Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Widi-Beke Factor

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I thought I'd mix my television shows today rather than my metaphors, and demonstrate how we can learn about life and our own actions even through television programmes.  The world can deliver many good lessons if you know where to look and are aware of what you're seeing.

I'm a great fan of Strictly Come Dancing with special mention of Anton du Beke and to be honest, with great respect to Ann Widdecombe, I was cross at what happened this year.

Year after year the judges go on about it being a "dance competition", as do many of the fans, and pillory those like myself who have two left feet and no sense of balance or direction.  The judges also regularly criticise the British public when they do what they have a right to do and vote for their favourites, and when the hated one goes we always hear a version of "at last, the British public have come to their senses."

Yet this year the BBC in all it's Widde-sdom decided to pair Anton with a lady who obviously finds walking a little difficult and who was considerably shorter than him.  If you look at other pairings you cannot help but notice that the height difference is far more favourable.

Anton took it like the gentleman he is and did the only thing he could do which was to employ his lovely sense of humour and gallantry.  Ann took it like the trooper she is and I honestly believe did her very best on all occasions.  For someone terrified of heights to agree to being flown in shows her dedication to the show and to entertaining the audience.  Clearly they became good friends and it has to go down as one of the most successful Strictly partnerships of all time.

However, I've also been following the commentary by fans on Facebook and I couldn't help but notice that the general commentary when Widde-Beke went out was similar to the judges - at last the Widde-Beke voters had come to their senses!  This after weeks of vitriol and insults levelled at these unknown and basically unsound of mind voters.  No one commenting asked why we might be voting for Ann and Anton, and yes I voted; they simply relied on insults and, as one person put it "potty mouths".

Here's why I voted.  It wasn't fair to Anton, there was no way that Ann was ever going to be a dancer.  As a middle aged viewer I enjoy seeing the slightly older dancers proving that age is no barrier to excellence, and I would be uncomfortable with Strictly if it didn't cover a wide range of age groups; I would lose relevance with the show.  I also felt that I had a right to vote for someone that the BBC had decided was worthy of appearing on the show.

For me this entire situation, which I believe is mirrored on the X Factor at the moment, shows us how much we judge others without ever asking them what their thinking was, even over things as relatively unimportant as a dance and a singing competition.

We judge, we condemn, we now do it publicly on social networking sites, yet we don't use that little three letter word that can bring so much love and respect with it - why.

For me, and I know for others, the Strictly vote was a deliberate decision made in sound mind to call the BBC out and show them that if they wanted to mess about with our Anton then his fans would mess about with their dance competition.  I feel that we had a right to do that without being insulted.

So the next time you find someone annoying you, instead of condemning them, speaking to everyone but them, and treating them to a demonstration of your brilliant but perhaps cruel sense of humour, why not just ask them why.  And if you don't like what they say, withdraw quietly leaving no damage behind you.

As a friend of mine has just said, she wonders if people see unimportant things as just that - unimportant - therefore their words and actions don't count.  However, that unimportant thing might be very important to someone else for a reason you don't know.  So just remember, what doesn't matter to you might matter very much to someone else.

Wishing you happy days and peaceful nights


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