Being part of the audience at Strictly Come Dancing

Tess and Claudia, keep dancing!
Tess and Claudia, keep dancing

I had the thrill of attending the live performance of Strictly Come Dancing, at Elstree Studios on Saturday 11th October.  What a day!  What a process…

I received the news when I was in Spain, a text some 18 days before the show, telling me that I’d been successful in the ballot.  Much screaming and jumping up and down on my part.  My friend Barbara and I have been applying for 10 years, and we knew that one day our dedication would pay off – but I hadn’t appreciated quite how lucky we were.  There are about 400 seats for the public (and about the same for guests).  Apparently 800 tickets get issued (they don’t want an empty studio), and – wait for it – 1.6 million people applied for the 800.  We were extremely lucky (and no, I didn’t do the lottery on that day).

The tickets came through via email, with very clear instructions and hints.  They tell you that more people apply than have seats, that you will be outside waiting to be validated, that your tickets get validated at 12:00, but people are there before.  I was determined not to miss out on this opportunity, so an internet research yielded some terrific advice (thanks Digital Spy Forums).  Clearly there were people who didn’t read the tickets properly, or thought to do any research.  Several people rocked up around noon (and later), and were handing their tickets to the security at the front only to be told to join the queue… and with some 500-600 people ahead of them, they stood no chance of getting in.  I would have cried had this been me.

Like a child on Christmas Eve, I barely slept the night before showtime.  We were in London anyway, but I would never have come up from Cornwall on the day.  Too stressful. I’d planned out the train journey from Blackfriars, which would see me in the queue at Elstree for 09:30.  I’m happy to report that it all went perfectly.  Even the weather – it was forecast for rain showers, but it held off, and the southerly wind from the Azores meant that it was a balmy day.  Well, relatively for October.  I still had on a sailing coat and boots.  Some of the ladies walking past in scrappy sandals and ballgowns… brrrrrr…. makes me shiver to think about it!  Oh, and yes, there is a dress-code; well it is Strictly (and no jeans, please).

Please form an orderly queue!
Please form an orderly queue!

We queued for about 3.5 hours, all told, to get validated.  Fortunately we were queueing with some lovely people (a Scottish couple from Aberdeen who had applied for the first time for that day as they were in town.. !! A couple from Devon, Kevin and Trev, who were a hoot.. and a couple from Pompey who’d been the year before…even more lucky !!), so the time passed with lots of banter, Strictly observations, thoughts and whenever we’d turn to politics or religion or anything heavy, I’d cry out “Let’s stay with the glitter, people!”  We did laugh – and apparently we were the loudest in the queue.  Because you get validated in order, Barbara and I being 174 and 175, and you go into the studio in number order, we were able to be together in the studio itself.  This added to the gloriousness of the experience, without a doubt.

So, knowing that we were definitely in, we could leave and find lunch and change into our Strictly finery.  Elstree isn’t exactly great on catering options (unless you like a Chinese takeaway or are fine with a Nandos), but I’d spotted a Turkish restaurant which was more than adequate.  We’d booked a hotel room, so we could change and leave our mobile phones safely.  Oh yes, that’s another thing, as stated on the tickets, no mobile phones allowed (bag searches mean they confiscate them, and you get them back at the end of the evening… another long queue).  Although that rule didn’t seem to apply to the celebrities or production staff.

Yes, all this time, and all these words (600 so far) and not a sequin to be seen!  We had to be back at 15:30, same place, to queue to get into the studios.  Or at least, a marquee as a holding pen for the rather presentable Strictly-loving public.  Lots of glitter, sequins, dolly-shoes, and hair straightened within an inch of its split ends.  We were in the marquee before the heavens opened, but there were a number of very soggy people coming through.  I think I would have cried here too (not that I’d bothered to do anything with my hair under my hat).  It was here that the announcer told us that 1.6m people had applied.  Her message was repeatedly to use the loos!  And she was right.  There are no loos at the studios, so practical advice would be to drink very little and channel your inner-camel!  In the six hours that we were in the studio, I impressed myself by not needing to pee at all (mind you, I hardly drank anything, and had a cracking headache later to pay for it).

