Katie Derham on Strictly: Week 13

Seeing Katie in the final for Strictly was a bit of a treat. It will sound like I’m being a bit of a sap, but the truth is that it feels like I’ve got to know The Derham these past few weeks in a way I never do during the Proms or when she’s on the wireless. I know its been a tough ask and I’ve seen its demanded a lot of her. I’ve seen too those moments when the comments from the judges didn’t land so quite so comfortably.

It’s a measure of quite how much I’ve been rooting for her that when the judges scores been announced that I’ve felt for her a bit. Soppy, I know. Clearly she’s being paid to do the gig. But, like she told me when we met: you’ve got to put the effort in, because the audience will know when you haven’t. Strictly’s a tough gig. It has been so good to back her and Anton.

The judges liked Katie and Anton’s reprised quickstep (below), but weren’t quite so keen on their showdance. Their opinion, technically, didn’t matter. And they were – thankfully – kind on The Derham after what was a rather painful hat-related challenge in the opening sequence of their number. Katie recovered things after what felt like a really painful few seconds, reminding me that watching someone you’re rooting for can be as agonising as watching the UK at Eurovision.

Georgia, Kellie and Jay were good. Georgia in particular was, to my mind, on fire. Her and Giovanni’s Charleston was stunning. Kellie and Kevin’s showdance were especially gripping. But as a neighbour pointed out to me this afternoon, Katie’s achievement was the improvement she made during the series. The final three (Georgia, Kellie and Jay) displayed their talent very early on in the series. Katie worked at it and improved.

This was the first time I’d watched Strictly – primarily because Radio 3 and Proms mascot Katie featured. I really enjoyed it. I’m delighted the two things that I enjoy most from the BBC got plugs every Saturday night for just over three months. Will it lead to an increase in audience share for Radio 3 in the next set of RAJARs? Probably not. And that doesn’t matter. It was just rather lovely to have a place at the top table.

Katie Derham on Strictly: Wk 12

I wouldn’t describe this week’s Strictly as plain sailing for Team Derham. Far from it. Katie and Anton’s Charleston didn’t go down too well and their waltz didn’t elicit the unequivocal support I’d hoped for in the semi-final.

It was all looking just an incy-wincy bit tense ahead of the semi-final results show tonight. I had a fairly good idea it would be The Derham vs. The Rani; my life script prompted me to assume that it would be Katie who missed out.

The results show was – frankly – as tense a watch as waiting for BBC HR to get in contact with the result of my interview for the Radio 3 Interactive Editor job in 2011.* I made the assumption then that I wouldn’t get the job. Similarly, I made the assumption tonight that Katie wouldn’t get a place in the final. When she and Anita reprised their moves in the dance-off, my heart was pounding. I wanted to hope for the best, but my assumptions screamed far louder.

When it came to the final judgment, I was nibbling my nails. I find it incredible that an inconsequential light entertainment show could mean so much. It was a close call between the two, but I assumed it would be a straight run in favour of Anita. The final vote from Len was the decider. The Rani was out; The Derham, in.

Regardless of the result next week, my first time watching Strictly has been a hoot. It’s been fantastic to hear Radio 3 name-checked so many times (long, long overdue) and even better to have Katie as Team Radio 3’s Mascot. I’m so very pleased she’s got a place in the final.

Katie Derham. BBC Proms presenter. BBC Radio 3 presenter. Strictly finalist.

Boom, etc.

* I never got the job. The person who did told me so.

Katie Derham on Strictly: Wk 11

Katie’s secured her place in the Strictly semi-finals with a Cabaret inspired foxtrot. From what I could see, she looked like she was really enjoying herself too. Nice to see. The result pleased me no end. I told her so too.

There is only one other thing to say. I’ve read something really quite horrible online this week about Katie’s efforts. I’m not going to dignify it with a link or the click-throughs. Some of what I read came across as spiteful. It was also contrary to my experience and (albeit) limited knowledge. The lasting impression I had of The Derham when I met up with her a few weeks ago was that she was working hard and loving her time on the show.

To say I don’t understand why people derive such pleasure from being mean would be naive. Meanness is defensive act, usually masking an insecurity (unless of course you’re soulless, in which case you love being mean). No matter, however. That nasty stuff has an unexpected effect on me. I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with The Derham. I remain resolute. And I hope she does too.

Katie Derham and Anton du Beke in Week 8 of Strictly.

Katie Derham on Strictly: Wk 8

This blog is at risk of turning into a Katie Derham love-in, what with the weekly updates and the video interview I posted on Friday. No matter. There is cause to celebrate.

Katie and Anton turned in a cracking Rumba resulting in a very respectable 31 points from the judges. Katie was introduced as ‘BBC Proms and Radio 3 presenter’ at the top of the results show (hurrah, Team Radio 3 now getting an explicit mention) and the pair were also announced as ‘safe’ during the first batch of results.

I had feared that the seemingly negative comments from the judges over the past few weeks would mean Katie and Anton would end up in the dance-off against say Jamelia, hence me this week was crunch time for the duo. Not so. And although I really admired Jeremy Vine’s enthusiasm for the gig, I’m kind of relieved it was him in the fighting for a place. No real surprises he got knocked out, but quite how many more dance-offs Jamelia can withstand I’m not entirely clear.

Me and The Derham in Elstree in the Strictly Come Dancing Press Room

Meeting Katie Derham

Right at the beginning of Strictly Come Dancing I knew I wanted to speak to BBC Proms and Radio 3 presenter Katie Derham about her experiences in the series.

My motives weren’t entirely altruistic. I know Katie is popular, is at ease in an interview and would be game for testing out some interview production techniques. Why make your first interview a trial?

But there was an additional reason for speaking to her. Katie is at the intersection of the two worlds I occupy and have been known to get passionate about: TV entertainment and classical music.

What follows is an interview filmed on Friday 13 November at Elstree Film and TV Studios. The shot of me is filmed on my iPhone; Katie’s shot is filmed on a Nikon DSLR. The film was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Our conversation is left unedited – the cutaways of me are only there to help give a visual reference to my interruptions. There’s a naturalism to the finished product I quite like, something I’d like to do more of with other interviewees.

Just as with the School Report interviews I shot for the BBC a month ago, I’m really struck by how important it is to make the interviewee feel as though they can trust you. Once rapport is established, the boundaries are set. And when they’re established, it’s relatively straightforward to know how and when to push them. Why wouldn’t an interviewee want to say what they want to say. And why wouldn’t an interviewer want to give that person the space to say it?