Strictly Come Dancing, week nine: 6 talking points from Blackpool, from Ashley and Pasha's perfect score to Faye's fiery paso doble

Emma Bullimore

Team Strictly left Elstree for one week only, boarding the train for the bright lights of Blackpool. And what a show it was! There were tonnes of tens, we got the first perfect 40 of the series and only one dance failed to hit the 30 mark. Here’s what happened…

The first 40!

After a frustrating run of 38s, Craig finally gave his first ten to the very last routine of the night, Ashley and Pasha’s incredible jive. It was set in a fish and chip shop but luckily the judges didn’t deduct marks for that. It’s difficult to come up with new superlatives for Ashley at this point, she really is outstanding. But that will be her problem in the final – she’s just a bit too good isn’t she? Kudos though, it was an amazing routine that deserved full marks.

Glitz and glam

Strictly always makes the show a little camper when we get to Blackpool and it’s no bad thing. This special episode kicked off with Gloria Estefan performing a medley of hits (the Miami Sound Machine were stuck on a tram looking at the illuminations) and there were feathers, top hats, lots of pink outfits and endless streamers that Karen Clifton nearly got trapped in.

The props and backing dancers are always divisive, but credit where credit is due: that was one hell of a show. Although perhaps Stacey Dooley flying in on a large piece of Blackpool rock was a bit much…

Faye was robbed

Faye and Giovanni gave us a Paso Doble so sizzling there was actually fire on the dance floor. Talk about drama, it was absolutely FIERCE. Craig declared that he loved it but still gave it a 9. Darcey joined in the killjoy antics, leaving them with 38. Many think it deserved a 40. I’m sure their day will come…

The underdog bites back

Charles and Karen may have faced three dance offs but they’re not going down without a fight. Last week’s Charleston was amazing, but it’s a dance that historically scores well. This week they tackled a much trickier style, the notoriously tough samba… and they absolutely nailed it. 38 was a higher score than Charles could have dreamed of. In short, a triumph!

Nana Phyllis made it to Blackpool

She’s had more mentions than some of the dancers on the show, and this was her moment. Joe Sugg’s nan, who danced at the Tower Ballroom in her twenties, had a front row seat to watch her grandson stun the judges with an over-marked, but still entertaining quickstep. He bagged three tens and a final score of 38…

Who will face the dance-off?

Lauren Steadman and Kate Silverton finished bottom of the leaderboard. Their popularity has helped them avoid the dance off so far but surely its time now? Lauren faced training disruption this week due to the demands of triathlon. Fair enough but it led to a really disappointing Argentine tango that missed any emotion or attack, and only scored 25.

Kate’s American Smooth felt slow and lacklustre, despite the glamorous stylings. Graeme Swann is just above them on the leaderboard and as a dance-off veteran he’s in a very vulnerable position. Tune in to BBC1 tomorrow at 19.20 to discover who will face the chop…

The Strictly Come Dancing week 9 results will be revealed at 7.20pm on Sunday 18 November, BBC One