So, this little girl (remember, not sleeping because it was like Christmas Day) was getting very excitable now that we were about to go and see Santa Claus!  We were called into the studio in batches, 0-30, 50-100, 100-150, 150-175 (etc), rather like loading a plane.  Our tickets were checked off when we went through, and people were gracious by standing back and making a path.  It was a kind of reward for those that had queued longest – and a very British judgment I know!  We were lead through the back of the studio, scaffolding and boards of MDF.  Not exactly a salubrious entry, but then….  Oh wow.

images-1

A thousand sparkles around the studio, the audience filling the seats (not the most comfortable, cable-tied together and on planks so you have so little space to sit), the sound of the band warming up, the crackle of excitement in the atmosphere.  The sight of the dance floor – it looks smaller than you imagine it to be.  We were sitting at the back, opposite the judges, with a view up to Claudia’s gallery, behind the bank of celebrities and the production staff’s guests.  It was now 16:30, and the Strictly experience was about to begin.  My stomach was fluttering, and I had a smile as wide as the Cheshire Cat.  I was in Strictly heaven.

The whole evening was ‘managed’ by the Floor Manager, Adam, and a professional warm-up bloke – who looked like Dale Winton (and used to be on the live tour).  It is very orchestrated, and we had rehearsals, as an audience, in clapping, booing, doing “Len’s lens” oohs, standing ovations (some sections can’t do it because of camera angles at certain times).   Lots of joke telling by not-Dale, and generally winding us all up.  There were a couple of things that were recorded.  The opening pro-dance routine, for one.  It was movie themed week, which I was thrilled about – as I thought the celebrities usually tried a bit harder (some didn’t live up to my expectation).  The opening number involved the judges singing, which was a bit cringe-worthy, but good on the entertainment stakes (I think that was probably more appreciated in the studio than on the TV), and introduced Donny Osmond, guest judge.  They had to do the number twice, not sure why, it didn’t look much different on the second run to us!  Donny Osmond did his rendition of ‘Moon River’, a thoroughly beautiful song, with Anton and Joanne dancing.  They were utterly gorgeous, such a light and fluffy routine.  I always wondered how they did the pro-dance routine and got them changed so quickly to do the grand entrance (the stars of the show), but of course, it’s recorded about an hour before the show goes live.

Claudia and Tess then came on the studio floor to say hello and rehearse a little, and shoot a couple of ‘links’.  They were hysterical.  I never imagined that Claudia Winkleman would be so nervous, but she really is.  I adore Claudia.  She was complaining about the dress and the shoes, and she was staggering around the stage, mucking about.  She told us she had two pairs of spanx on and couldn’t really breathe – the dress is meant for a child, she said.  Her hair really is that glossy, and she really is that impish.  Many lines are on auto-cue, but in her little gallery, she comes to her own, just being herself.  Funny, feisty and enthusiastic.  Some people say that Tess is wooden; well, she isn’t off-screen.  She was joking and chatting.  I just think she has a different nature to Claudia, and anyone would look wooden next to the enigmatic Claude.

All of a sudden, it’s showtime.  Where did the two hours go?  The opening titles rolled, we clapped in time (no da-da-da-ing allowed), and then it is as much as you know from the TV show.  Only, I was there live!  And saw bits that you don’t see.  The amazing work of the floor teams who change the sets, the ripples of tension that the audience feels in response to the judges, or a moving dance.  The power of the singers and the band.  INCREDIBLE!  The floor manager and the not-Dale behind the cameras, orchestrating the audience.  The make-up people that come and take the shine off someone’s head.  The faces on the celebrities/pros as they watch their peers.  You actually get a better view of the dancers on the TV than we did (we couldn’t see their feet, and I do like to see their feet).

My stand out dances were Kevin and Frankie’s Paso Doble, to “America”.  It was unbelievable.  The energy that she was giving off – incredible.  It was a straight standing ovation (and no, the floor manager or the not-Dale have no time to direct, that really is an audience-wide reaction).  If it had been later in the series, it would have had 10s – does a “Donny 10” really count?  The other was Sunetra and Brendan’s American Smooth (can’t recall the music). She was so graceful, so gorgeous and it was a delightful routine.  I wanted to be her on the dance floor in that moment.  That red dress – to die for!

