The BBC has scrapped plans for contestants in this evening’s round of Strictly Come Dancing to perform a native Fijian tribal dance as part of an innovative format change, following criticism received over the programme’s ‘race row’.
In a week which has seen both Anton Du Beke and Bruce Forsyth apologise for ‘offensive’ comments made with regard to alleged racism, the BBC took the decision to shelve the Fijian dance at the 11th hour, stating that some people might have felt it was “insensitive.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “We’ve been looking to get away from the same tired old format for a while now – our research shows that people are bored with the same old ballroom dancing every week, so we thought that this week, we’d spice things up and try something different. Unfortunately, our timing was really, really bad.”
Veteran broadcaster Bruce Forsyth, one of the figures at the centre of this week’s controversy, explained how the dance would have been presented: “Personally, I think it’s a tremendous shame that it’s been cancelled. We were going to dress everyone up in grass skirts, put bones through their noses, give them spears and rub coal into their faces until, well…you know. What? There’s nothing wrong with that. We used to do it all the time when I was a lad. Marvellous.”
BBC executives are still said to be making a final decision on what exactly will replace the Fijian dance on tonight’s show, although contestants are being told to keep on their toes in anticipation of a surprise.
“I hope it’s something to do with boxing,” said Joe Calzaghe, last night. “I like boxing.”
Simon Cowell, meanwhile, is said to be furious that an entire week of intelligence-sapping reality TV-related headlines have been generated without his name being mentioned once.
“I think this whole episode is a disgrace,” said Cowell last night, speaking from his underground lair, “when are people going to realise that I am the most important thing in the world and that everything else in the world is just useless and irrelevant? Me me me me me me.”
To this end, Cowell has promised to turn up at next week’s edition of The X-Factor dressed as Alf Garnett, with the aim of being as offensive as possible to as many minorities as he can in the hope of garnering more publicity for himself and his show.