Strictly back where it belongs

Julian Clary and Erin Boag during the final of BBC show Strictly Come Dancing at Blackpool Tower in Blackpool

Julian Clary and Erin Boag during the final of BBC show Strictly Come Dancing at Blackpool Tower in Blackpool

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BACK where it belongs.

That was the verdict after it was revealed hit BBC ballroom show Strictly Come Dancing is bringing its showpiece final back to Blackpool.

And bosses have vowed the show’s millions of fans will see the world-famous Tower Ballroom like never before when the event is screened in stunning 3D.

Tourism bosses say the cameras rolling into town will give them the perfect opportunity to showcase all the work which has been done to regenerate Blackpool.

Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said hosting the final gave the town publicity “money couldn’t buy”.

She added: “It shows us off at our absolute best. There isn’t a more beautiful spot in the entire town than the Tower ballroom.

“In the past, there have been some spin-offs with other dancing events in the Winter Gardens and hopefully that will happen again so people can see our gorgeous Winter Gardens as well.

“Everybody watches the final of Strictly – this is the kind of publicity money couldn’t buy.”

The last time the resort hosted the final show was in 2004 when actress Jill Halfpenny and her dancing partner Darren Bennett were crowned champions.

Since then, Blackpool has hosted mid-season shows in 2009 and 2010.

Securing the prestigious final is seen as a massive coup for the resort.

Iain Hawkins, the Blackpool boss of Merlin which operates the Tower, said: “The ballroom is held in very high regard so for people to see it in 3D on their TV screens will be amazing.”

Head of VisitBlackpool Natalie Wyatt said the timing meant Blackpool would be able to showcase its transformation including the recent Promenade revamp and investment in the Tower.

She added: “The celebrities realise Blackpool is the home of ballroom dancing and they challenge themselves to reach the Tower.

“The BBC will get different clips of the town which will show the regeneration work which has been done.”

Meanwhile, it is hoped businesses throughout the town will benefit from the influx of people brought in to film the programme.

As well as the stars of the show, last year the BBC brought an army of around 250 technicians to the town.

Eileen Ormond, Blackpool town centre BID (business improvement district) manager, said: “It brings people to the town and they will shop and eat out, and hopefully benefit everyone.”

Last year around 13 million viewers tuned into the edition of Strictly broadcast from the Tower Ballroom to watch stars including actress Patsy Kensit, rugby ace Gavin Henson and politician Ann Widdecombe taking to the floor.

This year’s contestants have yet to be announced but former WAG Nancy Dell’Olio, ex-footballer Robbie Savage and actress Anita Dobson are among the names rumoured to be joining the show.

The free-to-air 3D broadcast will be available to anyone who has access to a 3D TV set with HD channels – and details of how to apply for tickets for the December final will be released closer to the time.