Debbie McGee: Strictly in Blackpool like going to teenage prom
Blackpool Week is here!
Strictly star Debbie McGee has compared the show’s landmark Blackpool week to attending a “teenage prom”.
The former magician’s assistant – among the favourites to take this year’s glitterball trophy – will perform a samba to a Spice Girls medley with partner Giovanni Pernice on Saturday night’s show.
Ahead of taking to the dancefloor at Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom, McGee said: “I don’t know what to expect from Blackpool … I’ve got butterflies like I’m going to a teenage prom.
“For all the pros, it’s incredibly special to them and they’ve worked so hard for us that it’s our way of paying them back.”
“It’s a milestone,” she added.
Fellow favourite Alexandra Burke – who topped the leaderboard last week – said her professional partner, Gorka Marquez, had drummed into her the importance of Blackpool.
She said: “He said ‘How would it feel to headline your own concert at the Royal Albert Hall?’ I said it would be a dream come true and he went ‘That’s how we feel about Blackpool’.
“It’s the biggest thing for them as dancers to grace that floor and dance on that floor.
“That is the level of respect (they) have for Blackpool and how much love we have.
“When he said it like that it took me back and I was like ‘Whoa, I really want to do this for you now’.”
Other Strictly celebrities also spoke of the importance of Saturday night’s show, with Paralympian Jonnie Peacock calling it a “big deal”.
Casualty star Joe McFadden said: “I know how much it means to the pros, I know how much it means to Katya (Jones).
“She’s won eight national titles and a world title there. It’s really important for them and they say it’s such a beautiful room.”
Photos of the stars arriving in Blackpool earlier this week showed them in high spirits.
Gemma Atkinson and Aljaz Skorjanec were in a fun mood as they arrived at Blackpool Tower wearing brightly-coloured novelty sunglasses.
Skorjanec took to Twitter to share a video of Atkinson as she made her way into the world-famous venue for the first time.
McGee revealed her affection for the northern city with a printed “I (heart) BPL” bag as she arrived for rehearsals.
Also left in the competition are EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami, The Saturdays star Mollie King and Scottish comedian Susan Calman.
:: Strictly Come Dancing’s Blackpool Week special airs on BBC One at 6.45pm on Saturday November 18.