STRICTLY SECRETS AND THE families that view together

I’m frequently afflicted with basket envy when I’m shopping.

The woman in front of me in the supermarket queue seemed to have a basket groaning with the most delicious looking items that I didn’t even know the store stocked. She caught me ogling her Walnut Whips.

‘‘Getting ready for Strictly,’’ she said nodding her head towards her shopping basket: ‘‘Saturday’s the big night in our house. We like to have something nice to eat, a few treats for the kids and a wee glass of wine for me and himself.’’

Evidently she was a woman after my own heart. Not only was she an information over-sharer, she was a foodie and Strictly Come Dancing fan.

‘‘We’re the same!’’ I said gesturing to my basket of goodies, though I felt her choice of snacks were far superior to mine.

‘‘We’re Strictly and X-Factor fans, though we can’t decide which is better!’’ as I uttered these immortal words I was strangely overcome with the urge to do a Harry Hill and shout: ‘Fight!’ thankfully, I didn’t.

‘‘My husband changes back and forth from one programme to the other, which can be infuriating,’’ I confided.

‘‘Mine is the same,’’ she agreed, ‘‘what about that Gleb one then?’’ she asked waggling her eyebrows suggestively. We both giggled as we thought about the new drop-dead-gorgeous professional dancer who joined this year’s show.

‘‘He gets my vote!’’ she laughed and moved off through the check-out.

For many, especially those with young children, the big Saturday night in is what most of us look forward to.

Weekend TV programmes like X-Factor and Strictly make for rare family viewing, enabling us to gather around the telly together.

Frequently family members may be watching different shows on iPads and mobiles or even on a telly in a different room, but Saturday has the power to reunite our loved ones in one spot.

For decades the nation’s families would gather on the sofa to watch Saturday shows like Dr Who, The Generation Game and Blind Date.

This traditional family living room scene took a nosedive when additional TV sets and computer games arrived on the scene, fragmenting family viewing time. Now, the traditional living room scene is making a comeback. What has changed however is the fact that we watch them whilst gripping smartphones and tablets.

The act of viewing TV whilst communicating on other media has been given the term ‘media-meshing’ by researchers.

Media-meshers use technology to enhance their viewing experience. They can watch a TV show whilst also sharing their opinions with friends on social media sites like Twitter. I like to follow sacked Strictly dancer James Jordan’s Twitter feed, as he comments after each couples’ dance.

Every so often he drops in a caustic titbit about the show’s producers (not that he’s bitter!) I also like to Google info on the contestant, on what they starred in before or who originally had a hit with the song the band are playing.

Women in particular have become adept at juggling screens with 56 per cent surveyed claiming to media-mesh weekly.

It’s fair to say many women will be sharing their Strictly thoughts on outfits, routines and the gorgeous Gleb on Twitter as they view along with their families.

Research shows we now spend an average of four hours a day watching TV. The number of homes with second TV sets is falling, due to us being able to watch on other devices.

Even though we’re sharing our living rooms with Twitter followers and Facebook friends, at least families are beginning to come together again, as the living room makes a comeback as the family entertainment hub.

Couples are reuniting to watching telly together.

It’s possible to spend so much time apart, viewing different programmes, that you could simply come to know your other half as; the creature from the other room, as is the case with a friend of mine.

The advantage of watching along with devices is gaining inside info on the shows we love.

For instance, if you can’t bare to wait for the Sunday results show of Strictly, you can naughtily pop along to Strictly Spoiler on Twitter where you can find out the results before the Sunday show.

Or go to where the results come in around 10.35pm on Saturday straight from a mole on the ballroom floor. Shhh! that’s strictly between us media-meshers!