Blackpool's Dance Fever is lifting the lid on what it takes to compete at the annual Blackpool Dance Festival.
The one-off documentary, produced by presenter and former Strictly Come Dancing champ Stacey Dooley’s production company, follows a range of couples from all over the world as they undergo intense preparations before they take to the floor in the Lancashire seaside town for the prestigious dance contest.
Here’s everything you need to know about Blackpool’s Dance Fever...
Blackpool's Dance Fever — release date
Blackpool's Dance Fever will air on Monday, August 28 at 8pm on BBC One in the UK and will be available immediately afterward on BBC iPlayer.
We will let you know here if it is released in the US.
Blackpool's Dance Fever — what is it about?
The one-off film will definitely get Strictly Come Dancing fans in the mood for the return of the dance contest on September 17. It goes behind the scenes in the months leading up to the Blackpool Dance Festival and follows the dancers as they get ready to compete. It then sees them nervously perform for the judges in the Empress Ballroom before they wait for the all-important results.
Blackpool's Dance Fever — who is in it?
As well as shadowing festival organisers, backstage staff and dance coaches, the documentary profiles several couples who are taking part in various categories in the contest.
These include Lauren and Oskar from Kent, who are taking part in the Amateur Rising Star Latin event. South African Darren and his Ukrainian partner Marina are competing in the Professional Latin contest, after Darren underwent a double hip operation. Meanwhile Lloyd and Rebecca from Wales are in the Amateur Latin category along with Americans Tal and Ilana.
Blackpool's Dance Fever — interview with Lauren Claydon and Oskar Odiakosa
Competitors Lauren, a lettings agent, and Oskar, a chartered accountant, spoke to What to Watch to gives us the lowdown on Blackpool's Dance Fever...
Why did you want to take part in the documentary?
Lauren: “I just wanted to portray what it’s actually like, because Strictly is all glitz and glam, but behind the scenes, we wanted to get across all the hard work.”
Oskar: “I hope that we represent the fact that if you have a dream, just because you work, that doesn't mean that you can't achieve it. We dedicate our lives to dancing just as much as any other couple. If I wasn't able to do dancing because of work, dancing would always come first!”
How did you feel when you went to Blackpool?
Oskar: “This was our second time, but every time you go to Blackpool it's momentous, you step onto that floor and you see the lights, hear the music, and get butterflies in your stomach.”
Lauren: “Yes, Blackpool’s the most special place for us to dance and we dance our best there. It's the home of Latin and ballroom and it's nice to have all the countries come together in one place. We prepare for months beforehand though and train for about five or six days a week, it’s blood, sweat and tears — literally!”
The film shows you getting ready with costumes, hair and makeup before you compete. Is that the fun part?!
Lauren: “I don't like the makeup and the hair much and I’d rather go out in trousers or tracksuits! But getting the dresses is fun because you pick out your colours and style and experiment. Getting the fake tan’s my favourite part. But Oskar has to tan my back!”
There are several qualifying rounds to get through in your category, and we see you waiting for your scores to see if you’ve got through to the next round, is that terrifying?
Lauren: “Yes! I hate it, it's the worst part. You work so hard, all those days and nights, and then it just all boils down to this one thing. I’m getting used to it, but I don't think that feeling will ever go away.”
Oskar: “Anything can happen. We don't assume we're just going to sail through, so it means that much more when our number is called, or it can have more of a knock when it's not.”
Would you love to appear on Strictly one day?!
Lauren: “Oh yes, I watch it every year. My nan and mum love it and my auntie’s obsessed with Giovanni [Pernice]! So that would be a dream as well, they look like they have so much fun.”
Oskar “It would be great — I'm happy to be a pro or be on the judging panel! It's a lovely show and it's done a lot for ballroom dancing’s reputation. Someone like Johannes [Radebe] is a role model for black dancers, myself included, and is breaking the mould. It gives you a sense of empowerment that you feel you belong in the industry and you’re represented.”
Blackpool Dance Fever — is there a trailer?
Not yet! But as soon as one is available, we will post it here.
Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.
Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.
Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.
In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.
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