Dancefloor stars are Strictly dazzling as they arrive in town

Countryfile presenter Anita Rani is followed by dancer Gleb Savchenko as they  arrive at Blackpool Tower for Strictly Come Dancing
Countryfile presenter Anita Rani is followed by dancer Gleb Savchenko as they arrive at Blackpool Tower for Strictly Come Dancing
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Blackpool Tower is buzzing ahead of tomorrow's live Strictly Come Dancing broadcast.

The already-dazzling location has - in typical Strictly fashion - been transformed by the BBC crews throughout the week, with extra lights, chandeliers, glitter and gilt.

Singer Peter Andre and Janette Manrara arrive at Blackpool Tower

Singer Peter Andre and Janette Manrara arrive at Blackpool Tower

And while they’ve been in action setting up since Monday, the show’s eight celebrities and professional dancers only took their first turns on the famously bouncy dancefloor for rehearsals today.

Excitement was in the air and every one of them was thrilled to be in town for the special show, regularly cited as one of the Strictly Come Dancing series’ biggest highlights.

Pop star and TV personality Peter Andre - the only contestant to have a likeness in the resort, with a wax figure at Madame Tussauds on the Prom - was getting to grips with the bounce, preparing for his jive to Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High, with pro dancer Janette Manrara.

“I hosted a Slimming World event at the ballroom last year, but I had never been on the floor,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how bouncy it was and it's great for the jive.

Actress Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice arrive at Blackpool Tower for Strictly Come Dancing

Actress Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice arrive at Blackpool Tower for Strictly Come Dancing

“I like the big space, it makes you want to perform more; although something I’ve learned is that not every dance needs to be big, and jive plays a mental trick as it’s a big performance and small steps.”

After an early start, posing on the red carpet at the entrance to the Tower, the pairings were getting their bearings for the larger space in which they’ll compete tomorrow.

For BBC Proms presenter Katie Derham, who’s seen her fair share of the world’s best venues, says the Tower Ballroom is ‘up there’ with the best.

Katie, who grew up in Cheshire, said: “I’ve been to Blackpool but never the ballroom, and I thought people were exaggerating about it; people have been so giddy about coming.

Actress Kellie Bright and dancer Kevin Clifton arrive at Blackpool Tower for Strictly Come Dancing

Actress Kellie Bright and dancer Kevin Clifton arrive at Blackpool Tower for Strictly Come Dancing

“I have been to beautiful theatres and opera houses in my time, but it is stunning. It really is up there.”

She’s due to be guided round the floor by the show’s king of ballroom, Anton Du Beke, performing an American smooth to Dean Martin’s Ain’t That A Kick In The Head.

Fellow Northerners, Countryfile presenter Anita Rani, from Bradford, and ex-Coronation Street actress Georgia May Foote, from Bury, can’t believe their luck to be here.

“That ballroom is so beautiful,” said Anita, who has fond childhood memories of trips to the resort. “I can just stand there staring up at it all.”

Anita’s promised a ‘dramatic’ paso doble, to Malaguena by Connie Francis with partner Gleb Savchenko.

And giving away a small taster from her Viennese waltz-inspired American smooth with Giovanni Pernice, to Whitney Houston track I Have Nothing, Georgia added: “I get lifted up in a crucifix shape [in my dance], and I was looking up at the ceiling, staring at it thinking ‘This is amazing’.

“I came to Blackpool Rocks last year, but it looks so different now.”

Another one of the cast who’s made a recent visit to the resort is pop star and Loose Women presenter Jamelia, who had a day out with her daughters this summer.

“We had our first beach day out in the UK - and they absolutely loved it,” she said. “My mum used to bring me here when I was younger so it was a real trip down memory lane.

“But I never really thought I would be back here in the Tower Ballroom, dancing.”

And she should be doing it in fine style, thanks to a quickstep with her pro Tristan MacManus, to I’m A Believer, by The Monkees.

Another quickstepper will be actress Kellie Bright, to Dolly Parton’s 9 To 5 with partner Kevin Clifton.

The EastEnders' star described the show’s Northern jaunt as a ‘busman’s holiday’ for the team, hailing the landmark point in the show.

“We are here, doing the same thing, but because we aren’t at Elstree it’s like we’re on a mini break,” she said. “It’s really special and it’s something we celebrities will take away with us - whatever happens next in the show - that we got to dance here.”

Still in the competition, although busy with rehearsals and recording commitments, are ex-The Wanted singer Jay McGuinness, who will do a salsa to Cuba by The Gibson Brothers with dancer Aliona Vilani, and Call The Midwife actress Helen George, dancing a Charleston to the title song from the musical Anything Goes with Aljaz Skorjanec.

The full cast of Strictly’s professionals will be joined by additional dancers, not only in their celebrity routines, but also a show-stopping, jive and lindy-hop inspired number which promises to fill the vast dance floor.

Man-band favourites Take That were also already in town ahead of their performance on the show.

The trio of Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald arrived at the Tower at lunchtime to prepare for their showcase of new single Hey Boy.

American singing star Anastasia will also appear.

See Blackpool Tower go live to the nation tomorrow night at 6.50pm, followed by Sunday's results show at 7.15pm, both on BBC1.