Why is Blackpool so important to Strictly Come Dancing?
Strictly Come Dancing heads back to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom for the first time since before the pandemic this weekend.
The contestants and judges could not be more excited about their return to the "home of ballroom dancing" - but just what is it that makes the iconic venue so special to them?
9 reasons why Blackpool Tower Ballroom is so important to Strictly Come Dancing
It's the most spectacular ballroom around. Opened in 1894, the huge ballroom features an ornate painted ceiling, carved wooden balconies, huge chandeliers that take a week to clean, and of course the building is topped off by Blackpool Tower itself.
The Tower Ballroom is nine times the size of the Strictly studio ballroom, giving the couples lots more room to perform. In the past, the show has brought in backing dancers, fireworks and even Craig Revel Horwood riding an electric guitar suspended from the ceiling to fill it.
A sprung floor gives couples the extra lift they need for a perfect routine, with springy wooden boards making their steps lighter and putting their joints under less strain.
Dance champions from all over the world have competed at the Tower Ballroom, including the World and All-England championships. Former contestants have included Strictly's very own Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke, among many others in the pro cast.
Come Dancing, the original TV show that Strictly was inspired by, took place in the ballroom during its peak years of success. Unlike Strictly, the contestants were not celebrities, but many older fans will remember Blackpool's venue from the hit contest.
Strictly has a long history at Blackpool - it first visited in 2004 during the very first season for episode three, aired the season two final from there, and has traditionally visited on Children In Need weekend when the fundraiser takes over Strictly's usual TV studio.
Marking the midway point in the competition, many a Strictly celebrity begins their ballroom journey with the words "I just want to make it to Blackpool". For those lucky enough to live the dream, next stop is the final.
It's the ultimate weekend away for the couples who board the Blackpool bus. Think fish and chips on the pier, riding the Pleasure Beach rollercoaster, and a big night out once the live show is over.
It's been three long years away from Blackpool, thanks to pandemic restrictions. The Strictly stars aren't the only ones looking forward to the trip up North - bring it on, Blackpool 2022!
Strictly Come Dancing's Blackpool episode airs on Saturday at 7.45pm on BBC One.
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