So, by now it’s 20:30 and the TV audience has left us to do the business of the Sunday night show.  We had about 20 minutes, so some were off to the loos.  We were given a KitKat and a carton of Apple Juice by the BBC – we were flagging a bit, so the sugar hit was a nice one.  I watched the stars mingle with their loved ones, or their guests, and watched a very tender moment between Frankie and Wayne Bridge (he looked like a lost soul when he’d arrived). Awwww…

And then it was the recording of the opening dance routine for the Sunday Show.  This was recorded twice, for reasons that it wasn’t clear to me.  Here we’d been moved to the front row, as some of the celebs weren’t back in time.  I had Denis Van Outen’s seat (the obvious body double, hahahahaha), and I thoroughly enjoyed the ring-side views.  The pros are awesome – so slick, quick!  Except Anton, who was given a comic role to slide down the chimneys.  He is Ballroom King, of course, but not always so good on the latin or freestyle routines.  They also recorded the opening sequence for Tess and Claudia.  They were to ‘pop up’ from the chimneys, but Tess couldn’t bend in her very tight dress, so that was hysterical.  They did that a few times.  Claudia had to re-do a couple of times her gag with the eye-makeup and the chimney brush – awkward.  The section of Len’s lens was recorded next, and then I think, on to the first elimination.  This is highly edited on TV, because in the moments before they are all laughing and joking, so the degree of terror must be ‘enhanced’ in the editing.  There was genuine shock for Simon and Kristina, and much muttering in the audience.  There is a short break, they must record something else (links for Zoe, perhaps).   They then do the second round of eliminations, another pause.  Then the dance-off and the decisions are recorded seamlessly, almost like it’s live.  That was great to watch.  22:30 and it’s a wrap.

As to why the results aren’t leaked – well, you can find them online if you search – but they ask us to abide by the “Strictly Oath” and not post anything on social media.  I decided that if someone asked me, I’d answer, but I wouldn’t be the snitch!

It was an immense day, everything that I hoped it would be (getting in was the biggest hurdle).  It was a very long day, and I got back into London long after midnight.  Hungry, headachy and on a high – so I didn’t sleep well the Saturday night either.  Would I go again? Only if I could have Denise van Outen’s seat throughout!

Update for 2015 …

Some very lovely people have made comments which update the picture for gaining entry this year (2015).  Thank you all for your updates. It’s becoming a Strictly Public Service Broadcast, which I rather love. It’s grown since my ‘need’ to blog about it!

Thanks to Gema, Elaine, Paul, Sarah J, Steve O, Nick, Judy, Janie, Natalie, Bob, Maxine, Marty, Sarah, Graeme, Mrs B, Hannah, Bob, Arthur, Sharon, Gemma and Clare for additional feedback.

  • There are still no ID checks.
  • Amendment to procedure – only one person need queue to validate both tickets. This has been confirmed by several people, and is in supplementary information provided by the BBC.
  • There’s a Tesco nearby for loos!
  • Validation takes place at 09:00 (or thereafter) and NOT 12:00 as was the case in 2014.
  • The IBIS is 5 minutes walk away, and Premier Inn 20 minutes away.
  • Variable views on the temperature in the Studio… advice would be to have layers (as well as glitter!).
  • The BBC have been helpful in helping with the transfer of ticket names. Telephone number reported to be 0370 9011227 (not checked by me!).
  • There’s a public car park next to The IBIS, £5 for the day, but free before 08:00.
  • In the holding area, there’s a photo booth for entertainment. Still not enough chairs!
  • The studio doors are opposite the entrance to the holding area – top right. In my memory they were large black, double doors (??)
  • 4.8 million people applied this year (2015) for tickets… so how lucky are you to get a pair?!
  • Seat allocation/queue times seems variable, but here’s a summary. Earliest arrivals seems to be around 02:00. So, on different dates the reports were… 02:10 3/4. 03:30 11/12. 05:30 25/26. 05:30 50/51. 06:00 79/80. 06:15 76/77. 06:20 77/78. 06:35 159/160. 06:45 116/117. 07:00 129/130. 08:00 197/198. 08:00 297/298. Anecdotes of people arriving at 10:00 and ‘getting in fine’, and another day when at 13:30, people still got in.

