Written by John_L
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Sunday, 30 September 2012

image for Emergency replacement on Strictly
A dancer not from the BBC

On Thursday after tripping over partner Johnny Ball's feet when he asked her to think of a number in the middle of a foxtrot Strictly Come Dancing professional Aliona Vilani fell and broke her ankle. With the first live show coming up fast the BBC have had to move into top gear to find a replacement.

Over the last couple of seasons there has been a precedent for replacement pros. With Ian Whate stepping in for Brendan Cole in 2010 and Cole himself stepping in for not one but two injured professionals. However so far there has never been a need for a female replacement and when Whate and Cole subbed they had already been eliminated once from the competition. Before the show starts there are no spare dancers.

One thought had been to bring out of retirement former Russ Abbot sidekick Bella Emburg who started her days as a ballroom professional. But due to the fact that Lisa Riley is in the show it was not possible. OFCOM regulations clearly state that only one biggie is allowed per show.

Another idea was for Johnny to be partnered by his daughter Zoe who presents Strictly's sister show 'It Takes Two' and did compete on the show in 2006. However looking at the tapes the producers remembered that she was "Bit Crap" and so scrapped that idea.

In the end the BBC were able to talk former professional dancer and old colleague of Ball's from 'Play school' Floella Benjamin. Now Baroness Benjamin, Floella will partner Johnny until Aliona is fit to return.

"I'm very excited to be back working with Johnny" Benjamin said at the press conference. "I haven't danced professionally for over 20 years but you would be surprised at how much late night latin goes on in the bars of the Houses of Parliament. So I'm really looking forward to the Salsa."

Strictly host Sir Bruce Forsyth went to remind viewers that Baroness Benjamin had helped train her fellow Lib Dem Vince Cable when he competed in the Strictly Christmas Special a couple of years ago.

'Strictly Come Dancing' will start on BBC Friday at 9pm, Ball and Benjamin will take a bow in the second show which is on BBC1 Saturday at 8:15pm.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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