A BITTER northerly wind has made the prospect of a seaside stroll as appealing as telling Lady Colin Campbell a jungle coffin is fun.
But inside Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom it’s steamier than a down-and-dirty salsa.
Strictly is in town and the 1,000-strong audience are in for the long haul.
By the time all the filming’s finished for the night it’s been a five-hour marathon.
There are no complaints, though, as tickets for the show are so rare you’d be better banking on a Lotto jackpot.
While the audience are all dolled up with somewhere to go, the eight celebrities were in dress-down mode all day Friday as they took to the floor for their rehearsals.
And, without exception, they were left open-mouthed and full of nervous laughter as they saw the iconic ballroom for the first time.
But it’s been the real thing on Saturday.
From early morning the hair and make-up teams just one part of the huge Strictly roadshow that started rolling into town on Monday have been in action.
The fake tans have already been done. And costume boss Vicky Gill has overseen her team as they add a few more sequins here, trim a hem there and tweak exposure to a vote-winning manly chest.
In full costume, they’ve gone through their routine again for the cameras, hoping any mistakes made are out of the way.
Or that the perfection will be repeated in front of 10 million devoted fans.
Before the nerve-shredding words, “Now, live from the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool…”, the stars of the show shared their Strictly highs and lows.Georgia May FooteBest Moment/Thing Georgia said: “Something has really clicked in the past few weeks. The sheer joy of performing has been amazing. As an actress I’m loving showing that I get SO excited!” Worst Moment/Thing “I had to get a bit of a grip and Ghostbusters week changed it all. I had been panicking until then and had a really hard time learning it but the fun made me realise I had to enjoy it more.” Glitterball Rating Last week’s Charleston was a stunner our new hot tip to win.
Peter AndreBest Moment/Thing Peter said: “What I’ve learned has been invaluable. There’s no mucking about. What I’ve learned about dance here will be with me for the rest of my performing life.” Worst Moment/Thing “I’ve realised I’m 42 when, for a long time, I thought I was 22. I’ve had to say to Janette in rehearsals that I just need a break. Also Jeremy Vine not making the final he was going to do Mysterious Girl with his top off!” Glitterball Rating Early favourite who slipped but is now showing more versatility and is sure to make the final.
JameliaBest Moment/Thing Jamelia said: “Just seeing how I change every week. On a Monday I always come in and when Tristan shows me a dance I say, ‘Well, that’s not going to happen’. But I surprise myself come Saturday. I’m proud of that.” Worst Moment/Thing “I feel like an old man getting out of bed! I know people may think it’s the dance-off which I’ve been in a record four times. But I hate seeing other people go so sometimes I’ve been glad it’s me, not them.” Glitterball Rating She’s really not bad but can’t keep winning dance-off duels.
Helen GeorgeBest Moment/Thing Helen said: “Just dancing with Aljaz what woman wouldn’t love that! Funnily enough the bits I’ve enjoyed most have been the times away from the pressure of Saturday night. I’ll forever cherish the amount of laughter we’ve had in the training room day after day. He’s a darling.” Worst Moment/Thing “Like others it’s just combining the day job, in my case Call The Midwife. You get so tired.” Glitterball Rating Astonishing ability but can come across as a bit cool and tense and that could turn off viewers.
Anita RaniBest Moment/Thing Anita said: “I’ve loved the fact that this is so different from my Countryfile look. And dancing with the guy called the most handsome man in the country can’t be bad. I’ve become used to taking pictures for ladies who want a snap with him.” Worst Moment/Thing “Injuries. The worst was my thumb which has been strapped up this week. I had to have two X-rays. The doctor was a fan and said he loved the show but warned the injury could be there for the rest of my life!” Glitterball Rating Could be a real dark horse for the final as she’s showing great versatility.
Katie DerhamBest Moment/Thing Katie said: “Some say it’s been showing off my legs in those dresses! In the first week you think you couldn’t wear them but you get confidence and you can’t help but feel a bit sexy.” Worst Moment/Thing “The nerves. I thought with all my live broadcast experience I’d handle it but at times they have been so overwhelming I can’t even remember what foot I’m supposed to start on. I’ve had to get a grip to stop feeling terrified and sick.” Glitterball Rating Will probably fall just short of the final but if anyone can get fans favourite Anton Du Beke there, it’s Katie.
Kellie BrightBest Moment/Thing Kellie said: “Learning the dances and being able to show them off a bit. When Danny Dyer who plays my screen husband came to see me on Strictly I grabbed him, took him to the bar and got him into a ballroom hold to show him a bit of paso doble.” Worst Moment/Thing “I’ve had a really busy time with EastEnders which I’ve had to fit in but I wanted to do Strictly and I knew what I was getting myself into.” Glitterball Rating Shocked to find herself in the dance-off a couple of weeks back and has come back fighting. Semi-final tip.