Russell Grant – Strictly Edinburgh Gilded Balloon

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t remember Russell getting fired from a cannon at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool? If you don’t, then you’re probably not one of the massive number of fans of Strictly Come Dancing and you might not be instantly attracted to this show. However, if you are a fan of Strictly and fell in love with Russell and his endearing and dotty performance in the 2011 season then you will absolutely love it.

It starts tamely enough with Russell sitting on stage reading snippets from a This is Your Life style scrapbook and entertaining us with stories of his childhood in the 1950s in Hillingdon in Middlesex. His memories are happy ones of laughter and music and his beloved Nan. To illustrate the story of his first attempts at dancing, he gets a delighted young girl up from the audience and they dance to a sedate waltz. Then all of a sudden the music changes and, before we know what we are doing, the whole audience is up dancing the twist with Russell to the strains of “Splish Splash I was Taking a Bath” That is the signal for the real start of the show.

He has an infectious personality and is brimming over with vitality and happiness which he wants to share with us all. After a highly successful career as an actor and entertainer, he became a TV astrologer and personal astrologer to countless stars, celebrities and even Royals. Life hasn’t always been so good for him however, and he charts his descent into depression and morbid obesity following a break from his career to nurse his dying Nan. In January 2010, after serious health warnings from his doctor, he decided to “choose happiness” and start the journey back to fitness and health through the medium of his first love – show business. We know the rest – his phenomenally successful stint on Strictly resurrected his career and has led to his frequent TV appearances, including this year’s Celebrity Masterchef.

He comes over as a genuinely nice guy and he is heavily involved with the Alzheimers Society in memory of his Nan. He has loads of entertaining stories and anecdotes to tell us and we are treated to clips of his appearances on Top of the Pops and Strictly. Best of all, we all get the chance to get up and boogie along with him. Only the most po-faced of individuals could fail to join in and enjoy this show. Guaranteed to get you smiling and give you a warm glow.

Irene Brownlee