Julia Raeside: What a feeling! Robert Webb on his Flashdance triumph

Julia Raeside: With flashing eyes, he humped the air and jerked his hips like someone plugged into the mains. In a very small leotard

If you missed comedian Robert Webb winning BBC1's Let's Dance for Comic Relief on Saturday night, you missed the television treat of the year so far.

Competition was fierce as the cast of EastEnders, Jo Brand and double act Paddy McGuinness and Leigh Francis among others gave their own rendering of famous dance routines for charity. Confounding all expectations, Webb, the Bafta-winning Cambridge graduate best known for playing the laconic Jeremy in Peep Show and for his BBC2 sketch show That Mitchell & Webb Look, gave a vigorous rendition of the What A Feelin' sequence from the movie Flashdance. With flashing eyes, he humped the air and jerked his hips like someone plugged into the mains. In a very small leotard.

Yesterday, Webb was still panting from his triumph. "I just thought people would vote for their favourite people off the telly," he says. "Everyone expected EastEnders to win."

And in answer to the question that all who saw it have been asking, he is not a trained dancer. "This is quite annoying. I've never been trained to do anything. But I did have a teenage fascination with Michael Jackson. I spent clearly too long in front of the mirror playing at being him."

Webb was keen to get everything just right: "We rehearsed it, very hard, for four-and-a-half days." He was perhaps even more concerned that the costume and makeup should not detract from the dance: "I didn't want it to turn into some grotesque parody of womanhood. I was insistent there would be only modest breasts. And no gaudy lipstick."

Friends and family have been calling in their congratulations since the weekend and Webb says his father in particular is very proud. He is putting away his jazz shoes for now, but won't rule out a return to dancing one day. "If I'd lost, it would've been something that, for the rest of my life, would have very slightly annoyed me."


Julia Raeside

The GuardianTramp

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