The Ore Oduba black story: from the slums of Canford to Strictly Come Dancing blondes
Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba is flanked by two blondes on the Mail’s cover. To his right is wife Portia. To his left is dance partner Joanne Clifton. “Strictly champ: I’ve neglected my wife,” declares the headline. Readers begin to wonder if the show was a mating ritual. Is sexual intrigue in the air?
Over pages 12 and 13 we get more. “Now I’ve got time for my wife!” thunders the headline.
“Oduba and his wife Portia – he’s identified by surname; she, who never competed but remained blonde throughout the pro-celebrity dance show, we meet on first-name terms – “have been married for less than a year”. The paper quickly picks up on the moment of Ore’s triumph, when he “looked straight into dance partner Joanne Clifton’s eyes and said, ‘I love you with all my heart’ as he held up the glitterball trophy.”
This was, says Laura Lambert. just another example of the 30-year-old BBC sports presenter’s “emotional side”. No kidding. But “once the cameras stopped rolling he was virtually inseparable from his wife.” But, boy, how he tried to shake her. No, only joking.
As for that suggestive front-page headline. when asked what he’d be up to over Christmas, Ora replied, “I’ve neglected my family. Same for Jo, we’ve been working so hard.”
In the Mirror, Ore reveals his “extraordinary journey”. We learn that Portia, a TV researcher, is based in Manchester, keeping her away from Ore as he trained for the show in London. They met at University. They were married in a “lavish” bash in Kent. Very soon they hope to start a family. Ore’s dad is a leading lawyer in Nigeria. Ore went to the very expensive Dumpton school in Dorset, a prep school for the even more pricey Canford public school. And that’s it. The extraordinary story is anything but. Public school boys meets Portia from Tunbridge Wells and gets a job at the BBC.
There will be movies.
Unless it’s all remarkable because Ore is black? Is that the key part of Ore’s “incredible life story” the Mirror trails on its cover? The Sun says it might be. A “source” says “because he’s a black presenter, the BBC has another incentive to given him more prominence within the channel.”
One minute you’re presenting daytime insurance programme Claimed and Shamed, the next you’re a symbol, an inspiration for the ‘black community’ and an ambulatory swivel-hipped message. It’s less a back story than it is a black story. And it’s pathetic.
If Ore is on a “journey” he might want to check if he’s allowed to sit at the front of the bus.