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Television

Coming Up On Carte Blanche – 11 February 2018

M-Net & M-Net HD [101], Sunday 11 February 2018 at 19:00 & again on M-Net Plus 1 [901] at 20:00

 

 

The Zuma Years

For years, President Jacob Zuma has been dogged by allegations of deception, corruption, and nepotism. He insists he’s done nothing wrong and believes he still enjoys the support of all South Africans, but pressure is mounting on the ruling ANC to force Zuma to resign.   After a tumultuous ride and as the wheels continue to come off, Carte Blanche tracks a near decade under the Zuma Presidency.

Producer: Eugene Botha
Presenter: Macfarlane Moleli

The State Legal Wars

From the review of the Public Protector’s State of Capture report, to the Constitutional Court ruling that the National Assembly failed to hold president Jacob Zuma to account – state institutions often have to appear before some of the country’s highest courts.  At any given time, there are hundreds of ongoing cases against national, provincial and local departments – and in many cases the government keeps losing. Justified litigation, or a taxpayers’ burden?

Producer: Esté de Klerk and Marzanne van den Berg
Presenter:  Devi Sankaree Govender
Watch the trailer

CemAir Grounded

Last week local airline CemAir had several of its aircraft grounded due to questions around their airworthiness certificates. With flights suspended, frustrated passengers scurried to make alternative arrangements. In a statement CemAir said they were hopeful that they’d be taking to the skies soon, but insiders say that’s only the beginning of their problems. Carte Blanche investigates.

Producer: Graham Coetzer
Presenter: Devi Sankaree Govender
Watch the trailer

Thrown from a Moving Train

In April 2016 Darryn August was left paralysed after being violently flung from a moving train in an attempt to protect a pregnant woman from gangsters. This real-life superhero’s story of bravery has since inspired people across the nation and he’s received waves of support from fellow South Africans. But is there more to this story?

Producer: Liz Fish
Presenters: John Webb and Derek Watts

Line-ups are subject to change. Stories can be viewed at www.carteblanche.co.za.

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Twitter: @carteblanchetv #CarteBlanche
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Categories
Television

TCM Highlights – February To June 2018

Million Dollar Baby (2004) FEBRUARY

Directed by Clint Eastwood also acting, alongside Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman

Four-time Oscar winner, Hilary Swank plays Maggie, a determined woman who works with a hardened boxing trainer played, by Clint Eastwood, to become the best.

Sin City (2005) MARCH

Directed by Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino with Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and Clive Owen

Sin City explores the dark and miserable town of Basin City, and tells the story of three different people all caught up in violent corruption.

Blade Runner (1982) MARCH

Directed by Ridley Scott, with Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer and Sean Young

Harrison Ford plays a blade runner, who must pursue and try to terminate four replicants, who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator

The Blind Side (2009) APRIL

Directed by John Lee Hancock with Quintin Aaron, Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw

Oscar nominated for best picture and Oscar winner for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, The Bild Side is the true story of American Football player Michael Oher.

Basic (2003) MAY

Directed by John McTiernan with John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Connie Nielsen.

Agent Hardy, played by Travolta, is called in to investigate the disappearance of a legendary Army ranger and several of his cadets during a training exercise gone wrong.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) JUNE

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Ben-Hur 2016) and produced by Tim Burton, with actors Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper.

He is the 16th president of the United States of America, and when he discovers that vampires are trying to take over the country he does what he must do: he hunts.

Categories
Television

TCM – Powered By Movies Cements Its Place In The Hearts Of Africans

Since its rebranding as the “American blockbuster channel”, TCM – Powered by Movies (TCM) has been offering audiences in Africa up-to-date qualitative American blockbusters that trigger viewers’ emotions. The unique positioning, highlighting TCM’s heightened response to the needs of African audiences, has worked wonders for the channel across the African continent.

The nod of approval to the new line-up of Hollywood blockbusters like Rush Hour 3, Underworld, I Am Legend, Blood Diamond, Mad Max and 300 is evidenced by TCM’s meteoric rise of its viewership by more than 300%ⁱ since 2015.

