Last week we saw quite a few of our regulars back including, Ray Brooks, Caroline Quentin and Lewis McLeod. A1 VOX newbies came in the form of Holly Willoughby and Victoria Coren.
At the age of 14, Holly was spotted by talent scouts at The Clothes Show Live exhibition. Storm Model Agency snapped her up and signed her on the spot. She appeared in teen magazines for girls and from 1998, at the age of 17, she started modeling underwear for various clients including Pretty Polly. Gosh, I was barely allowed out in skirts above the knee at that age! She’s a game girl that Holly.
In 2000, Holly won an audition for a show on CITV featuring S Club 7 called S Club TV. After these shows, she worked as a receptionist for a while and then as a runner for the now defunct shopping channel Auction World TV. I started my career as a runner, does that mean there’s hope for me yet!? Move over Holly...Hello Phil....there’s a new Sheila in town!
Having persuaded a friend to record a show reel for her, she secured an agent and presented several children’s shows for the BBC including their flagship entertainment show Ministry of Mayhem which was aired on Saturday mornings. It was on this program that she met her future husband Dan Baldwin.
In 2006, the shows title was changed to Holly and Stephens Saturday Showdown in order to reflect the popularity of its co-presenters. During the final episode of the show Holly accidentally revealed one of her breasts during a particularly energetic routine. OO ER MISSUS!
CITV received a small number of complaints, though the wider audience merely wrote the occurrence off as unfortunate. Ah – the old Janet Jackson publicity stunt – always a profile raiser and not the last time Holly's..erm..assets..would overshadow proceedings!
Holly presented CD:UK for a short while but her major breakthrough came as a mainstream family entertainer came when she was chosen to co-present the flagship ITV talent show Dancing on Ice, alongside Phillip Schofield.
She has presented a number of other ITV programmes, especially spin-off show such as The Extra Factor. She has also presented shows exploring celebrity gossip such as Lip Service and the comedy show Celebrity Juice with bessie mate Fearne Cotton, Keith Lemon and Rufus Hound. We have now had all four Celebrity Juice presenters at A1. Top Trumps!
Holly has co-presented ITV’s morning show This Morning with Phillip Schofield since September 2009 after she took over the role from Fern Britton. At only 29 this lady has secured a top spot on day time TV, already had a baby, another is on the way, and she's won a BAFTA! WONDER WOMAN WILLOUGHBY is what I say!
A little know fact is that this golden haired beauty, who reads live from an autocue daily, is in fact dyslexic – just goes to show where pure grit and determination can get you folks.
Holly was a joy to have in the studio. No airs and graces, and after her session there wasn’t a car waiting for this lady...oh no....the pregnant presenter leapt on the back of a taxi courier motorbike instead – Atta Girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So Saturday night saw the Strictly final and what a dance extravaganza it was.
After taking the crown, Strictly Come Dancing 2010 winners Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev appeared to confirm the romance their fans have been hoping for.
While celebrating their win on Saturday night, the excitement appeared to get the better of Artem, who dropped his guard and planted a kiss on his 27 year old partner.
The pair have hinted at their affection for each other, but have remained coy on whether they are an item throughout the series.
Kara said that now that the competition is over, they can concentrate on the future.
'We get on brilliantly and it will be nice to do normal things like go to the cinema or for a meal because we spend all our time in the studio.'
Kara was forced to dance through the pain to victory, but after the show she was whisked to hospital where it was revealed she had torn ligaments in her lower arm.
Kara and Artem wowed the judges with four incredible performances, including the American Smooth and their energetic show dance.
Despite falling at the final hurdle, finalist Matt Baker said he was thrilled with the result, saying: 'It's been great. I have absolutely thoroughly enjoyed tonight, and Kara and Artem are worthy winners. If I was at home, I would be voting for Kara as well.'
Lighting up the dancefloor: Matt and Aliona opened the show with their sexy Samba to Young Hearts Run Free.
But why is all this relevant for an A1 Blog I hear you cry!?
Well before Strictly, there was.... Come Dancing..., a BBC TV ballroom dancing competition show that ran on and off from 1949 to 1998, becoming one of television's longest-running shows. One of its many presenters was our very own Mr Charles Nove.
This picture is from Charles’ archives on the set of Come Dancing back in 1992 with Rosemarie Ford and musical director Andy Ross. Our Mr Nove certainly has had fingers, and sequins, in many a showbiz pie!
Next up to VOX Towers was Victoria Coren who currently writes weekly columns for The Guardian and The Observer, presents the BBC4 quiz show Only Connect and the Radio 4 comedy series Heresy, as well as playing poker as a member of PokerStars Team Pro UK. WOW, what a mixed bag.
Aged 14, and inspired by lonely Jo March from Little Women, Victoria submitted a short story to Just Seventeen magazine under an assumed name. The story was accepted and published, earning her the princely sum of £90. Hooked on trade immediately, Victoria answered a nationwide appeal from the Daily Telegraph for a teenage columnist got the job and wrote for them weekly for four years.
Victoria adapted the newspaper columns of John Diamond into a play A Lump In My Throat, which was performed at The Grace Theatre and The New End Theatre in London and The Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, before Victoria re-adapted it into a TV play for BBC2 starring Neil Pearson.
As a broadcaster, she has presented Fourth Column and Off The Page for Radio 4 and two series of Balderdash And Piffle for BBC2, as well as documentaries on language and surrealist art for BBC 4.
As a poker and gambling specialist, she has presented Late Night Poker and The Poker Nations Cup for Channel 4, a series of World Poker Tour for ITV2 and the chat show Bar Beat for the Poker Channel.
She has also appeared as a guest on Question Time, Have I Got News For You, You Have Been Watching, The Bubble, Loose Ends, Midweek, Woman’s Hour and various other short-term experiments.
One such experiment took place in 2002, when Victoria disappeared into the X-rated film industry with her best friend Charlie Skelton and they wrote a book about it, Once More With Feeling – Hot Stuff.
For the third experiment, and the one that really stood out for me, Victoria revealed that she had instigated a hoax in order to trap a group who turned up to memorial services for people they had never actually met!
She created the fictitious and recently deceased Sir William Ormerod, and placed an advertisement in the main British newspapers for his memorial service "followed by a drinks reception". Coren reported that the group duly applied for tickets claiming to have known the late Sir William. OOOOOO -naughty Victoria.
Gambling, porn and deceit!!!!!!!! This girl has dipped her toe in every sin known to man, but from mightily clever angles.
When asked if she has ever NOT said something that she wished she HAD said Victoria replied:
“No, although they once cut something which I thought was a shame. Mike Tindall the rugby player was in one of the celebrity games – he’s a good tournament player, absolutely fearless and with a decent sense of situation – and he’s also a really nice guy. I was telling my co-commentator (Mark Gregorich) that Mike is the boyfriend of Zara Phillips, and I mentioned that Zara sometimes has a big stud in her mouth. They said they couldn’t possibly broadcast that on ITV. I couldn't see why not. I was simply referring to her fashionable tongue piercing”.
Well there you go – honest, direct and to the point, this is one girl who I will never play mind games against for money! Sharp Cookie doesn't even come close!
LONDON AT CHRISTMAS
TRAFALGAR SQUARE TREE