STRICTLY DIARY: They Never Did The Spray Tan on Panorama

Friday 1600Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

The first thing I see at Elstree is my dressing room door. “Lucky you weren’t here half an hour ago,” says a researcher, “because that door had ROOM 101 written on it.” So my dressing room is a place where unloved things are disposed of? Karen — where are you? We need to talk urgently!

Friday 1620Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

It’s like beach towels by the hotel swimming pool when it comes to space round here! My friends Ainsley and Natalie have swiftly nabbed the ballroom-sized bar (where everyone goes after the show, with friends and relatives, to compare bunions and bruised egos). Good luck to Ainsley & Nat — their routine is always worth seeing. Here two runners are asking them a question about their wardrobe fitting and just look at the graceful way a dancer stands, even when she’s off duty. I Iove the time I am spending with these people. They are human beings, yes; but I feel I am only distantly related to the likes of Natalie and Karen. The work they have done on their bodies and their movement is phenomenal.

Friday 1656Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

Film crews are everywhere here, because Strictly is more than a dance competition: it’s a programme that tells the story of all the celebs as they compete. Here I’ve been buttonholed by Tash and Ricky who want to ask whether movie week is up my street. (Answer: yes, because Karen and I have got Top Hat).

Friday 1703Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

Strictly is filmed in the George Lucas studios in Elstree — which is more a film set than a TV studio. We staged the BBC general election programme across the road in the sister complex; and you might also recognise this strange temporary hangar I photographed. Yes, right beside Strictly is the eviction area for Big Brother. When Strictly and Big Brother overlap, the competition to find the country’s liveliest postcode is cancelled.

Friday 1850Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

Only on Strictly do you get handed a schedule which says “1850 Tan.” So furious they never allowed this on Panorama.

Friday 2025Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

Photo of the day. The spray tan lady, Clara, is so overwhelmed with tanning requests that she has come to the hotel and set up in Karen & Kevin’s bedroom. When I walk in for my session, Kevin is already in the tent (that’s the silhouette of his face on the right) and on the bed we have the makings of a party: left-to-right are Kellie Bright, Joanne Clifton, Karen and Katie Derham. And, I do believe, some white wine!

Friday 2115Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

Dinner with friends! From the left: Joanne, Jay, DB*, Kevin, Kellie, Katie, me, Anthony. I had a prawn cocktail because I am getting retro in preparation for Movie Night. We all had a huge laugh at the dinner — Kellie told us some fascinating stories about what it’s like to film hours and hours of Eastenders every day (she learns her scripts during dancing breaks), and Jay described his surprise when The Wanted went to Number One in the States. We ended up finding John Sergeant’s Paso Doble on Kevin’s smartphone and all laughing about it so much.

*The Divine Being.

Friday 2150Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

I want to go to bed, but the top hat is in the way. To quote Elvis Costello from the album Get Happy: “I was looking at the black-and-white world, it seemed so exciting; if you’d only get me back-to-back with that girl, when the night’s inviting.” Looking at this majestic top hat under the single spotlight in the hotel ceiling, I feel that if I touch it I will suddenly be in the 1930s. Tender is the Night.

New day! Saturday 0941Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

Examining my ankle after breakfast — yesterday it was swollen because of the violent swerving leg & ankle movements demanded by the beastly Charleston. It looks and feels better now! The midnight ice-pack must have worked.

Saturday 1140Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

Rehearsal. And look at the boxing ring setting for Anthony, who’s being Rocky. Actually Anthony is better than Rocky in real life — not just a dancer, but a brain and a beautiful personality too. The empty chairs remind me that nothing prepares you for the moment the audience appear. Or, for that matter, Mr Revel-Horwood.

Saturday 1151IMG_8272

Breaking news on the top hat. The original one is “too high for the show,” producers have decided — because it makes me nearly seven feet tall. It also makes me look like an undertaker. So they swapped it for a slightly less monumental one. On the right is the top hat which was sitting on my bed last night. On the left is the new one, which, somewhat disconcerting, says ALJAZ in felt tip inside it.

