The nation’s darling, astrologer Russell Grant, finally leaves BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. Actually that should read astrologer and entertainer, Russell Grant because he is as much the latter as the former. I have known Russell for many years, working together on the likes of ITV’s ‘This Morning’, and as far as I am concerned there is no mystery to his success on Strictly Come Dancing.
If you are hoping to make it as a TV presenter or personality, or if you are in the business of looking for talent for your TV shows, then take note of the fact that the public engage with a warm and genuine personality. Russell is no fake putting on witty banter to qualify as an entertainer; he is what you see. I can vouch for this having seen him on and off camera.
Finding good talent for the telly is not that easy. There are many very competent, good-looking people able to read links, conduct interviews and smile at the camera but the X-factor, in this case, comes from a REAL personality with an honest approach to the viewers and a human warmth that you can’t manufacture. Real warmth seeps through the camera.
Russell Grant, like many a TV presenter and expert, has come and gone on our screens. That is the nature of the game. You may be ‘hot’ one minute and forgotten the next. It takes a tough skin to accept that in the TV game. But Russell always seems to bounce back and has never been that far from a TV screen. He started his entertainment career as an actor and somehow ended up doing astrology on TV – and somehow became known as the camp and entertaining astrologer rather than the actor and entertainer he was (and still is!). Pigeonholing in TV works on screen as well as off!
Russell loves people – genuinely loves people. He is kind, caring, intuitive and fun. And why do we love him all over again on Strictly? Because he smiles, he is positive, he enjoys what he has and doesn’t ask for more. He was graciousness in defeat (though huge accolades are due him for remaining so long in the competition) – far more gracious than some of his far more famous competitors. Russell appreciates this latest chance to shine. And long may the buzz continue around him; long may he revel in the warmth and affection of his fans.
Russell – even if you disappear from our screens, remember that you are real, you are wonderful and you are a professional. And people will always love you whether you are filling the small screen or not.
A message to all TV talent – don’t lose sight of yourself when playing the fame game; don’t pretend to be what you are not – the viewers will know, even if subconsciously; don’t assume it will last forever – it won’t; don’t get bitter if you are not flavour of the month on the TV circuit – it happens and getting negative won’t draw people to you.
Do what you do best. If you can’t find a commissioning editor or producer to provide an opportunity – go find your own. Make sure you have a day job to create an income and use your spare time to develop your passion. There is a huge audience on the Internet willing to give people a chance. Find your niche, find your own audience, however small, and engage with them. Who knows where that could lead?
Russell’s Web site: http://www.russellgrant.com
And his Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/officialrussellgrant