Solidifying its place in the market, TCM also put its full backing behind a stronger local brand strategy that has seen more use of African talent for channel promos and continuity elements, effectively positioning TCM amongst the top 5 go-to movie channels in South Africa, according to AG Nielsen South Africa TAMsⁱⁱ.

Through its re-positioning in 2015, TCM has seen a growing number of young viewers, particularly black Africans, with a balanced gender representation. With its main audience ranging between the ages 15 – 49 years (which accounts for 56% of the total audience), TCM’s content also has a general appeal to a mass, mainstream audience that is blockbuster friendly. Carefully curated programming, offering the best of action, thrillers, drama, sci-fi, romance, comedy, and new this year, documentaries offering an incisive window into the lives and worlds of others, proves that quality entertainment is foremost.

Not only did TCM expand its distribution in 2016 when it became available on all DStv packages; but in 2017 it also secured a spot on Black – the new media and video on-demand streaming platform recently launched by mobile operator Cell C.

This year promises to pack a mean punch as TCM presents its 2018 line-up. Viewers will be spoilt for choice with carefully curated programming as titles such as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Blade Runner, I Am Legend, Life of PI, Million Dollar Baby, Rush Hour, V for Vendetta, Spawn & many more hit the screen.

To accompany its ratings success, TCM’s parent company, Turner International, recently appointed Mediamark as sales representative for its key TV channels in South Africa. This partnership will offer Mediamark clients access to advertising solutions on the high-quality blockbuster movie channel, TCM – Powered by Movies, and also to Turner’s iconic kids’ channels, Cartoon Network and Boomerang, reaching a mass-market audience of nearly 6 million South Africans every month.

Categories
Television

M-Net, M-Net Binge, M-Net City : Schedule Updates February 2018

M-Net Schedule Updates

New Information:

  • Kevin Can Wait season 2 will now start in March, as additional episodes of 9JKL season 1 have been added to the schedule. This means that that season one of 9JKL will have a total of 16 episodes.

Reminders:

  • From Sunday February 18, our Sunday Night Blockbusters will start at 20:30, to accommodate the live voting results of M-Net’s new local reality series Dancing with the Stars SA.
  • The World Cinema movie Los Globos has been replaced by the Danish crime thriller Darkland, on Sunday 25 February at 22:55.

M-Net City Schedule Updates

Reminders:

  • The sci-fi fantasy series Beyond season 2 will premiere on M-Net City, on Friday 23 February at 19:00. This means that Zoo season 3 will be removed from the schedule to start at a later date.
  • Aquarius season 2 ends Thursday 08 February at 23:00.

Saturday Movies

Saturday 10 February

21:00 Fallen 13VL Science Fiction

A dark young adult fantasy drama. After being sent to a mysterious reform school, a young girl finds herself drawn to a fellow student who may not be human.

Saturday 17 February

21:00 Free Fire 18VL Action

SA actor Sharlto Copley stars in this Martin Scorsese produced crime comedy caper, about a meeting between two gangs that escalates into a shootout and a game of survival.

Saturday 24 February

21:00 The Marine 5: Battleground 18 Action

In this action-packed thriller sequel, a former US Marine finds himself caught up in protecting a person of interest from a ruthless biker gang.

Sunday Night Blockbusters

(Note: From Sunday 18 February our Sunday Night Movies will start at 20:30)

Sunday 11 February

20:05 The Mummy 16V   Adventure

Tom Cruise messes with forces unknown in this reboot. While trying to steal artefacts in the Middle East, a soldier accidentally awakens an ancient, malevolent princess.

Read the SAMDB review of The Mummy.

Sunday 18 February

20:30 The Fate Of The Furious 13VL Action

Bonds are tested in this high-octane instalment of the Furious franchise. A mysterious woman seduces Dom into a world of terrorism, leading him to betray the family.

Read the SAMDB review of The Fate of the Furious.