Blackpool is still a bit of a mystery, but hopefully, will be able to make some observations on that one!

Keeeeeep dancing!

Thank you also to Gema for the photos (I did crop out the loo in the background, very un-Strictly!) …

IMG_7696

IMG_7691

IMG_7690

Gema and friend meeting Aljaz (nope, not jealous, not one bit... )
Gema and friend meeting Aljaz (nope, not jealous, not one bit… )

633 thoughts on “Being part of the audience at Strictly Come Dancing”

  1. We got tickets for a recent performance but could not get over the night before so decided not to come as we would arrive too late to get our tickets validated ( we live in the Channel Islands ) As it happens there was a traffic control problem in south of England so we would have not been able to have got to elstree the night before . We would have loved to have gone but really could not risk the expense only not to get admittance . Although I understand the logic for the system it would be helpful if they were able to provide some guaranteed tickets for people like us .

    1. Anthony, what a great shame! I have every sympathy with your view, my husband is still balking at the idea it’s the right to stand in the queue. TBH, the view of the dancing is better from your sofa (too many heads in the way for us to see their feet), but it was such a glorious experience. It’s been a great series, and I can’t believe the final is days away.

  2. I braved the queues on Saturday 13 December. We were there at 6.30am and got tickets 26 & 27, supposedly the best seats in the house. It was freezing in the studio and I have never been so cold in all my life. We couldn’t concentrate as we were so cold. The best seats and we weren’t even allowed to do the standing ovations due to the cameras being behind us. I felt we missed out as we didn’t feel part of the audience. All I can say is The Magic of TV. Enjoy the show, warm and cosy in your sitting room with a nice glass of wine.

    1. Sam, apologies for the delay in responding, but life got in the way over the ‘festive’ period… We did exactly that on the show you saw, had a couple of friends over, a lovely fire going and a few vinos… The standard was disappointing that night too, I thought. Anyway. We’ve done it now! Counting down to 2015 series already! Keeeeeep Dancing!

  3. Hi Julia

    Just doing some research as I have tickets for next week and wanted to know a little bit more. You mentioned you get validated by number does that mean where you are in the queue or the number printed on the ticket you first get emailed? Where abouts were you in the queue to have that long a wait? On my ticket it says tickets will be validated from 9am, is this true or is it actually later? I’m a little nervous about validation part, as I have a chronic illness and am in a chair, I don’t want to be too unwell for the show but I really can’t pass up such a once in a lifetime experience. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated. Glad I found this post.

    Sian

    1. Hi Sian,

      Firstly congratulations on getting a golden ticket! I don’t blame you for not wanting to miss out on the opportunity. In answer to your queries, they validate you according to where you are in the queue. So, on the e-ticket I had something like 0520/0521, but it’s completely irrelevant for actually getting into the studio… that totally depended on where you were in the queue. We were 174/175 (from memory), so were relatively near the front, but we had queued a good few hours before validation. You also have to be there (or persuade someone to take your place, I guess), so I was told. So if you were going with a friend, and he/she tried to validate two tickets when there was only one person, I believe that wouldn’t have worked. So, if you could persuade someone to be in the queue for you, that might be a way around it? I’m not saying that with any guaruntee – last year they didn’t check my ID, but that may have changed. Perhaps they’ve made it a bit more sensible and are validating from 09:00, because people are arriving early? I can’t comment. If that were this year for me, I’d be getting there a good couple of hours early, as it would have been the worst to have missed it. There is nobody that you can call is there for details concerning your being in a chair… perhaps it might be worth tweeting @bbcshowstours? Anyway. I’m glad you found the post, and I hope that my answers help (and give hope!). I have everything crossed for you getting in, and WHEN you do, would love to hear how you got on. Julia x

      1. They have changed the rules this year, it says that one person can validate two tickets, it came on an email with the tickets, we are still both going (just incase!!!) Also are you allowed to take food and drink in?

