Danny John-Jules is well known to science-fiction fans in his role as The Cat in Red Dwarf, which has aired its twelfth series last year with a thirteenth planned for 2018. But he was also a lead in Death Of Paradise on BBC, best known to my kids for his role in the MI High series on CBBC – and to me, he’ll always be Barrington from Maid Marion And Her Merry Men.
But he also began his career as a professional dancer, one of the reasons he was cast as The Cat, and was in the original cast of Starlight Express in the West End. Which meant that, even in his late fifties, his inclusion as one of the celebrities taught to dance in the longrunning Strictly Come Dancing show on the BBC (remade as Dancing With The Stars in the USA) caused much confusion at the time.
Last night though, the knives were out as the Sun newspaper, followed up by the Daily Mail, reported that John-Jules has been given a final warning by the show for bullying his dance partner Amy Dowden, reporting he had left her in tears during training, shouting “I’m the star, not you.” Citing unnamed sources saying “Danny swears and shouts at Amy a lot. She’s in bits” with her telling Strictly producers that she didn’t know if she could continue with the show and stating “Amy is so patient and sweet. It’s her dream being on the show. Quite frankly, everyone on Strictly wants Danny to go.”
Reading between the lines, this looked to me like planned released info to the tabloids by producers wanting to turn the narrative of the show and possibly persuade viewers how they might vote in upcoming episodes. True or not, every experience I’ve had or heard about John-Jules doesn’t fit this description. Dwarf co-stars Craig Charles and Chris Barrie, I have heard fractious on-set issues regarding, but John-Jules has always been described in terms of sweetness and light.
Half an hour ago, Danny John-Jules came out fighting on social media, tweeting,
My conscience has never been clearer. I take great pride being hunted down by Khaki Wearing, Doberman holding,Tobacco chewing, Cross eyed, Cousin producing, Banjo playing, Chair rocking, Night riding, Sheet wearing, Pointy hatted, illiterate, hacks who’s truth is driven by hate
— Danny John-Jules (@DannyJohnJules) November 9, 2018
And retweeting many supportive comments, many of them aimed against The Sun and Daily Mail newspapers.
Ignore the press they don’t have seann and Katya to stalk now so they have picked up just ignore them your real fans will know it bull keep doing you and most of all keep dancing
— Natalie Trotter (@natsere123) November 9, 2018
What a lot of tripe from the Sun.
In this day and age if there was even an allegation of bullying it wouldn’t be a warning it would be straight expulsion. And I’d bet the shirt off my back that the strictly contract spells that out in very big letters.
— Paul O’Kelly (@SparksF1) November 9, 2018
I literally just came on here to tweet you after reading the article on the Daily Fail website. I’ve mates who have met you in the past and everybody says what a great guy you are. You still got my vote #strictly2018 #teamdamy
— Leigh Anne Noble (@Durangirl28) November 9, 2018
Saw this “story” on the front of two allegedly newspapers this morning. My first though was it’s all bullshit. Danny those with a iq above 20 know this is bollocks. It’s just a slow news day.
— Chris Field (@thatguyuk) November 9, 2018
It saddens me that so many people believe everything they read without even knowing if it comes from a reliable source. Tabloids make drama anyway they can and so many people fall for it. Can’t wait to see you and Amy dance on Saturday
— Hayley Davies (@hld1986) November 9, 2018
— Liz Mitchell (@saxylizbeth) November 9, 2018
Looks like this may run and run. Has The Cat something new to play with? And an army of fans