Sunday 25 February

20:30 Rough Night 16VSL Comedy

An ensemble cast of starlets embark on quite a weekend away in this wild comedy. Things go terribly wrong for a bachelorette party of girlfriends who hire a male stripper.

World Cinema Movies

(Note: Additional repeat has been added. See it again on Tuesdays at 01:00)

Sunday 11 February

22:30 No Man’s Land

This Oscar-winning foreign war drama examines the 1993 conflict between Bosnia and Herzegovina, through the eyes of two soldiers on opposing sides, trapped in no man’s land.

Sunday 18 February

23:20 Here Is Harold

Insanity reigns in this dark Norwegian comedy. After a man’s successful furniture business goes bankrupt because of a conglomerate, he unwisely decides to seek revenge.

Sunday 25 February

22:55 Darkland

A gritty quest for justice ensues in this dark Danish crime thriller. After his brother dies in a gang-related assault, a man decides to take on the criminal underworld.

New, Returning & Series Finales

Tuesday 06 February

22:00 Shameless 08 0012 *Season 8 Ends*

The Emmy winning and Golden Globe nominated exploits of the Gallagher family return for an eighth season of dysfunction, mayhem and complete chaos.

23:10 The Last Ship 04 0010 “Endgame” *Season 4 Ends*

In the season finale of this fast-paced military drama Chandler confronts his enemy, and his personal demons, in a final showdown as the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. Set in a post-apocalyptic world.

Wednesday 07 February

19:00 APB 01 0012 “Ricochet”  *Season 1 Ends*

In the season finale, Gideon is blamed for recent terrorist attacks he and Capt. Conrad attempt to track down the real culprit. Crime drama from the producers of ‘Burn Notice’.

Friday 09 February

23:10 Trial And Error 01 0001 “Pilot” *Season 1 Starts*

In the series premiere of this ridiculous and outrageous comedy, local college poetry professor, Larry Henderson (Oscar-nominee John Lithgow) is accused of the bizarre murder of his wife. From the writer of ‘Friends’.

23:40 Mike Judge Presents: Tales From The Tour Bus 01 0001 *Season 1 Starts*

The raucous escapades of outlaw country singer Johnny Paycheck are explored in the series premiere of this animated comedy.

Sunday 11 February

16:00 9JKL 01 0014  “Fridays With Harry” *Additional episodes added to season 1*

After Harry starts working four days a week, Josh suggests he take an acting class on Fridays.  Fun family sitcom based loosely on the life of Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains).

Monday 12 February

21:00 Here, Now 01 0001 *Season 1 Starts*

The Oscar and Golden Globe-winning writer of ‘Six Feet Under’ penned this introspective family dramedy about a multi-racial family consisting of a couple, their three adopted children and one biological child.

23:00 12 Monkeys 03 0010 “Witness” *Season 3 Ends*

In the season finale of this fast-paced thriller, Cole, Railly, and Athan arrive in 1959 at the House of Cedar and Pine where Jones’s forces appear for a confrontation. Based on the acclaimed film.

Tuesday 13 February

19:00 Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders 02 0013 “The Ripper Of Riga” *Season 2 Ends*

The team travels to Russia when an American ballerina is kidnapped, and Jack tangles with an ex-KBG agent who escapes from prison. Spin-off of the popular Emmy-nominated crime drama.

20:00 The Brave 01 0013 *Season 1 Ends*

Emmy-nominee Anne Heche stars in this complex crime thriller following an elite undercover military unit who execute missions in some of the most dangerous parts of the world.

22:00 Ten Days In The Valley 01 0005 “Day 5: Back To Ones” *Series Returns from Break*

Bird fights to stay on Lake’s case, as Jane resolves to do anything to get her back – including changing the details of the finale. This gripping thriller follows the abduction of a young girl.

23:00 Chance 02 0001 “Multiaxial System” *Season 2 Starts*

In the season premiere of this compelling psychological thriller Detective Hynes blackmails Chance into using his skills to take down a suspected serial killer. Golden Globe-winner Hugh Laurie stars.

