fast decision, there’s a vacuum at the moment [so there’s] lots of room for media speculation [to fill the gap].

“All publicity is good publicity – apart from the obituary notice!”

However, the prognosis for Walsh and Jones isn’t so rosy, he says.

“It’s an absolute disaster for Seann, I would be very surprised, since the intervention of his girlfriend, if they can keep him on [the show]. I suspect they [Strictly] might leave the decision to the last possible moment.

“I don’t see how they can carry on with the routines. Seann was improving, he had a glint in his eye and Shirley liked him. For those not very well-known celebs [like Seann], it’s usually a huge lift for their career, it’s like being promoted into another division. But he’s got himself relegated before the season’s halfway through.

He adds: “It’s potentially bad news for Katya – whether she’ll be kept on, who knows?”

Speaking to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, The Mirror’s TV critic, Sara Wallis, said the situation had now “taken a sinister turn”.

“Seann and Strictly need to make a statement. He’s signed his own death warrant on the show, the crowd will not be behind him.

“Before Rebecca’s statement it was a very different beast. She said he was controlling, this is a very big, important issue, a very serious allegation. Seann needs to step forward and he needs to do it soon.”

On the Strictly series itself, Wallis said: “It’s a juggernaut of a show, everyone loves it. Seann is not bigger than Strictly. I’m hopeful something will come out today and it can move on. We want the focus back on the dancing.

“They’ll probably get the biggest ratings they’ll have if they [Seann and Katya] are still there on Saturday. After that, the dedicated fans will take issue if he remains in the show without responding to these claims.”

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