“I have no idea why I didn’t want to do this sooner.” So said Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Channel 4 News anchor, after his debut cha-cha on Strictly Come Dancing last Saturday.

There he was, dressed in a tangerine suit, Boom Shak-A-Lak belting out, doing his best to keep up with pro-dancer Lauren Oakley.

Slayer of politicians, enemy of arrogance, C-bomb dropper (he apologised), an award-winning journalist who got his start on BBC Scotland’s Open to Question - was this strictly wise on Guru-Murthy’s part?

Co-host Tess Daly could scarcely believe it either. “This is a Channel 4 newsreader everybody,” she exclaimed, while judges Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas said they would never be able to regard him presenting the news in quite the same way again.

Anyone would think Lord Reith himself had donned a sparkly jumpsuit and cut a rug. Or Woodward had joined Bernstein for an Argentine tango. Guru-Murthy is not the only well-kent face who has wandered into reality television land lately. On Channel 4 last night, former Conservative health secretary Matt Hancock could be found in the Vietnamese jungle having seven bells knocked out of him in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins. And yes, he remains a serving MP on an 86k salary plus a jolly generous pension.

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Hancock already has form in this area, being a contestant on I’m a Celebrity last year. Indeed, so many in public life have crossed the border between solemnity and celebrity one wonders why anyone should care, but they do. Not so much about Hancock. His reputation went into the shredder long before he was caught on CCTV flouting his own Covid rules. But Guru-Murthy is somehow different, and I wonder why.

You could see it in some of the reactions on social media, albeit they were in the minority, and in the pre-publicity for the show. Guru-Murthy himself chose to address the stonking great elephant pirouetting around the room. Admitting to being “surprised, delighted and slightly confused” at finally saying yes to Strictly, he used an interview with the Observer to lay down a marker to any potential carpers.“I’ll carry on doing what I do. It would be funny if anyone dared take me less seriously going into an interview because I’m doing Strictly. Good luck with that. See how you get on, is what I’d say to them.”

Earlier in his BBC news career he had taken a sidestep into presenting the Lottery results on a Saturday night. This did not go down well with his boss, who told Guru-Murthy he would have to choose whether he wanted to be Bruce Forsyth or Jeremy Paxman.

Now here he is, dancing on the show the late Brucie helped to become a ratings smash. Never underestimate how seriously the BBC takes Strictly. At times this confection of rhinestones and feathers has kept the licence fee safe. As long as Strictly is on screen, no big bad advertisers are ever going to blow the house down.

In the two decades since Strictly first aired, numerous politicians have tried their luck, if not on the BBC show then I’m a Celebrity or other reality programmes. Ed Balls, Kezia Dugdale, Ann Widdecombe, Vince Cable, the list goes on. Balls managed to parlay an appearance on Strictly into a television presenting gig. There is an entire generation who don’t know that he was once a pretty unimpressive government minister.

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The list of broadcasters who have signed up to Strictly is slightly longer and includes Natasha Kaplinsky, Gabby Logan, Kaye Adams, Susannah Reid, and John Sergeant. Those who choose to still have thriving careers. Why should Guru-Murthy be an exception?

And let us not forget who started this crossover in the first place: Angela Rippon. When she quick-stepped with Morecambe and Wise to Let’s Face the Music and Dance in 1976, it made television history. Now she is high-kicking on the 2023 show.

Oddly enough I couldn't think of any mainly print or radio journalist who has been on Strictly or other reality shows. Anyone would think we did not have the looks for it. Maybe those who say no are right, that taking part in light-hearted television is not compatible with being a heavyweight interrogator. You can do Strictly or Channel 4 News, Brucie or Paxman, but not both.

That seems harsh. But then perhaps the line needs repainting. You could argue that not having a clear line opened the door to what we have now - politicians presenting their own television shows. Ofcom, the media regulator, is clear: “There is no Ofcom rule that prevents a serving politician or political candidate from hosting or appearing on a TV or radio show – provided they aren’t standing in an election taking place, or about to take place.”

But perhaps there should be such a rule. It could help restore the falling level of trust in news and increase interest. In 2017 an Oxford University Reuters Institute survey found 63% of people were very interested in news. That now stands at 43% in the UK. Some 36% of those polled said they had become “news avoiders”.

Imagine if some young Strictly viewer decided they liked the cut of Guru-Murthy’s jib enough to start watching Channel 4 News. Before you know it they are informed consumers of reliable news from trusted sources and want more of it. Sheesh, they might even become journalists themselves. And all that from a dance contest.

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Confession: I thought Guru-Murthy was a hoot and a half on Saturday. Of course there are times and places and professions where you need to take things seriously, but let’s keep a little perspective here. Music, dancing, sharing an experience with others - even if you are watching on your tod - are hugely beneficial to your health and mood. As Guru-Murthy put it after Saturday’s dance, “It’s like a massive serotonin injection.”

There is something else. Like many people at a certain stage in their lives, Guru-Murthy has found himself a member of the You Only Live Once Club, aka the Life’s Too Short Society, aka the You’re a Long Time Deid Association. You might have become a member too. You don’t need a reason to join, but there usually is one. Whatever, long may your lum reek and may your every cha-cha be a triumph, even if only in your own head.