Wednesday 14 February

19:00 The Big Bang Theory 11 0001 “The Proposal Proposal” *Season 11 Starts*

In the eleventh season premiere of the acclaimed comedy, Amy gives Sheldon (Golden Globe winner Jim Parsons) an answer to his proposal, as Howard and Bernadette struggle with some unexpected news.

19:30 Young Sheldon 01 0001 “Pilot” *Season 1 Starts*

The series premiere of this family comedy opens with a 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper starting high school, where his high intelligence isn’t met with much enthusiasm. Based on the character from ‘The Big Bang Theory’.

21:00 Better Call Saul 03 0010 “Lantern” *Season 3 Ends*

In the season finale, Kim takes time off while Jimmy tries to make amends and Nacho gambles with his future. Critically acclaimed crime drama from the writer of ‘Breaking Bad’.

Saturday 17 February

16:30 The Goldbergs 05 0011 “The Goldberg Girls” *Season 5 goes on a broadcast break*

Based on the real-life travails of a young Adam F. Goldberg, this comedy series follows the family drama of a reluctantly close-knit clan.

20:00 Valor 01 0013 “Cost Of War” *Season 1 Ends*

The boundaries between military discipline and human desire are tested in this fast-paced army drama, following an elite unit of helicopter pilots.

Sunday 18 February

20:00 Dancing With The Stars SA Results Show

Catch live voting results of M-Net’s new reality competition series Dancing With The Stars SA.

Monday 19 February

23:00 American Horror Story 07 0001 “Election Night” *Season 7 Starts*

The seventh season of the critically acclaimed horror anthology premieres with election night 2016, where Donald Trump wins the Presidency of the United States. From Emmy-winner Ryan Murphy.

Tuesday 20 February

19:00 Chicago Fire 06 0001 “It Wasn’t Enough” *Season 6 Starts*

In the intense season premiere, Chief Boden makes a risky last minute decision to save the squad, who are trapped inside a burning building. Sixth season of the fast-paced crime drama.

20:00 Chicago PD 05 0001 “Reform” *Season 5 Starts*

In the season premiere of this fast-paced instalment to the ‘Chicago’ series, the team attempts to bust a gun deal that quickly turns dicey when innocent civilians get involved. From Emmy-winner Dick Wolf.

Wednesday 21 February

21:00 Homeland 07 0001 “Enemy Of The State” *Season 7 Starts*

Emmy-winner Claire Danes returns for another season of Golden Globe-winning espionage in this acclaimed thriller exploring contemporary themes of American politics.

Friday 23 February

22:00 Nightcap 01 0010 “Guest In A Snake” *Season 1 Ends*

Staci interviews for an Executive Producer position at Wendy Williams and seriously considers leaving Nightcap, in the season finale of this workplace comedy.

22:30 Graves 01 0010 “Not Giants, But Windmills” *Season 1 Ends*

In the season finale of this Golden Globe nominated comedy, Graves and Isaiah try to quell rumours about Margaret’s relationship with Jonathan Dalton, as she prepares to announce her candidacy.

Saturday 24 February

16:30 Speechless 02 0001 “W-E–Were B-A–Back!” *Season 2 Starts*

In the season premiere of this irreverent family comedy, Maya, Jimmy and Dylan resolve to change their lives while JJ enjoys summer camp. From the producer of ‘Friends’.

17:30 Great News 02 0013 *Season 3 Ends*

The Emmy-winning writer of ’30 Rock’ penned this smart workplace comedy. An ambitious news producer’s work life is turned upside down when her overly involved mother decides to intern at her show.

20:00 Riverdale 02 0001 “Chapter Fourteen: “A Kiss Before Dying” *Season 2 Starts*

The season premiere of the subversive teen drama opens with Fred’s life hanging in the balance, following the shooting at Pop’s diner. Loosely based on the popular comic book characters.

