STAVELEY: Strictly Come Dancing - WI style

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Call Simon Cowell a dummy and you’re likely to be extracted from the building.

Try to grab Prince Harry and a burly bodyguard will step in.

Congratulations if you can hold Cliff Richard in a warm embrace.

And which red-blooded female wouldn’t like to dance from dusk to dawn with George Clooney?

These impossible dreams came true for Women’s Institute members in a send-up of one of the most popular telly shows on the planet.

Strictly Come Dancing WI-style came to Staveley, complete with celebrity partners, feuding adjudicators and more glitter than Santa’s grotto.

Cries of “hands like spatulas” and “lift and separate” rang out from the judges as performers bent it like Beckham with Posh Spice’s other half or flew around the dance floor with Saturday Night Fever king, John Travolta.

Many formed such a strong attachment with their famous companions that they seemed reluctant to let go. Others literally swept theirs off their feet, not hard when the other half was pint-sized Tom Cruise or a rather deflated Brad Pitt.

Anne Spindler, the newest member of Amber Valley (Ashover WI), enjoyed waltzing around with the third in line to the throne. She said: “I taught Prince Harry one or two tricks he didn’t know. His new girlfriend will be walking around with a big smile.”

So the A-listers weren’t physically taking a twirl on the dance floor...they were mere figments of a vivid imagination, sharp-suited mannequins in celebrity masks clinging to their partners by ties around their waists. Some fared better than others; George had one leg longer than the other, Cliff had a wobbly head and Tom looked like he was nodding off.

The real stars of the show were the intrepid performers from 11 branches of the WI, vying to be the best institute, best dancer and most glamorous team.

First they had to show off their fancy footwork in a waltz, foxtrot and quickstep. Then they ran the gauntlet of put-downs and big-ups from the judges. Acerbic and supportive adjudicators were Jaqui Toniolli (claiming to be second cousin of Bruno), Diane Goodman (allegedly Len’s daughter), Anne Bussell, who was out of training from her ballet days but had still got the bustle and Jenny Revell Horwood, who was expecting a high standard from the professionals).

Joyce Brown did her best Brucie impression - minus the jokes - for the first half and morphed into Tess Daly for the latter part as the contestants kept the scorer hard at work.

A six-strong dance-off saw Barlborough and Clowne WI score the double - best institute as well as best dancer award for Heather Wheeldon, 39, from Clowne who had previous experience of ballroom and Latin dancing.

The award for best insitute was accepted by branch vice-president Liz Mangle whose lively choreography was a showstopper as she burned up the dance floor in hot pants and glittery coat. Liz, 62, of Clowne said: “We have all done very well. I am sorry if I have let you down with some of my dancing.”

In the face of stiff competition from the gorgeous Twenties-style gowns worn by members of Amber Valley (Ashover WI), it was the well-dressed women from Killamarsh WI who waltzed off with the title of most glamorous.