sat 13/04/2024

Strictly goes to the Proms | reviews, news & interviews

Strictly goes to the Proms

Strictly goes to the Proms

Canny brand synergy encourages fans to keep Promming

Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec performing at the Strictly Prom with conductor Gavin Sutherland and the BBC Concert OrchestraAll photographs © BBC/Mark Allan

The glitterball has landed. After loaning out Proms queen Katie Derham to Strictly Come Dancing last series, where she hauled comedy pro Anton Du Beke all the way to the final, the Beeb’s Saturday-night juggernaut returned the favour by waltzing a ballroom troupe over to the Albert Hall. Would it be a perfect partnership or murder on the dancefloor? 

Purists may have baulked at the advent of sequins and feathered hems, but – following on from similar BBC brand synergy Doctor Who and Sherlock editions – it was a shrewd effort to capitalise on the channel’s hit show and bring in a new Proms audience. It would also have been a welcome change for Strictly’s dancers, usually saddled with lead-footed celebs and challenged to make quickstep and The Who seem like natural bedfellows.

Derham encored her leaderboard-topping Viennese waltz, this time in the arms of Aljaž Škorjanec (a significant upgrade), while the pros produced everything from samba and quickstep to tricks-filled Charleston. Meanwhile, the BBC Concert Orchestra, under the baton of ENB's Gavin Sutherland, produced a winning, dance-inspired programme – including Satie, Piazzolla, Tchaikovsky and Bizet – taking full advantage of this more populist showcase to encourage fans to keep Promming.

See images from the Strictly Prom below


Disappointing in the extreme when you think what could have been achieved. The Katie Derham show combined with an evening of light classics. Cmon bbc, you can do better than this when Strictly is so musically rich! 

Yes quite agree. I lost the will to live. BBC gave the dancers such a confined space it just boiled down to a backwards and forwards motion.

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