TV

Strictly’s behind the scenes secrets revealed

Here's how the magic happens!

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A record 13.1m million viewers tuned in to the Strictly Come Dancing final on Saturday to see Joe McFadden win the glitterball trophy.

Just 600 got to see him do it live. That’s the capacity for the audience in the studio where the BBC show is filmed in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire – in a hanger next to the Big Brother house (with the exception of course of one show which is broadcast from the Blackpool Ballroom).

A record number of viewers saw Joe McFadden win Strictly on Saturday (Credit: BBC)

A seat in the audience is so hard to come by, even gaining a ticket doesn’t guarantee you’re entry – unless you’re famous or related to a dancer.

You can obtain one via the BBC website, and they share details on when they are available via Twitter and a newsletter you can sign up for.

Those who do have a ticket have to queue on Saturday morning to get in and not everyone does as the BBC deliberately issue more tickets than they can accommodate to ensure there are no empty seats.

Susan Calman's Strictly girl squad is jam-packed with A-list talent
A place in the audience is hard to come by unless you are famous or related to a dancer! (Credit: BBC)

As a result, many go away disappointed but one reporter from the Huffington Post was lucky enough to gain entry and has now shared some of the show’s behind the scenes secrets, such as just where does Tess Daly disappear to when the dances are being performed?

And why does it take so long for the judges to reveal their scores?

The answer to the first question is that when the Strictly ballroom is built in the hanger, a special pillar is put in place to hide Tess.

Tess disappears behind a pillar like the one seen behind her here (Credit: BBC)

This means she can seamlessly do her link, then disappear out of sight while the dancer perform, then reappear as if by magic to welcome them over to hear their feedback from the judges.

Read more: Tess Daly admits marriage to Vernon Kay is still a ‘work in progress’

Despite the dance taking place inches away from her, Tess has to watch it on a monitor, also hidden behind her pillar, so she remains out of sight.

It’s the same for Claudia Winkleman who stands on a balcony above the dance floor for the majority of the show.

BBC
Claudia Winkleman has to fill time till the crew have been told all the judges’ scores (Credot: BBC)

Rather than peer down during the performances, she is provided with a monitor to watch them on.

The reason she then has to fill so much time talking to the celebrities and their partners before they find out their scores is because the judges first have to tell the crew what they have decided.

They do this by revealing their marks via a small keypad on the table so the team are then ready to insert them into graphics on screen when the judges lift up their paddles and show the rest of us what they decided.

BBC
The behind the scenes team create graphics to show the score beneath the judges’ paddles – helpful if you can’t add up! (Credit: BBC)

It also means they can instantly show viewers the total score and leaderboard.

All members of the audience must sacrifice their mobile phone before entering the studio. This ensures no backstage pictures can be shared online, and no dance is interrupted by a phone ringing because someone has forgotten to turn it off!

However, despite this secrecy, one major spoiler has long leaked out – and that’s that the Sunday results show is actually filmed on Saturday night.

After the first show finishes, the audience are given a loo break while the presenters and judges quickly go and change and re-do their hair and make-up.

BBC
The results show is filmed on Saturday not Sunday so isn’t live (Credit: BBC)

When they return, the show is actually filmed out of sequence, with the performance from a famous singer done after the opening show dance and then inserted later into the programme during the edit.

Being able to edit the show means the presenters and judges can reshoot moments if they mess up their lines.

However, they can never complain about not knowing how to pronounce any difficult names as they are all given phonetically on their autocue.

The results show can be edited, such as taking out Brian Conley’s “rant” when he was booted off (Credit: BBC)

Editing would have saved Shirley Ballas the embarrassment of getting Charlotte Hawkins and Mollie King’s names mixed up like she did on one live show!

It means if anyone slips up and forgets to refer to the live show as “yesterday” they can re-film, while they can also edit out anything the star says on their exit that might be inappropriate.

For instance, this year Brian Conley was accused of having a “rant” after he was voted off the show which was later edited out because he was swearing.

The audience watch the dancers like Joe for more than five hours! (Credit: BBC)

He later had to say his comments had all been in jest as he was trying to liven-up the audience. Well, they have been in their seats for hours!

Read more: Strictly dancer Gorka allegedly dating behind Gemma Atkinson’s back

The behind the scenes source said it can take more than five hours to film the live show followed by the results show, but what the TV audience see of the latter is much shorter.

So now we know!

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