Strictly Come Dancing returns to Blackpools’s Tower Ballroom in dazzling fashion

Strictly Come Dancing has returned to Blackpool in dazzling fashion with the professional dancers performing amongst the seaside resort’s funfair attractions in a special opening number.

Saturday’s episode saw the BBC competition return to the town’s prestigious Tower Ballroom for the first time since 2019 after a break due to the pandemic.

The show opened with a special dedication to the area by local people who reflected on the importance of their town’s relationship with the show.

The professional dancers and judges then burst out with a vibrant performance to You’ve Got The Music In You by New Radicals.

Introducing the live show, co-host Tess Daly said: “Hello and welcome to Strictly Come Dancing, it has been three long years and we are finally back in the home of ballroom.”

Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal opened the Blackpool special in sophisticated style by performing an elegant American smooth to New York, New York by Frank Sinatra.

Dressed in a tail suit, the wildlife cameraman performed dizzying lifts and spins to secure a score of 38.

Head judge Shirley Ballas tipped him as the one to beat, saying: “Hamza shone brighter than all the baubles and beads and bangles in the world.”

Ballroom specialist Anton Du Beke added: “That was beautiful. Tail suit, feathers, extra dancers, American smooth, Blackpool, gorgeous footwork. Welcome to Blackpool everybody.”

Molly Rainford delivered a vibrant, upbeat jive to Bandstand Boogie by Barry Manilow for her Blackpool special.

Accompanied by a big band, the singer and actress bounced across the stage alongside her partner Carlos Gu to achieve a score of 35.

New professional Gu said it was a “highlight of his life” to perform at the Tower Ballroom.

Du Beke described their dance as “tremendous” and that he felt he was getting to see more of Rainford’s personality during the routines.

Craig Revel Horwood felt it needed to be “lighter” and “more precise” but praised her for selling the number.

Kym Marsh brought drama to the Blackpool stage as she performed a powerful paso doble to We Found Love by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris.

Accompanied by supporting dancers, the actress and presenter moved fiercely across the dancefloor alongside her partner Graziano Di Prima to land a score of 33.

Motsi Mabuse said Marsh looked “amazing” and praised her control and energy.

Ballas added: “I feel like you are in warrior mode. You are here and you are fighting. What I loved, it was so powerful but yet you still kept the femininity.”

Tyler West paid tribute to eras gone by as he danced the salsa to Megamix by KC and The Sunshine Band while donning an afro wig and flared trousers.

The Kiss FM DJ grooved and performed challenging lifts with his partner Dianne Buswell to achieve a score of 35.

Ballas praised the DJ for attempting the difficult lifts and for his fluidity, adding: “You are a star.”

Revel Horwood said he would like to have seen more hip rotation but felt his last lift was “amazing”.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One.