Saturday 1225 Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

Possibly the busiest room in the building, the make-up area is a hive of flailing powder puffs and brushes in the minutes before our rehearsal. There’s Natalie. There (sitting on the left, almost hidden) is Kellie as Princess Leah. As she put it, “WHAT buns!!!” Strictly is all about transformation, and amidst the fun some things are profoundly serious. How much foundation? What about lip balm, to shiny up the lips a little? Those are very important questions in this part of town, I am discovering.

Saturday 1250Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

The water bottles have our names on — but Iwan’s isn’t there. The missing bottle is just a reminder that at the heart of this show is the jeopardy of elimination. You can have as much fun and joy as you like, but you can never take for granted that you will be back in seven days. Dancing well does help. So in every free moment, I sip my water and practise my dance. Charleston here we come.

Saturday 1458 Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

Make-up this week is a little on the wacky side. Everyone has to channel a movie character and for Kellie Bright’s Star Wars moment they have photos of Princess Leah on the mirror. And to the right — how embarrassed am I that I took a second to recognise Ginger Rogers herself? Not least because that’s who my dance partner Karen is playing. By the way, you can see Brendan Cole in the mirror. His dressing gown is not for the show. At least I think it’s not. I ask Anna, the hair stylist, to “make me Forrest Gump.”

Saturday 1530

Asking Anna for a Forrest Gump hairstyle turns out to be my worst idea so far. No sooner has she finished a meticulous reshaping of my hair than I am handed this red baseball cap which covers all her work. Still, I suppose I can channel Forrest Gump more fully if even parts of my body that are not visible are shaped like his (let’s not continue with this thought). Plus, Anton is gently pointing out that my jacket still has the price tag hanging from the second buttonhole — and it is most unlikely that Mr Gump would have bought a jacket in pounds sterling from John Lewis.

Saturday 1547 Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

My friends and family are waiting to come into the studio and I am getting excited because once again Strictly is showing it doesn’t just do big, it does BIG. Our “movie night” sequence has a huge orange curtain, spotlights, popcorn, and, strangely, a model horse (on the left, at the foot of the stairs). Cast of players: probably 30. With the horse, 31. Can’t wait for my guests to see us record this number.

Saturday 1604Jeremy Vine Strictly diary October 10th

This wasn’t supposed to happen. The bike that is carrying Kellie across the sky (think of the movie ET) has stalled and the back end just dropped precariously, so now Kel is hanging on with more than a little desperation. This is the most complicated dance number I can imagine. It’s brilliant. Once Kellie has been rescued we go for the take!

Saturday 1747

IMG_8308Ah, and a lovely photo from home. My daughter Martha has made biscuits to suit the occasion. Hopefully I will still be in the competition after of these are all gone, but you never know. Just in case I am eliminated in the next 24 hours I want to say thanks to you for reading this diary; thanks for your kind messages; and thanks especially to Karen, who is one of the most extraordinary, encouraging people I have ever had in my life. Lucky me. Now roll on the show…


Jeremy Vine official website


  • Anita says:

    I found this just fabulous. I’ve always wanted to know what goes on and the little details like the missing water bottle says so much! Thank you☺

  • Sarah Veitch says:

    Good luck Jeremy ~ I love your radio show and you’re doing really well so far on SCD enjoy your spray tan days and remember ‘it’s very rock & roll’
    Sarah x

  • Lee eckersall says:

    Loving jeremy on scd, i listen to him every day on r2, best of luck for the rest of the series. Keeeep dancing

  • Carol says:

    Really interesting! Great insight into what we already know is a punishing process (& which has to fit in alongside your day jobs)
    Thank you ☺️

  • Steve/KingTyDu says:

    Great show last night and ‘Wow!’ didn’t you and DB do well! ‘Congratulations!’ for your performance, cheers for the extremely interesting and well written blog and good luck for the result show – with that performance there’s no way you’re going home yet. Roll on noon tomorrow…..