Sunday 25 February

22:15 Last Week Tonight With John Oliver 05 0001 *Season 5 Starts*

Late night satirist John Oliver delivers his unique take on the week’s news, politics and current events with characteristic, unwavering humour.

Monday 26 February

00:00 The Late Late Show With James Corden 04 0059 *Season 4 returns from production break*

Late night satirist John Oliver delivers his unique take on the week’s news, politics and current events with characteristic, unwavering humour.

Tuesday 27 February

21:00 Mosaic 01 0006 *Season 1 Ends*

Oscar-winner Steven Soderbergh produces and directs this innovative drama where the audience determines the plot.

Saturday 10 February

21:30 Famous In Love 01 0001 “Pilot” 16SL

22:15 Famous In Love 01 0002 “A Star Is Torn” 16L

23:01 Famous In Love 01 0003 “Not So Easy A” 16L

23:47 Famous In Love 01 0004 “Prelude To A Diss” 16

00:30 Famous In Love 01 0005 “Some Like It Not” 16S

Sunday 11 February

21:30 Famous In Love 01 0006 “Found In Translation” 16L

22:15 Famous In Love 01 0007 “Secrets & Pies” 16S

23:00 Famous In Love 01 0008 “Crazy Scripted Love” 16L

23:46 Famous In Love 01 0009 “Fifty Shades Of Red” 16S

00:33 Famous In Love 01 0010 “Leaving Los Angeles” 16SL

Saturday 17 February

21:30 Imposters 01 0001 #101 “My So-Called Wife” 16VSL

22:19 Imposters 01 0002 #102 “My Balls, Dickhead” 16VSL

23:06 Imposters 01 0003 #103 “We Wanted Every Lie” 16VSL

23:52 Imposters 01 0004 #104 “Cohen, Lenny Cohen” 16VSL

00:38 Imposters 01 0005 #105 “Is A Shark Good Or Bad?” 16VSL

Sunday 18 February

21:30 Imposters 01 0006 #106 “The Maddie Code” 16VL

22:16 Imposters 01 0007 #107 “Frog-Bikini-Eiffel Tower” 16SL

23:01 Imposters 01 0008 #108 “In The Game” 16VSL

23:47 Imposters 01 0009 #109 “Ladies And Gentlemen, The Doctor Is In” 16VSL

00:33 Imposters 01 0010 #110 “Always Forward, Never Back” 16L

Saturday 24 February

21:30 The Bold Type 01 0001 “Pilot” 16SL

22:19 The Bold Type 01 0002 “O Hell No” 16SL

23:05 The Bold Type 01 0003 “The Woman Behind The Clothes” 16SL

23:51 The Bold Type 01 0004 “If You Can’t Do It With Feeling”  16S

00:37 The Bold Type 01 0005 “No Feminism In The Champagne Room” 16

Sunday 25 February

21:30 The Bold Type 01 0006 “The Breast Issue” 16

22:16 The Bold Type 01 0007 “Three Girls In A Tub” 16S

23:02 The Bold Type 01 0008 “The End Of The Beginning” 16

23:48 The Bold Type 01 0009 “Before Tequila Sunrise” 16S

00:32 The Bold Type 01 0010 “Carry The Weight” 16

M-Net City Movies

Friday 09 February

21:00 Big Game  PG13VL   Action

Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) stars in this action adventure. After the president is betrayed a teenage boy becomes the president’s only hope.

Friday 16 February

21:00 Red 2 13V Action

Looking for a high-octane film filled with danger, romance and revenge? Then join an all-star cast playing a group of retired Black Ops CIA agents on a deadly mission.

Friday 23 February

21:00 Sicario 16VNL Action

The secret war on drugs takes centre stage in this action fueled crime drama. An FBI agent (Emily Blunt) works with a task team that crosses the moral line to fight the cartels.

New, Returning & Series Finales

Tuesday 06 February

21:00 The Blacklist 04 0022 “Mr. Kaplan: Conclusion” *Season 4 Ends*

Red (Golden Globe-nominee James Spader) enlists a powerful fixer to undermine the government’s case against the Task Force. Season finale of the critically acclaimed crime thriller.

