Strictly Come Dancing is a British television show, shown on BBC One based on Ballroom and Latin dancing. The title of the show suggests a continuation of the long-running series Come Dancing, with allusions to the film Strictly Ballroom. The show has run on BBC One since 2004. A fourth series finished in December 2006, and there have been three stand-alone Christmas Specials, in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Series four was also shown as part of the BBC’s line-up on their trial High Definition channel, BBC HD.
The format has been exported to other countries such as Dancing with the Stars in the US. The final of the fourth series in December 2006 attracted an audience of over 12 million viewers, making it the highest watched show on TV for that week. The format has also inspired a modern-dance themed spin-off Strictly Dance Fever. Splash (a UK production company) and the EBU have created the Eurovision Dance Contest which will be transmitted on the BBC. This is not part of the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ format because it is instead modelled on the Eurovision Song Contest, but with dancing instead of singing.
The Series Format
The show pairs a number of celebrities with professional ballroom dancers who each week compete against each other in a competition to impress a panel of judges and the viewing public in order to survive potential elimination. Through a telephone poll, viewers vote who should stay and who should go, the results of the poll being combined with the ranking of the panel of judges. For example, with 4 contestants left, the judges’ favourite would receive 4 points, 2nd favourite 3, and so on, and similarly with the viewers’ rankings. The profits from the telephone lines were donated to Sport Relief in series 1, and to Children in Need in series 2, 3 and 4.
The show is broadcast live on BBC One on Saturday evenings, and it is presented by Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly. (For some of the second series, Natasha Kaplinsky stood in temporarily for Tess Daly while the latter took maternity leave). The judging panel consists of Bruno Tonioli, Arlene Phillips, Len Goodman and Craig Revel Horwood. Each judge gives the performance a mark out of ten, giving an overall total out of forty. A companion fanzine programme (running each weekday, with updates on the dancers) accompanies the main show. During the first series, Strictly Come Dancing on Three ran on BBC Three, hosted by Justin Lee Collins.
During the second, third and fourth series Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two ran on BBC Two, hosted by Claudia Winkleman. As of Series four, an hour long highlight show has been shown on Sundays at 7pm on BBC Two. As of Series four, coaches are Jaclyn Spencer and Chris Marques for Salsa and Mambo, and Jenny Thomas and Ryan Francois for Swing and Jive. The Argentine Tango coaches in Series three were Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone.
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