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Strictly Blackpool for home-coming

Past Strictly performers (below) Jason Donovan and  2011 winner Harry Judd with respective partners  Kristina Rihanoff and Aliona Vilani.

Past Strictly performers (below) Jason Donovan and 2011 winner Harry Judd with respective partners Kristina Rihanoff and Aliona Vilani.

It’s back! The announcement Strictly Come Dancing will be waltzing back to Blackpool later this year has been given a top score.

The prime time Saturday night BBC show, which has been to Blackpool five times, missed its traditional visit to the seaside last year, but TV bosses have confirmed it will be returning to the Mecca of ballroom.

The iconic Tower Ballroom will host one of the series’ heats, although the date has not yet been confirmed.

Kate Shane, general manager at Blackpool Tower, said: “There is a brilliant buzz around Strictly and we are really excited to have it coming back.

“It showcases the beautiful Tower Ballroom in all its glory to everybody across the country in their front room.

“And it is fantastic for the town. It creates a huge buzz and excitement – shopkeepers, taxi drivers, cafe owners, everybody talks about it and it’s just amazing.

“We get a lot of staff volunteering to work while Strictly is here and it creates a wonderful atmosphere at the Tower that week while it’s getting set up. They come in and create the Strictly magic by giving the ballroom that extra sparkle.”

Last night the Tower was lit up with flashing white lights to look like a glitter ball in celebration of the announcement.

Strictly Come Dancing appeared for the first time in 2004 and there was huge hype around the show’s final being held in Blackpool.

The resort was dropped the following year, but after The Gazette launched a campaign to bring back Strictly to Blackpool, the Tower hosted a special edition in November 2009, another spectacular live heat in 2010 and a glittering final in 2011. A BBC spokesman could not say when the show would be coming to Blackpool, but said it would be “midway through the series”, set to start in October.

Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly will be presenting and Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli will be judging.

Coun Graham Cain, cabinet member for tourism and leisure, for Blackpool Council, said: “As we’ve seen in previous years, hosting an episode of the show is a huge boost for the town. Not only does it bring a lot of money into the resort, but it gives the town a level of publicity money can’t buy.

“Strictly is one of the biggest shows on TV and it’s great news we’ve been able to work with the BBC to bring it back to the home of ballroom dancing.”

Model Abbey Crouch has already been named as a potential contestant.

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