Wednesday 07 February

22:10 Eyewitness 01 0010 “Mother’s Day” *Season 1 Ends*

Reeling from her discovery about the killer’s identity, Helen races to find Philip and Lukas when they go missing in the series finale. Crime thriller from the producer of ‘Shades of Blue’.

Thursday 08 February

21:00 Jury Speaks 01 0001 “O.J. Simpson” *Season 1 Starts*Aired on M-Net*

The jurors on the O.J. Simpson case recount their experience of America’s most controversial verdict. This insightful true crime series re-examines infamous criminal trials.

23:00 Aquarius 02 0013 “I Will” *Season 2 Ends*

In the series finale of this chilling crime thriller, Hodiak tracks down his target, with neither the responsibilities nor protections of a police officer. Based on the true story of an infamous serial killer.

Sunday 11 February

22:00 I’m Dying Up Here 01 0001 “Pilot” *Season 1 Starts as two back-to-back episodes*Aired on M-Net

Executive produced by Jim Carrey the series premiere of this dramedy opens in 1970s L.A., where a group of up-and-coming comedians struggle to make it big on the Sunset Strip.

23:00 I’m Dying Up Here 01 0002 “Midnight Special”

When Goldie taps Bill for an industry showcase at the club, he lands a coveted spot on ‘Midnight Special’. Set in the 70s, this dramedy explores the lives of a group of up-and-coming comedians in L.A.

Tuesday 13 February

21:00 Wanted 02 0001 “Lost In Translation” *Season 1 Starts*Aired on M-Net*

In the season two premiere of this crime drama, Lola and Chelsea go to extreme lengths to get to Bangkok to save Lola’s kidnapped son. Follows the story of two women on-the-run.

Wednesday 14 February

22:10 From Dusk Till Dawn 03 0001 “Head Games” *Season 3 Starts*Aired on M-Net*

In the season premiere of this supernatural drama, Seth and Richie’s organisation is infiltrated by a mysterious new enemy. Based on the Quentin Tarantino film of the same name.

Friday 16 February

19:00 Marvel’s Inhumans 01 0008 “…And Finally: Black Bolt” *Season 1 Ends*

In the season finale of the fantasy drama, brother fights brother as the final showdown between Black Bolt and Maximus takes an unexpected turn. From the studio that bought you ‘The Avengers’.

Monday 19 February

20:00 Major Crimes 06 0013 “By Any Means: Part 4” *Season 6 Ends*

Academy Award nominee Mary McDonnell stars as Capt. Raydor, head of the all-important LAPD Major Crimes Unit in this spin-off of The Closer.

22:00 Manhattan 02 “Jupiter” *Season 2 Ends*

In the series finale, a new era is ushered in with the first test of an atomic weapon. Based on the real-life project, this drama follows the mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb.

Friday 23 February

19:00 Beyond 02 0001 “Two Zero One” *Season 2 premieres on M-Net City*

In the season premiere of this fantasy drama, Holden throws himself into his new “normal” life, with his mission in the Realm seemingly behind him. Sci-fi following a young man with astrophysical abilities.

Monday 26 February

18:00 Hawaii Five-0 07 0025 “Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ‘Aina I Ka Pono” *Season 7 Ends*

Five-0 attempts their most dangerous mission yet: rescuing young girls trapped in a sex trafficking ring. Golden Globe-nominated drama.

19:00 Chicago Justice 01 0013 “Tycoon” *Season 1 Ends*

After a crane collapses and kills the son-in-law of wealthy real estate developer, Nagel, Antonio and Chief Boden discover that the collapse wasn’t an accident. A legal spin-off of the ‘Chicago’ series.

20:00 Criminal Minds 13 0001 “Wheels Up” *Season 13 Starts*Aired on M-Net*

In the season premiere of this acclaimed crime drama, Agent Matt Simmons joins the BAU team in a race to take down Mr Scratch. Follows an elite team of Special Agents.