  4. Hi Julia,

    We have got tickets for next weeks show and after reading your amazing article we are both mega excited. We both can’t wait. I just hope the weather is dry when we are in the queue. Fingers crossed we get seats!! Keeeeeeep dancing! Gem

    1. Hi Gem, I bet you’re both completely stoked! Fingers crossed you’re blessed with a dry day and not like we’ve been having of late. I can’t wait to Staaaaaaart dancing! Everything’s crossed for you getting seats, but you should do, as not everyone will be as prepared as you are. Have a super time! Julia x

  5. Hi,
    This article has been very helpful. Does anyone one know what size bag you can take in the studio and if you can take food in? Worried I won’t survive from 3pm till 10.30pm without food.

    1. Hi Jane. We were allowed a small handbag (minus the mobile phone!), but anything of any size and people were being asked to leave them in the cloakroom facilities… which you couldn’t get to during the recording of the show. So, if you do take anything, make sure it’s diddy! You do get a kitkat/juice! Not exactly highly nutricious, but… TBH, with all the excitement, I didn’t really notice a lack of food. My diabetic mum would have struggled, I know.

      1. My husband and I went to the show on the 14th,and I took a medium size handbag and therewas no problem at all. I took an unopened bottle of water and a gluten free snack plus some mints. We also had a good lunch. It was fab,enjoy the show.

    2. Hi Jane, I took my normal handbag in which is 35cm x 30cm, I think I had some nuts & crackers in the bag but didn’t notice being hungry and usually I am terrible for going without food. We did have a late lunch though! Have fun.

  6. Hello Julia, 2 of my friends from work are GLITTER BALL mad and try to get tickets every year. I thought I would try this year to get them. And I have for 3rd October. However I AM BUSY really cannot get out of it. Can my 2 glitter ball mad friends use the tickets? I would gave taken 1 of them anyway but when I registered for tickets I was free every week but I’m not that weekend. What checks do they do as the tickets are in my name?

    1. I think my answer to the second post you made should address it. As I said, there were no ID checks last year on the day we attended….

  7. Hello Julia, firstly I’m not mad, but I don’t share the same Glitter Ball happiness as my 2 friends from work. They are both Strickly Come Dancing mental. We work in a primary school and this year we all registered for tickets to the live shows. I found out on Friday that I’ve been lucky to have been chosen for 2 tickets on 3rd October. To say my friends are happy us an understatement. However due to not wanting to upset either of them can they gave the tickets? We are all worried as they are in my name what ID do they check. I cannot go on that day anyway I gave something I cannot get out off. Please can someone help as I’m going to work/school tomorrow and gotta tell either one of them cannot go or both of them can go??.?

    1. Hi, well… Not everyone has the glittery disease to the same extent! Last year they didn’t check any ID at all, but I can’t say that won’t happen this year. They scanned the printed e-ticket and then gave us the magic sticker. You’ve presumably had your notification, but not the e-ticket itself? It gives very clear instructions on there. It’s a really tricky one, but what have they got to lose in trying? Will have everything crossed for the Glitter-obsessed duo!

      1. Thank you Julia, I’ve printed all E – tickets plus info and all I can gather is ID for under 18’s.
        I thought how do they check ID for people who “stand in for” friends i.e the lady in the chair who couldn’t wait in the line all that time. I’m just worried because if I don’t go with the MADDER of my 2 friends she’ll miss out, but I really cannot go that day. Have you had anyone on your blog that have gone this year so far? Who would know about ID. Also I thought it’s 2 Tickets per household and I have 5 in mine if every one of us applied and got 2 Tickets who would go? The person who has an email address or 2 others???? All very uncertain. X

        1. No one has commented who’s been this year, but perhaps we will after Friday/Saturday (not that I’m counting down or anything.. Haha)… Who knows how the ticketing system works, but perhaps it does on postcode??!! Like I say, what have they got to lose by trying? If they didn’t they might regret it. Just tell them to get early for queuing!! Let’s hope that someone responds with some more current information too!! x

          1. Thanks Julia, trouble is I only have a paper driving licence I refused to get a new photo one..call me old fashioned. I could give them my passport, and paper licence. Or failing that go with them valudate the ticket then leave them to enjoy. Possibility??!!!