  • Loved reading this in bed this morning. Strictly has become such huge part of our family life ( even a resistant teen daughter secretly loves it). To see and read the behind the scenes stuff was fascinating and reminds us of the hard work, planning and commitment that goes in to it. Oh, and some of the fun and normal stuff too, like eating dinner. Thanks for sharing it. Look forward to more.

  • Hello Jeremy have just found your Strictly Diary, being a fiend for all things ‘Strictly’ it is a brilliant find!! Thought you and Karen were Fab last evening, you made me comment,smile and clap at the end. Always a good sign that my brain has enjoyed what it has watched. Think you are doing brilliantly keep smiling and of course -Keep Dancing!
    Kind regards
    Julie Murray

  • Sue Galvin says:

    Just to say well done on the dancing and the blog, it is lovely to see behind the scenes. Keep enjoying yourself and it will always shine through.

    PS How good is Jay? Where does that come from?

  • Tracy says:

    Love your diary entries Jeremy, it’s great to get a sneaky peak into what goes on behind the scenes. You seem like a really tight group this year and it’s lovely to see. Well done last night , you danced great and your enjoyment of it shone through. You get my vote. Onwards you go.

  • Emma Wynter says:

    Jeremy, you have one of the best Pro Dancers, Karen Clifton, and I loved your top hat routine last night! Both of you were FABULOUS…..
    Standing out from a tanned & glittery crowd ; )
    Good Luck for next week

  • Kerry Howard says:

    Well done on a fantastic and enjoyable routine. I really enjoy your observations on the show, and your diary posts here. Strictly is a great opportunity for people to see a different side to the celebs.

  • Joan Thomas says:

    Have become the favourite couple of many viewers because you both show how much you are loving the dancing. Improving with every step! Hope I get a ticket to come and see you both! Your blog shows all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes love it!

  • Anne stewart says:

    Great performance last night- my husband said “Look! He’s up on his toes! ” it was joyous.
    lovely chatty blog too.

  • Samantha Wahanchuk says:

    Love your article, love all the extra bits that we wouldn’t get to ordinarily hear about. Love scd soooo much you are both doing marvellously your family must be very proud. Love your radio show JV too. It looks like your all having a ball – wish I could get tickets. Keeeeeeppppppp dancing

  • Sam Halling says:

    Deeply interesting! You’re clearly a natural-born journalist, Jeremy. Your writing is always fantastic, and I often find myself shaking my head in amazement at just how well-written it is!
    But the content is equally brilliant – an insight that us viewers simply wouldn’t have otherwise, so thanks so much. I particularly loved the way you describe Karen as the “divine being”. I was expecting ‘dance buddy’ 😛

    24 points for that Charleston though – very well done! I’ll be astounded if you haven’t gone through. Not least because I think you have the biggest fan base.

    All the best,

  • Tina Perrin says:

    Really interesting insight into what goes on behind the scenes.Love seeing the little details like the poignant water bottle. There’s so much preparation beside the actual dancing! Jeremy,you personify the reason we watch the show, the joy and struggle of learning to dance, we’re with you all the way,whether you get it strangely wrong or wonderfully, breathtakingly right!

  • Ben Manning says:

    Your radio show is my favourite to listen to and we love strictly in our house (my 5yr old has discovered it for the first time this year and he loves it).

    Delighted you’re on it and right behind you! Routine last night was brilliant, loved it. Great reading the diary too. Thanks so much and keep it up! All of it!!

  • Jo Bradley says:

    When you (the dancers) have fun, the viewers have fun watching! You’ve improved so much, too. I am doing a painting of you and Karen right NOW!

  • Carolyn tribble says:

    Loved your dance this week, fantastically joyful!
    Diary brill.

