The Real Dirty Dancing: A cross section of fame in 2022 | Television

RBefore, reality TV was so simple. Put a few attention-seeking people in a house, film everything they do, and hope they start bickering over tea bags. It was television gold and its evolution was rapid. Eventually, reality TV has become a monster, sucking up formats at high speed, undermining the attention-seeking prowess of already famous people — because there’s little chance they won’t happen. That’s why Anthea Turner is in a kind of competition with Blue’s Lee Ryan trying to complete entirely made-up “challenges” from a 1987 movie that presented no challenges, as far as I remember. Welcome to The Real Dirty Dancing (Monday, 9 p.m., E4).

In recent years we have seen celebrities attempt to row boats around the British Isles, celebrities hang out with other celebrities and also non-celebrities, and on prime time Saturday nights celebrities dress up as creatures cartoons to sing a tune using a disguised voice until Davina McCall yells, “Take it off!” Remove!” on them. Has anyone else wondered if celebrities might need our protection? Is it time to step in, call for a moratorium on leaving celebrities sign up for anything that suggests it might require a hint of waiver?

The Real Dirty Dancing falls into a celebrity reality subgenre that borrows a famous movie and builds a competitive element around it. The Real Full Monty made a film about a fictional group of laid-off Sheffield steelworkers who turned to stripping to pay the bills and used it to get a bunch of celebrities to strip for charity. The Real Marigold Hotel borrowed an idea from the whimsical travel movie and sent older celebrities to India to see if they could retire there. Unfortunately, The Real Quiet Place has yet to be picked up, although I suspect it’s only a matter of time.

Keith Lemon and Ashley Roberts. Photo: Pete Dadds/Channel 4 undefined

Keith Lemon and Ashley Roberts host this latest creation, which seems like a cross between a pageant, a summer camp and a dance competition. The Famous People Pick Pack is a perfect sample of fame as it stands in 2022. There’s Turner, the oldest of the contestants, and by default the most famous, alongside Saffron Barker, who is apparently a YouTuber, and then a sprinkling of folks from Hollyoaks and Geordie Shore and a few other TV shows. Bobby Seagull from University Challenge is there, as is Arg from Towie, who is thrilled to hit the dance floor after his gastric band surgery, and then there’s Ryan, a man who single-handedly keeps the fedora on. life. Lacking much of the storytelling, in addition to getting to the obvious point of the Big Lift, they have to recreate less memorable scenes from the movie. It’s basically secret cinema with Keith Lemon yelling at you and, I imagine, smaller queues.

Not all of these “challenges” – and I say this vaguely – involve dancing; one is just giving a waiter water and trying to do an American accent. I found the concept hard to follow, but I think the top two men and two women are chosen to play Baby and Johnny in the finals, and then those two couples can try the lift. As prizes go, RuPeter’s Drag Race badges look generous, but no one really cares who’s good or bad, only how horribly awkward it can get when famous people are invited to banging and grinding when they’ve only just met.

The star, so far, is Hollyoaks’ Chelsee Healey, who points to the fact that it’s all a joyous stretch. “We got hit with these big melons,” she explains, as they carry watermelons through a club, because that’s what Baby does in the movie. Healey came in second on Strictly, and the specter of that show looms large. The celebrity reality machine is such a tangled mess that some people here, like Healey, have done it before, while others clearly would love to, which makes it feel like both a plot workout and rest home for the glitter-toed TV big daddy. It’s not Strictly, but it doesn’t try to be. It’s a lighthearted, silly, surreal idea, stretched on the reality TV setting, and it should hold, pretty much, until they’ve had the time of their lives.

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