    2. Hi Denise
      I went last year and they definitely checked our ticket against photo id- I think it was my driving licence! I can’t remember but I think the ticket has your name/address on! It could have changed as I saw an email that says they check you in from 9am, well that’s different to last year as it was from midday. It is worth a try, do either of them look like you?

    1. Hi Denise, I’m sorry but I’ve no idea! I know that we weren’t checked, and the Scottish couple we queued with had no ID on them (passports were in the hotel safe). This is when we need more contributors. I’d hate to say one way or another….

      1. Hopefully this may be helpful to others as your comments proved very helpful to us. We got our tickets validated this morning for tonight’s show. We got there at 8.00am and got numbers 197 & 198 and nobody was asked for ID around us.
        I hope this helps ……. Now roll on 5pm for some glitter magic

        1. Brilliant Paul – I’m sure you’ve made a few people very happy… Thank you so much for taking the trouble to update!

  8. Hi Julia,

    Me again. I was just wondering if there are any toilets on site when we are queuing up outside in the morning? Thanks. X

    1. Hi Gema, well I surprised myself by not needing one! We queued next to the park (ie not within the studio boundary), and there were no facilities there. However, I believe that the folks in The IBIS hotel were very understanding or there’s a TESCO nearby. People were good about holding spaces etc. I don’t remember it being an issue. There are posh portaloos inside the studiosfor the studio audience (but you can’t get to them during the recording). Hope that helps! x

  9. Ive just got tickets for the 10th oct and im SOOOOOPER excited, Its the validation thing that worries me. If you can get validated from 9am, do you thin kthat means we have to be in a queue from before 7am? I need to mentally prepar myself ha ha xx

    Still cant believe ive got tickets!!! squuuueeeeeee!!!

    1. Hi Amanda, CONGRATULATIONS!! Awesome news. I think that’s the equivalent one we saw last year (movie themed week, do you think??!!) I’d need to mentally prepare myself too. I’ve no idea – perhaps someone will be kind enough to update in the comments so that you can prepare yourself! x

        1. Been before?! Wow, Liz you’re super-lucky? Don’t suppose you’d consider giving an update so that I can add it into the blog? What do you say? I’m sure there would be many super-fans who would love you forever!

    2. Hi Amanda, congrats on getting the tickets
      We arrived in the validation queue this morning at 8.00am and got numbers 197 & 198 but by just after 9.00am when the validation begun there was at least another 100/150 behind us. Morale of the story I would say is get there no later than 8.00am
      Hope this helps and above all enjoy !!

      1. Paul, what a star! Hot news indeed…. Have a fab-u-lous day!
        Don’t consume to many liquids!! Can’t wait for the show tonight and we’re only talking about the TV!

        1. It was brilliant Gemma, the warm up guy can be funny at times and gets everyone in the spirit of things to come. They done a pre-recording for the group dance for next Saturday and then Tess and Claudia done a few warm up bits and pieces (Claudia is very funny) then it was showtime before we knew it and it was brilliant you will love it 🙂
          Enjoy

      2. This blog is SO useful . I have tickets for this Sat but will need to rush off at the end when it finishes . Does anyone know how long the queues are to retrieve your phone ? Is there a metal detector or could I maybe switch it off and hide it in my bra for a speedy exit ? !
        Also can you take your layers into the studio or do they need to go in the cloakroom .
        Super excited just more worried about the logistics

  10. Hi Julia, thought I’d update you. We joined the queue this morning at 6.15 and got seat numbers 76 & 77! We are over the moon. Landed back at our hotel to see Mr. Aljaz himself…!!! Can’t wait to go back to the studio at 3pm. X
    Ps how can I post a picture onto this newsfeed?

    1. Gema, I’m sooooo thrilled for you! And seeing Aliaz, well, that’s a Brucie Bonus (haha!). Did they check your ID? Enjoy every moment – bet time is dragging a bit now!

      As to photos. I’m not sure that you can, is the short answer. I’m limited by the peculiarities of the website – this is a comment thread to a blog post with no facility to attach photos. I could add them into the blogpost, but you’d have to email the photo to me. I can see your email address (through the admin/functionality of the site). With your permission, I could email you and then you could reply? I’ll leave that one with you.

      Keeeeeeeeep dancing!

