Strictly Come Dancing

What It’s Like to See Strictly Live in the Studio

Today I’m going to tell you what it’s like to go to see Strictly being recorded live in the studio (it’s a long one so buckle up!). 
The Application Process
So, let’s start in the beginning. A couple of weeks before Strictly starts (I think around August) you can apply for tickets to every Strictly show on the BBC website from the Launch to Blackpool to the Final. You can choose which weeks you want to go but to get the best chance you should apply to them all. Millions of people apply to each show so it’s very unlikely you will get tickets but it’s always worth applying!

About 2-3 weeks before the show you selected you will get an email telling you whether you were successful or not (don’t get excited until you read the email, I do every time and then I see that I wasn’t successful😂).
What Happens When You Get Picked?
Successful applicants then travel to Elstree for the show. We headed to Elstree on the Friday ready for the show on the Saturday. We stayed in a hotel about a 5-minute drive from the studios. On the day of the show, you need to queue and wait until midday for your ticket to be validated. Until the ticket is validated, there’s no guarantee that you will be able to go to the recording. When we went, there were people who had been waiting as early as 5 AM to be sure they will get in. We arrived sometime between 7 – 8 AM as we had never done it before we wanted to be sure we would get in after travelling so far for it but some people were arriving about 11-11.30AM who still got in.

If you ever get as far as going to Elstree to get your ticket validated, I would recommend taking a chair with you because you will be waiting a while. Also, be prepared for the weather, when we went, it rained the entire time so take a coat and umbrella just in case because it is the British winter we’re talking about here!

After your ticket is validated, you go away for a few hours and come back for the recording (I think about 4/5PM). When you go back to the studios in the evening you need to get your bag searched, hand in your phone and coats, umbrellas etc and wait until you can go into the studio. While you’re waiting you can buy drinks and snacks to have before entering the studio. They then start filling the studio row by row. Where you sit is dependent on where you were in the queue so the people you were sat next to in line to get validated are likely to be next to you in the studio which is great because you get to talking while you’re waiting to be validated. In my case, I was talking to two ladies next to me about our favourite competitors in previous years and the current year (at the time mine was Frankie and Kevin and hers were Jake and Janette).
Inside the Studio

When everyone has been seated, the warm-up guy comes out, explains what’s going to happen etc and plays a few games/competitions. Before the live show starts, the professional dancers and the musical guest pre-record their dances for the Sunday night show. The week I was there, the professional dance was this one:

And the musical guest was Barry Manilow who performed two songs (which is unusual as the musical guest usually only does one).

When the professional dance has been recorded, they watch it back and decide whether it was good enough to use, if not, they do it again. A big factor of whether this happens is audience participation, if the audience doesn’t clap or cheer enough, they do it again.

When we were there, they also pre-recorded the musical guest for the next week who was Alfie Boe and André Rieu (I think they recorded their performance after the live show).

After the pre-recording is done, it’s almost time to go live! Tess and Claudia come out and do a quick rehearsal and then it’s SHOWTIME!

When the live show is finished, you have a quick break where you can pop to the toilet etc and then they give you a kit kat and a carton of juice. When the public vote closes, they pre-record the Sunday night results show. It’s such a strange situation, as you can see from the video above, Claudia says ‘please welcome …’ but there’s nobody really there so you get told to clap and cheer etc so that they can blend it with the claps from the already pre-recorded performance.

When the elimination was recorded, I have NEVER felt so tense in my entire life, it was terrible, I don’t know how the contestants go through it every week! After the show is finished, the audience starts to leave while the couples do their interviews about the week to come, the week just passed and the eliminated couple etc. 

After the Show

When I went, I waited because I really wanted to meet Frankie and Kevin, I absolutely loved The Saturdays and I love Kev as you probably know if you’re a regular reader. We were sitting about 5 (ish) rows from the dance floor and I was slowly making my way closer and closer to the dance floor. There was a security guy stood on the edge of the floor who I could see was watching me (and I don’t blame him, I probably looked a bit nuts😂). Frankie and Kevin had finished their interviews and were leaving the side we were sitting so I tried going to them and I called them but the security guy stopped me. Frankie told him it was alright and she and Kev came to talk to me! I can’t really remember what I said other than they were my faves and I voted for them every week (Kev gave me a high five) and then they left and I was shaking, literally, couldn’t believe what had happened. Also, before the show Joanne was performing a dance with Barry Manilow and she came into the studio right where I was sitting but there were about 3 other people between me and her, the lady who I had been talking to who liked Jake and Janette told Jo I had been tweeting her all morning (I had been tweeting them all while we were waiting to get our tickets validated and I was speaking to Jo on twitter) so when the lady told her who I was she was so kind and said ‘oh come here!’ and she hugged me, bearing in mind there were 3 other people between us so it wasn’t a proper hug but it was so kind of her! 

That was absolutely the best day of my life, I got to see my favourite show being recorded which I had always wanted to do and I met 3 of my favourite people which was just the icing on the cake!

Have you ever been to see a live taping? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! Also, if there’s anything else you want to know that I might have missed, comment or tweet me @Strictly_Emma.

Thanks for reading, Em xo

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About Em

My name is Em and this is my little corner of the internet where I post my ramblings and opinions on the things that go on in my world.
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  • It was amazing, every Strictly fan should experience it at least once!

    Em xo

  • This is was so interesting to read. I used to love Strictly and watch it every week. I always wondered what going to a live show would be like. Sounds like you had an amazing time!

    Abby |