Strictly judge Bruno: ‘Southern rail has better timing than you’

Southern train
Southern train

A contestant on Strictly Come Dancing saw her timing compared to the punctuality of Southern train services during the weekend’s semi-final show.

On their way to being eliminated singer Mollie King and dance partner AJ Pritchard performed the samba to Shakira’s ‘Whenever, Wherever’, but received a score of 24 out of a possible 40.

Craig Revel Horwood described how the ‘palm trees had more bounce in them’, while Darcey Bussell suggested Mollie was ‘chasing the music’.

But the harshest criticism came from Bruno Tonioli who said: “Well darling tonight I think you missed the flight to Brazil, that’s what happened.

“He was in Rio and you were still stuck at the airport.

“It’s all timing and Southern rail has better timing than you tonight.

“It’s a very rhythmical dance you have to be on that beat. You can never chase it and you can never be ahead of it.”

Reacting to the jibe on Twitter, one user called it the ‘insult of the series’, while another said it was ‘overly harsh’.

Another viewer added: “Even Bruno on Strictly is making Southern Rail jokes! Would be more funny if I didn’t have to actually use their trains though.”

The Southern account later tweeted: “I think Bruno should think about the guy behind the Twitter account before he hands out niche disses like that. Tweet volumes are going up.”

Passengers using Southern services, which are run by Govia Thameslink Railway, have suffered repeated delays and cancellations from late 2015 through to 2017.

This was due to a combination of Network Rail infrastructure problems, management issues, staffing shortages, and industrial action.

The rail operator has been locked in a dispute with the RMT union over the further extension of driver-only operation since April 2016, with staff holding a number of strikes since then over safety and access concerns.

Train drivers’ union ASLEF also joined the dispute, but has since agreed to a deal with GTR.

Performance has improved since this time last year, where just 61.8 per cent of services reached their destination within five minutes of the scheduled arrival time.

Seven months later this had reached 85.7 per cent, but since then performance has slipped, with just 71.9 per cent of Southern trains achieving the public performance measure between mid October and mid November.

Over the same period just 39.5 per cent of services arrived at their destination on time.