Business and civic leaders have welcomed the return of Strictly Come Dancing to Blackpool.
The primetime BBC1 hit will be back in the resort, broadcasting from the Tower Ballroom on Saturday, November 15, as revealed exclusively in The Gazette on Tuesday.
And, the evening before, the Tower Circus will be on screens in the North West as part of the annual Children In Need telethon.
These events coincide with Lights Switch-On star Peter Kay’s return to the resort for two special charity Q&As at the Opera House – which went on sale and sold out on Tuesday.
Claire Smith, president of hotel group Stay Blackpool, said: “Having Strictly and the Peter Kay shows at that time is like an extension of the season for another week.
“If there was one thing I’d ask Marketing Blackpool to spend their budget on it would be events all the way as they bring people in. These things all help to fill our rooms – whether it’s one, two or three nights, it’s all good. An example of this is Blackpool Airshow running on Sunday and Monday. Many Saturday nights we don’t need the help, and it makes a difference.”
She added that the value of Strictly’s promotion of Blackpool could not be quantified – there will be a constant drip feed of mentions on prime time TV throughout the early stages of the series, as well as the main event broadcast from The Tower and the preceding week’s build-up.
And the show’s local host for the week, Blackpool Tower general manager Kate Shane, agrees.
“It’s good that Strictly will be here out of the Illuminations’ season,” she said. “It continues the focus on The Tower after the Lights go off.
“Everyone gets behind the show, taxi drivers, cafe owners, shops, there’s a real buzz around town.
“There’s no better endorsement than Strictly wanting to come back here time and time again.”
New chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses’ Blackpool branch Susanne Johnson said she was glad to hear Strictly bosses had not been put off coming back by thefts from a dressing room at the ballroom during last year’s show.
“It’s another piece in the jigsaw presenting Blackpool to everyone in the UK,” the Bond Street haberdashery store owner said.
“I had wondered if the thefts might have caused a problem for this year but it seems not, which is brilliant.
“Blackpool is spangly, sparkly, feathery and over the top, which really fits with Strictly, and I think there will be a lot of additions to people’s tills with their return.
“Well done to the people who got them back and to those who first brought Strictly to Blackpool – and well done to Strictly for being bright enough to choose us again.”
Blackpool Council cabinet member for tourism and leisure Coun Graham Cain added: “We’re so glad that we can shout from the roofs that Strictly’s back.
“The show is great from the studio, which is designed as a replica of the Tower Ballroom, that’s OK. but actually being there really is something the dancers look forward to.
“The boost for Blackpool is phenomenal.”