It’s finally coming back to Blackpool
Flagship Saturday night programme Strictly Come Dancing is celebrating a century of the BBC with a special themed week and a return to Blackpool after a two-year absence.
The 20th series of the BBC show will see 15 celebrity contestants – including TV presenter Helen Skelton, EastEnders actor James Bye, singer Fleur East and former England footballer Tony Adams – taking to the dance floor. The series launches on September 17 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with the BBC 100 themed week announced alongside returning favourites like Movie Week, Halloween Week and the much-loved Musicals Week.
The series returning to the prestigious Blackpool Tower Ballroom after a two-year break due to the pandemic will be a highlight on the show calendar. The ballroom, which dates back to 1894, is ready to welcome more Strictly dancing feet after its floor recently had its most extensive restoration in 30 years.
Memorable Strictly moments from the Blackpool Tower Ballroom over the years include 2016’s entrance by former shadow chancellor Ed Balls, who was lowered from the ceiling playing a piano before taking to the dance floor to jive with Katya Jones to the Jerry Lee Lewis hit Great Balls Of Fire. Another talked-about Blackpool moment includes Ann Widdecombe’s Samba alongside professional partner Anton Du Beke in 2010, which saw the pair both dressed in bright yellow and resulted in the former Tory MP earning the night’s lowest score of 13 out of 40.
The BBC celebrates its centenary this year, and the themed episode will see Strictly couples “either dancing to a theme tune from an iconic BBC programme or in tribute to one of the BBC’s most-loved services”, the BBC said. Also on the menu are two routines by the Strictly professionals, with one of them dedicated to the BBC’s Natural History Programming, and the other which will see the professionals “crashing” some flagship BBC shows.
The celebrity line-up this year includes Ted Lasso actress Ellie Taylor, Paralympic swimming gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps actor Will Mellor, Loose Women star Kaye Adams and Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh. They are joined by Bros singer Matt Goss, Kiss radio host Tyler West, Britain’s Got Talent finalist Molly Rainford, comedian and actress Jayde Adams, Wildlife cameraman and presenter Hamza Yassin and BBC Radio 2’s Richie Anderson.
Anderson, a regular fixture on the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast show presenting the travel bulletins, will dance as part of a same-sex partnership this year, following in the steps of Nicola Adams and Katya Jones who danced together in 2020 and Johannes Radebe and Bake Off’s John Whaite making the final in the 2021 series. Head judge Shirley Ballas returns this year alongside judges Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse, with Du Beke becoming a regular fixture on the judging panel following Bruno Tonioli’s exit.
Strictly’s executive producer Sarah James said: “We know how much viewers love the Strictly themed weeks so it’s fantastic to be able to announce a new one, celebrating the BBC’s centenary. It’s the icing on the cake to be able to confirm that we are returning to the iconic Blackpool Tower ballroom this year, we can’t wait to get back to Blackpool.”
Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly will also resume their roles as the show’s hosts this series. The last series of Strictly was won by Rose Ayling-Ellis with professional partner Giovanni Pernice. Strictly Come Dancing launches on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on September 17.
- 00:05, 22 AUG 2022