If you failed to get your Strictly fix when the hit TV show came to Blackpool, there’s another chance now as the national tour gets underway.
And for contestant Alison Hammond, the tour journey helped to heal the heartache of failing to make it to the glittering Tower Ballroom here in the resort.
TV presenter Alison makes no bones about the fact that Strictly was the best professional experience of her life.
“I certainly didn’t have to think twice about the offer to dance with Aljaz again on tour,” she said.
“I can’t wait! The offer came at just the right time. I was knocked out of the show on the Saturday, it meant I wouldn’t get to dance in Blackpool which was a real disappointment.
“So all day Sunday I was gutted and then on the Monday I was booked for the tour.
“It’s going to be great fun to strut my stuff all across the country but I’m particularly excited that we’ll be opening in Birmingham, my home city, tonight to get us off to a sparkling start.”
Alison did end up making the trip north for Strictly in Blackpool to watch the competition from the audience, even taking to the floor during a break in filming with former Fylde resident Johnny Ball, father of Strictly It Takes Two host Zoe, who presents the live arena shows on the tour.
Also heading out on the road will be series winner TV presenter Caroline Flack, dancing this time with Tristan MacManus while her TV professional Pasha Kovalev is on his solo tour.
Caroline, who will be recreating the Charleston and salsa dances which helped her take the glitterball trophy, said: “I always knew Pasha wouldn’t be going on the Strictly tour because he has a show of his own. But I didn’t want Strictly to finish so they’ve paired me with Tristan.
“I’ve been astonished by the popularity of Strictly. I was buying some trainers from a cool guy in East London recently and he suddenly said, ‘Shouldn’t you be learning your waltz?’ It’s no exaggeration to say this has been the best experience of my life. It’s given me a new belief in myself, a greater self-confidence.”
Fellow celebrity dancers Simon Webbe from Blue, TOWIE-star turned DJ Mark Wright, rugby player Thom Evans and Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills will all be taking to the dance floor once again, and they’ll be joined by 2008 series runner-up Rachel Stevens who replaces The Saturdays’ singer Frankie Bridge, who announced her pregnancy last week.
Judging the dancers will be Craig Revel Horwood, joined by 2008 champions Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup making their judging debut.
Tom said: “Having performed on the tour with Camilla, I know what it’s like to dance in arenas and then take the comments from the judges. I can’t wait to get into the famous judging seat and see which of the celebrities wins the competition at each performance.”
The 31-date tour comes to the North West next weekend, at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, January 24 with shows at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, and Sunday, January and 25, with shows at 1,30pm and 6.30pm, and at Liverpool Echo Arena on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 3 and 4 at 7.30pm.
Call 0844 875 8758 or visit www.strictlycomedancinglive.com for tickets.