Ballroom’s coming home once more after TV bosses today confirmed Strictly Come Dancing will be back in Blackpool this autumn.
The resort is set for a weekend of blockbuster TV entertainment as hit show Strictly returns to the Tower Ballroom and the North West broadcast for Children In Need will be hosted from the Tower Circus.
The BBC1 dance extravaganza, which gets underway with its ‘red carpet’ show tomorrow night at 7.30pm, hosted by Blackpool-born Zoe Ball, has confirmed it is coming back to the resort on Saturday, November 15.
The hosts for the main show have been confirmed as Claudia Winkleman – who replaces Sir Bruce Forsyth – and Tess Daly.
The live Strictly broadcast will come the day after the Tower Circus is beamed live into homes across the North West as part of the BBC’s annual Children In Need telethon.
Kate Shane, general manager of The Tower, said: “We are really excited Strictly is going to be here again.
“It’s a big year for The Tower – at 120 years old – and having Strictly back is the icing on the cake we wanted.
“There are great celebrities taking part and we look forward to welcoming them to The Tower. Now the hard work starts.”
This year’s stars include pop star Pixie Lott, Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, tennis coach – and Andy Murray’s mum – Judy Murray, Casualty actress Sunetra Sarker, Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace, Blue singer Simon Webbe, Saturdays’ pop star Frankie Bridge and rugby player Thom Evans.
Strictly first broadcast from the Tower Ballroom when the final took place there for the 2004 series.
It returned for a special edition in November 2009, with a huge dance class taking place during the day as well as the heat in the evening. The show was also here in 2010 and 2013, with the grand final in the ballroom in 2011.
There was controversy in 2012 when Strictly seemingly turned its back on the resort and hosted a night at Wembley Arena – but it proved to be a one-off as the subsequent returns have shown.
Michael Williams, managing director of the Winter Gardens, who was in place at The Tower when Strictly first came to Blackpool, said it was a ‘money can’t buy’ opportunity for the resort.
“It’s great news for the resort, and our profile nationally and internationally,” he said.
“A lot of effort goes into presenting the event from the BBC, together with the commitment from The Tower team, which makes it such a success.
“The Strictly team loves coming to Blackpool, especially the celebrity dancers and their professional partners.”
The double deal for The Tower will involve huge team work from the attraction’s staff – something manager Kate is already looking forward to.
“We’re going to be on a lot of strong coffee that week – going live on the radio for three-and-a-half hours and feeding into the TV on the Friday for Children In Need at the circus and then the ballroom for Saturday,” she said.
“To be associated with Children In Need and with Strictly again, in our 120th year, it shows people are wrapping their arms round Blackpool Tower and it’s a nice feeling.”