  • Mags Frost says:

    Thank you for showing ‘Backstage Strictly’ a great accompaniment to the show. I love watching you really enjoying your friends – the music and Karen. The Charleston was your best dance yet! Good luck for the rest of the competition

  • Kania says:

    Awww, Mr Jezza Vine:
    I am loving you on SCD. You have such a happy AND go lucky way about you.
    It’s brilliant that you’re sharing your experience with all your fans thru this page and your FB, Twitter pages, etc.
    You are such a smart man. I have loved your radio show for years!
    I even have your book.
    So, keep on dancing and I’ll keep on voting for you!

  • Susanne Young says:

    I am really enjoying your enthusiasm Jeremy.First the dancing, then this diary.It is good to be reminded of what lies beneath ; the swollen ankles, the make up quandaries, the late night dinners.Good luck!

  • Pam Desmond says:

    Just read your diary and you have bought to life the goings on behind SCD. A wonderful insight into a fabulous show. Good luck and “keep writing”.

  • Hollie says:

    We’re voting for you Jeremy! We love your ‘long long limbs’. Kindness, happiness and joy in your eyes! Keep being cool and hope to see you back next week! X

  • Karina says:

    Jeremy is my guilty secret love the diaries,move the radio show, LOVE the dancing , Charleston was a joy, and i hope brother Tim was proud, once again,I’m was crying with laughter ……

  • Alison Pearce says:

    What a great blog – you’ve told us about bits we never see so thanks! Fingers crossed for this evening Jeremy.

  • Andrea Dalziel says:

    What an amazing timeline! It looks like a fabulous show to be on, and your routine was fantastic.
    Good luck with the following weeks – may your water bottle be there til the final.

  • Adam says:

    Killed it again Jezza!
    Magnifico !!!!!

  • Sophie says:

    Love the radio show
    Loved the book
    Loving the dancing
    Love your aura of kindness
    Love the cycling

    Can you tell I’m a fan?

  • Jan says:

    Thank you so much for the blog and photos – what a treat, we can’t get enough of Strictly in this house. Hope you continue to enjoy every moment – you’re helping to make a lot of people very happy!

  • Lesley Blackburn says:

    A brilliant behind the scenes to Strictly. Go for it Jeremy Vine! Love your Radio Two show and it’s great seeing you dance so well.

  • Sue Harridon says:

    Fascinating reading! Well done Jeremy and very good luck! Xx

  • gill says:

    Great blog so many details brings it to life and what a great dance on Saturday superb Keeeeep Dancing Jezz x

  • Well. It’s nothing like Eggheads (which was all about the orange lips in my case but no spray tan). You’re doing terrifically Mr Astaire. Carry on!

    Sarah x

    Bray’s Cottage Pork Pies/ We Love Tripe Team

  • Emma P says:


    We are so enjoying you on Strictly. Your warmth and enthusiasm shines through-exactly what we want to see from the show. Best of luck & love the diary.

  • Lyn says:

    thanks for your blog, I loved your charleston and your enthusiasm, I have watched it again and again. Well done Mr Vine, I’m so pleased you are having such a great time with your Strictly friends in your lovely Strictly world . Keeeeep dancing

  • Sue Hope says:

    Thank you for these really interesting insights for fans of the show. We thought you were fab-u-lous on Saturday night, our family were cheering and clapping you.What a great partnership you have with Karen,we saw real improvement this week,long may it continue.

  • Anna says:

    Fab blog Jeremy – it’s so enlightening to see another side of the radio 2 you. What an enormous improvement on last week go you!!! We loved watching your charleston, the swollen ankle was definitely worth it. It’s so wonderful to see you enjoying the experience and having such a good time – we’re behind you all the way – keeeeeeepp dancing!

  • Gillian Sanderson says:

    Loved reading this.

  • Neil says:

    Well done with the Tango tonight it was recognisable and I could see the steps. Seriously some in our dance class are no better at it after years! Karen and Kevin great teachers, I still smile when thinking of the jive they taught us as a part of a group event in Windsor back in April this year (2015). Enjoy the “journey”.

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