Sunday People

It’s Blackpool Towaaargh!

Strictly set is dismantled and rebuilt to fit through iconic Ballroom’s door

- EXCLUSIVE BY LAURA ARMSTRONG Assistant Editor, Showbiz Strictly Come Dancing: The Results, tonight, BBC One, 7.20pm

STRICTLY’S glitzy Blackpool set has had the show’s production team in a spin after it had to be dismantled to fit inside the Tower Ballroom.

Creative director Jason Gilkison told how the crew had been working around the clock to rebuild the entire rig inside the venue for last night’s show.

He said: “Blackpool’s always an intense week – we’re all running on adrenaline.

“There’s a small double door into the ballroom so everything has to get dismantled and rebuilt on the other side.” But Jason, 57, insisted the annual challenge was worth it. “The room reeks of majesty and beauty and by bringing in Strictly, we add a little more,” he said.

World-renowned choreograp­her Jason told how this year’s cast were constantly messaging each other on Whatsapp – and said their friendship­s with the pro dancers, who he branded “the best ever”, were also special. He explained: “The cast have really come together this year. The celebs who have surprised me the most are Ellie Leach and Bobby Brazier.

“Ellie was very much in her shell, but there’s more light in her now. A lot of that is down to Vito [Coppola].

“With Bobby, it’s like having a unicorn in the room. He’s the sweetest, funniest, kindest person I’ve ever met.”

West End favourite Layton Williams has been criticised by some fans for his previous dance experience. But Jason says that has been a disadvanta­ge.

He said: “Sometimes a clean slate is better than being trained in another field of dance. He’s almost battling himself.

“What I enjoy is that, as the weeks go by, he’s looking like a ballroom dancer rather than leaning on his other training.”

 ?? ?? MAJESTIC Blackpool Tower & its ballroom
MAJESTIC Blackpool Tower & its ballroom

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