Stacey Dooley takes Blackpool's ballroom battle to the nation's TV screens

Stacey Dooley’s production company is to take cameras behind the scenes at the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival in a TV first.

By Simon Drury
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 26th May 2022, 10:13 am

The annual event launched in 1920 and sees thousands of dancers from more than 40 countries descend on the seaside town’s Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens.

Blackpool’s Ballroom Battle, an hour-long special from Little Dooley, will follow the “real-life tears, tribulations and triumphs, the glitz and the glamour” of the competition.

Viewers will meet dancers, trainers and coaches of ballroom as they compete for the coveted title of British Open Champion.

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Competitors rehearsing ahead of the Blackpool Dance Festival.

The special will be the first entertainment commission for the independent production company, which launched in 2019.

Former Strictly Come Dancing champion Dooley, 35, who serves as executive producer on the project, said: “The minute I was introduced to the extraordinary world of ballroom and Latin I was hooked!

“The culture, the passion, the dedication, the anecdotes, the sequins…!

“We are hoping to deliver an insightful, thrilling look into an iconic scene that has, until now, felt relatively undiscovered. And I really can’t wait!”

Kate Phillips, the BBC’s director of unscripted, said: “I am so excited to bring Blackpool’s Ballroom Battle to BBC audiences. Little Dooley have done a fantastic job in getting access to the Blackpool Dance Festival, which has long been a hidden and mysterious world to those not in the dancing community.

“In the programme we will get to witness some absolutely thrilling ballroom dancing, and go behind the scenes to see the stamina, hard work and dedication that it takes in order for these spectacular dancers to get to the top.”

Dooley rose to prominence as a documentary maker through her BBC Three programmes, including 2007’s Blood, Sweat And T-Shirts, about the Indian factories that make clothes for the UK high street.

Since then she has also made programmes about child soldiers, sex trafficking, homelessness and domestic abuse, as well as claiming victory on Strictly in 2018 alongside her now boyfriend, pro dancer Kevin Clifton.

– Blackpool’s Ballroom Battle will air on BBC One and the corporation’s iPlayer streaming service later this year.