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Strictly goes to the Palace

BBC plans spectacular in the King’s ballroom in 2024 to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary


STRICTLY Come Dancing is waltzing to Buckingham Palace for a royal spectacular to mark 20 years of being on TV, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

In what will be a first for the programme, an episode during next year’s series will be screened live from the central London residence – and there will almost certainly be an appearance from Queen Camilla, who is a huge fan of the show.

Strictly sources say the BBC and royal officials have already decided which room the show will be held in, believed to be the ballroom, and it is understood the episode will mirror the familiar show set-up at Elstree Studios as much as possible.

One insider told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There have been talks going on for some time now. Camilla loves Strictly, so what a dream this is for her. It has been about getting the timing right and 2024 is the year. Strictly started in 2004 so it is two decades. There is huge excitement about this happening – it is going to be quite a night.

‘The Queen has been a long-standing fan of the show, so it feels like a perfect fusion. There has already been so much thought that has gone into this, the room has been selected and it will be absolutely stunning.’

Camilla’s love for Strictly is well known. In April 2022, she told 2021 winner Rose Ayling-Ellis she had voted for her, adding: ‘I don’t know how you did all those dances.’

As well as the fleet-footed Queen – who danced with Craig Revel Horwood and Brendan Cole on the Strictly Christmas special in 2017 – another royal who will be delighted to see the show staged at the Palace is Princess Charlotte who, her mother Kate revealed last year, ‘loves ballet and tap’. The Princess of Wales herself is another keen viewer and only last week, took Charlotte and Prince Louis to the Strictly studios, where they were said to be ‘overjoyed’ to watch the dress rehearsals.

Sources have said it is likely that the semi-final of the show will be held at the Palace, because it would be ‘almost impossible’ to have a large number of couples taking part there. The finale is also too much of a huge production to take away from Elstree, in Hertfordshire, and there is expected to be a reduced audience size at the Palace because of the room being smaller than the usual studio.

It is understood that there were vague plans to hold Strictly in Buckingham Palace last year to mark the end of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

However, her ailing health meant the plans were shelved and the project reworked.

Buckingham Palace’s ballroom was completed in 1855, during the reign of Queen Victoria.

It was originally known as the Ball and Concert Room, and features a musicians’ gallery complete with an organ, which will mean that Strictly’s orchestra – led by conductor Dave Arch – can take part.

During Victorian times, there were frequent formal dances held in the stunning room, which – at 120ft long, 60ft wide and 45ft in height – is the largest room in the Palace.

A Strictly spokeswoman declined to comment.

IT WAS one of the closest semifinals in Strictly history last night as four couples battled for a spot in next week’s finale.

In preparation for the showdown, all of the contestants put in eight-hour days as they pulled out all the stops to reach the final.

Annabel Croft and partner Johannes Radebe danced a salsa to You’ll Be Mine (Party Time) by Gloria Estefan, along with a Viennese waltz to the Slow Moving Millie version of Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.

Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell performed a paso doble of Run Boy Run and a quickstep to Mack The Knife by Bobby Darin, which impressed head judge Shirley Ballas, who awarded them with a 10 and told Brazier: ‘You are now the king of ballroom.’ Meanwhile, Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola did the cha-cha to the Bette Midler version of Mambo Italiano, as well as a couples’ choice dance to a Dua Lipa medley.

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin, who scored the series’ first perfect 40 during Musicals Week, danced a rumba to Lift Me Up by Rihanna, scoring a total of 36, and then a Charleston to Fit As A Fiddle by Gene Kelly.





dmg media (UK)