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Strictly waltzes into virtual world

Strictly Come Dancing is going virtual after the BBC signed a deal to take its hit show online.

UK users of the Stardoll website, which is aimed at teenage girls, will be able to dress their avatars in the show's trademark sequinned outfits, get props and design their own dancefloor for the online characters.

There are 145 million avatars, known by users as MeDolls, on the site, which has members around the world.

Simon Hutson, director of digital development at BBC Worldwide, said: "Attracting new audiences as well as building strong relationships with some of the show's most passionate young fans in new and engaging ways marks a very exciting move for the Strictly brand.

"This digital world allows fans to experience the glamour of the ballroom before, during and after the show's transmission, and ensures they have their own way of interacting with the show in an environment they already socialise in."

The move is the latest step in the show's huge commercial success.

The most recent series, won by McFly drummer Harry Judd, regularly beat ITV rival The X Factor in the ratings attracting more than 12 million viewers.

The hit ballroom show has been sold to more than 35 countries under the name Dancing With The Stars and is estimated to have an audience of around half-a-billion in 75 countries around the world.

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