My ‘Strictly’ Experience

It seems rather apt to post this blog today, since it’s the grand final of the current series of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ on BBC One tomorrow (Sat 16th Dec 2017) night. I was lucky enough to get audience tickets when it was ‘Musicals’ week this series, so I thought I’d share my experience with you.


Every year, I apply for tickets in the online ballot that the BBC runs on its Shows, Tours & Tickets page. I normally get an email as each week passes, telling me that I wasn’t successful this time – when on one occasion, the email I got actually had tickets attached! I was so excited! This year, they had around 5.5 million people applying for tickets – so it really was a money can’t buy experience.

A friend and I drove down to Elstree the night before because we knew that they oversubscribe the free tickets. We certainly didn’t want to drive all that way, and then be told that we couldn’t get in, so we planned to get there at 6am and queue. Actually, there was already quite a large queue when we arrived! We were 136 in line. The people at the very front had been there from 2am – hardy souls! In all honesty, it was really very cold and it felt like we had waited longer than we actually had.

Once our tickets had been validated, around 9.30am, we were then free to go until 3pm. When we had put our glad rags on and returned, we were let into a holding area, where we had our phones confiscated and our bags checked etc. After around an hour of waiting, we were finally allowed into the studio – it was just as glitzy and sparkly as I’d anticipated!

There is a warm-up man, who strikes a great balance between cracking jokes and giving interesting information about how the recording of the show will go. One of the best things was when I was one of 4 people picked out of the audience to sit at the judges’ desk – I pretended to be Darcey Bussell, whilst the others assumed the persona’s of Craig, Shirley and Bruno. We had to judge a poor 5th person plucked from the audience who was asked to do a funny dance in the middle of the dance floor. Sadly, because we’d had our phones taken from us at the entrance, I was unable to take any pictures – which was such a shame.

The show started with some pre-recorded dances, which was wonderful to see – there is so much going on! Whenever something went wrong or there was a technical issue, we were lucky enough to see them perform it again, giving us a chance to focus on another section of the stage. The pro dancers really are a cut above – So professional, and they really give it everything they’ve got on each and every take. Musicals week was spectacular! The costumes, props, hair and make-up really were special.

Debbie and Giovanni (c) BBC One

When the show went live, it was seamless. The production team have clearly got it down to a fine art. At the end of the show, there is a pause whilst they wait for the telephone results to come in – and then they recorded the Sunday night programme.

It was great to be able to see all of the behind the scenes action – there are so many crew members running around!

If you’re a fan of the show, I’d certainly recommend that you apply for tickets – You never know, you might be lucky with them one day!

So, who you do think will win the famous glitterball this weekend? Personally, I’m torn between Alexandra and Debbie…

Anna x


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