21:00 Shades Of Blue 02 0013 “Broken Dolls” *Season 2 Ends*

In the dramatic season finale Wozniak (Golden Globe-nominee Ray Liotta) faces the ally who betrayed him and makes his most difficult choice yet. A web of corruption unfolds in this popular crime drama.

22:00  The Last Kingdom 02 0001 *Season 2 Starts*Aired on M-Net*

The second season premiere of this 9th century drama sees Uhtred the fearless and instinctive warrior, begin his voyage north to avenge Earl Ragnar’s death. Based on the best-selling novels.

Tuesday 27 February

18:00 NCIS: New Orleans 03 0001 “Aftershocks” *Season 3 Starts*

The NCIS team partners with several federal agencies to track a sniper, who targets crowded events in the city, in the season premiere of this acclaimed cop drama.

Categories
Television

Dancing With The Stars SA Launches With Electrifying Live Extravaganza

First 6 dancing pairs dazzle the judges!

M-Net’s brand new Sunday night reality competition show Dancing With The Stars SA kicked off with a dazzle of sequins tonight, Sunday 4 February live from the top of Hyde Park Corner in Johannesburg. The first six couples doing battle for the glittering trophy showed their skills off to esteemed judging panel Bryan Watson, Debbie Turner, Tebogo Kgobokoe, and Jason Gilkison.
First up to strut their stuff with the Cha-Cha was radio host and former Miss SA Liesl Laurie and three-time British Show Dance champion Ryan Hammond. Liesl was speechless after her number but the judges weren’t – Jason Gilkison advised her to transfer more of her energy to her feet. “But what a way to start the season!” he praised. “The Technique Terrorist” Tebogo Kgobokoe agreed that Liesl had great energy, “and I’d like you to match that with your technique,” she said. Bryan Watson joked that this had been by far the best Cha-Cha he’d seen on Dancing With The Stars SA 2018 yet, and Debbie Turner said Liesl looked great out there. “As your confidence builds week after week, you’re going to be stunning,” she said.
Bryan and Debbie scored Liesl 5 points each, Jason 6 points, and technique stickler Tebogo only 4, for a total of 20. An emotional Liesl said she would work on her footwork, as soon as she gets used to those dance heels! “I’m coming back stronger next week!” she vowed.

The next couple to compete, doing the Quickstep, was retired Bafana Bafana winger Delron Buckley and his partner, former professional ballerina Angelique Allison.

“From a footballer I expect fast, flighty, intricate footwork and impeccable timing, and I don’t think you delivered on that,” Tebogo said in her judgment, and she advised Delron to focus on his natural power and energy.  Bryan noted that there was a little but too much “gap” between the two dancers, “but I can see you have your eye on the ball,” he said. A smiling Debbie remarked that Delron was a very charismatic dancer, but advised him to work on posture. Jason remarked that he should really be Red Card-ing Delron because he saw quite a few moves that he’d never seen in a Quickstep before, “But I was entertained, somehow, which I loved!” he smiled. Like Debbie, he advised Delron to work on his framing.

Bryan scored Delron 4 points, Debbie scored a high 6, Jason 5 points, and Tebogo a skimpy 3, for a total of 18. “It’s something I can work on,” said a phlegmatic Delron.

South Africa’s beloved “Ouboet”, Frank Opperman, surprised the nation – and the judges – with his slick Tango skills with seven-time undefeated Amateur Latin American Champion Jeanné Swarts. “Ouboet, we are so pleased that you’re allowed to do a show like this!” Bryan joked. “I enjoyed that thoroughly,” he said. “There was a little bit more stomp than stealth, but great job.” Debbie noted that Frank had already won her heart with how invested he was in his every move. “I was not expecting that from you,” Jason admitted. “I’m really proud of you,” he told Frank. And even the Terrifying Tebogo admitted that she was surprised, but cautioned Frank to work on his agility.

Bryan scored Frank’s Tango 4 points, Debbie and Jason 6 each and even Tebogo a generous 4, for a total of 20.

“Jissie, dis ‘n 20 wat ek nog nooit gehad het nie!” Frank beamed.

Proving that speed and grace runs in the family, athletics coach Odessa Swarts – the mother of Olympian Wayde van Niekerk – was a picture of old-world elegance doing the Waltz with her partner, Latin American champion Dylon Daniels. The audience gave them a standing ovation. Jason pointed out how difficult the classic Waltz can be and he cautioned Odessa to use her legs just a little bit more. Tebogo said she found Odessa just a little timid – “Dance is liberating,” she said, “go for it!” Bryan complimented the choreography and he said Odessa handled it “with flair, finesse, and elegance,” while Debbie praised Odessa’s natural elegance and grace.

Bryan scored Odessa 6 points, Debbie and Jason 5 each and Tebogo 4, for another 20-point score.

Singer-songwriter Connell Cruise proved that he can move too, burning up the dancefloor with a fiery Cha-Cha with Latin champ Marcella Soliemo! Tebogo admitted that Connell’s lifts were impressive but they wouldn’t be anymore by Week 3, she cautioned, and she urged him to exercise a little more control. “You don’t have a confidence problem, clearly!” said Bryan. Debbie said it was a great first outing and cautioned Connell to work on his footwork, but Jason thought that Connell might be the one to watch in this competition.

Bryan’s score of 6 points, Debbie and Jason’s 7 each and Tebogo’s personal high of the evening of 5 points put Connell and Marcella in an early lead with 25 points. An excited Connell admitted that he was particularly pleased to get a high score from the formidable Tebogo.

Actress Zola Nombona and her partner, Dance SuperSeries winner Tebogo Mashilo, brought a spectacular evening of dance to a rip-roaring close with an energetic Jive. “Ayeye!” Bryan Watson exclaimed. “I think you locked down that jive!” “I loved your sass,” Debbie agreed, and Jason agreed that Zola had raised the bar in this competition. “You shouldn’t be able to do that in Week 1!” he marveled. Even Tebogo admitted that Zola “lit the floor”, but cautioned her to focus also on “neatness”.

Bryan and Debbie scored Zola an unprecedented 7 points and Jason went even higher with 8, and even Tebogo gave her highest score of the night, 5, bringing Zola’s total to a remarkable 27. Up in the tower with host Tracey Lange, a speechless Zola was reduced to tears.

Viewers were treated to a live performance by South African legend Zolani Mahola while the judges tallied up their scores one last time and at the end of the first episode of Dancing with the Stars SA, Zola Nombona was at the top of the leaderboard with her 27 points. Connell Cruise was in second place with 25 points and Liesl Laurie, Frank Opperman, and Odessa Swarts were in a third-place tie with 20 points each. That left soccer star Delron Buckley bringing up the rear in last place with his 18 points.

No-one was sent home tonight, but the judges’ scores for these first six couples will be carried through to the third episode on 18 February, when these scores will be combined with the viewers’ votes to determine which two couples with the lowest scores will have to dance again for their survival in the dreaded Dance-Off!

To vote for their favourite dancers, viewers have to pre-register at least thirty minutes before the start of the live show at mnet.tv/dwtssavote, and voting will be open from the start of the show from 17:00 to 19:15. And then, for the first time ever, M-Net will announce the results of each episode on the same night, in a special Dancing with the Stars SA Live Results show at 20:00 every Sunday after Carte Blanche.

But first, coming up next week, the judges will get their first look at the next six couples taking part in the competition, in Dancing with the Stars SA episode 2 on Sunday, 11 February, at 17:00 only on M-Net channel 101.

Dancing with the Stars SA is produced for M-Net by Rapid Blue and is sponsored by Lottostar. Join the conversation on the Dancing with the Stars SA Facebook page, or on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #DWTSSA.

For more information about M-Net’s impressive new local slate, visit www.mnet.tv