      1. Yes! Email me and I’ll send you the photo. Strictly was amazing! The whole day was fabulous even though it was long. Would do it all again!!

  11. We got there at 10am on Friday as we were travelling far and had our tickets validated fine. Did have my ID checked though.
    Lots of waiting around but It was an amazing experience, felt so lucky to be there! Great to see what happens behind the scenes. Would definitely do it again if lucky enough to get ticket.

    1. Hi Sarah. Did you get asked for photo ID just in the morning or also going into the studio in the afternoon. Thanks 🙂

  12. Hi. I have tickets for this Sat and coming up from the South. I don’t want to be disappointed so planning to get there early but my friend has further to come and she cannot stand for long periods. Do we both need to be in the queue for validation or can I do it on behalf of us both? I am really excited!!!

    1. Hi Marina, I fear that they will only validate one ticket if one of you is in the queue. On my e-ticket from last year, point 2 was that everyone attending must be in the queue. There were people who took those camping chairs. Perhaps that’s an option? Or to have someone in the queue for her? I hope you can find a way to work it out, but it will be worth it!

      1. Thanks very much. Planning a 5am departure so should be there for 7.30, hope that’s in good time for validation! Can’t wait!!

  13. I have found this all so helpful! We have tickets for next weekend so have been able to plan more after reading about everyone’s experiences! We are staying at the ibis hotel so it looks fairly close to the studios? So just waiting to see anyone’s else’s comments from this weekend to decide what time to join the queue!! Once your tickets have been validated does that give you a seat number as well?? Or does that randomly happen in the afternoon when called through to the studio??

    1. Hi Jane, firstly congratulations on getting tickets! Or tickets to stand in a queue, as my husband says! The IBIS hotel is really close, within sight if my memory serves me right. Once you’ve been validated your tickets have another number, these aren’t seat numbers per se (as they’re not numbered), but it’s the order that you get called into the studio into. You’re directed all the time by the production staff who will tell you where to sit. Hope that helps! Have a fabulous time. Julia

      1. Thanks again Julia, just packing my bags!! So fingers crossed we get in! I will update after the weekend to help others in the coming weeks , jane .

  14. I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned what happens if you arrive when the tickets for the studio have already been allocated; we had tickets for Friday the 25th and this happened to us. I understand that people were queuing from 2am, there was around 400 people in the queue by 9am and all tickets were already allocated by noon.

    There were 100 ‘standby’ tickets issued for people turning up after validation had finished, which you might gain entry with if people with production staff tickets didn’t turn up. Much the same as the validated tickets, you are allocated a standby number (we were 81 and 82), and were told to come back at 6:30pm (the live show was later on the Friday).

    We then had to wait in a queue for around an hour and more to find out our fate, again prioritising entry by number. I am very pleased to say that everyone got in but we really didn’t know if we were going to be successful until our tickets were scanned and we stepped into the studio, it really was that touch and go and a whole rollercoaster of emotions!

    The show was phenomenal and the staff were great but I hope this serves as an example of what not to do if you can help it, but if you do get a standby ticket not all is necessarily lost!

    Also to note, we were told that if we did’t get in, we would be offered tickets for a later show (presumably having to go through the same validation process etc.) so we thought it was worth at least waiting around and getting those if we hadn’t have got in.

    ID was not asked for in our case, and not bringing the our phones to the studio avoided the queue to get them back at the end!

    1. Oh wow! What an emotional day that must’ve been! Very glad to hear that you got in, and thank you so much for this information. It must give hope to those that miss the cut off. I think I need to amend the post itself with some of the advice coming from this 2015 series. Thank you so much for taking the time to write, Steve.

  15. Hi some very interesting and helpful comments.Out of interest can anyone tell me queuing time for validating tickets .le if we arrive at 8 am how long will we wait .We have tickets for October 10.

  16. Hi all, I was there last Saturday 3rd and thought I’d let you know how it went. My cousin and I arrived for the validation process on Saturday morning at 6.45am. We were numbers 116 and 117 in the queue which we discovered when validated. The first two people in the queue had arrived at 2.45am!!! Validation (a scan of your eticket and a numbered sticker applied to it) started at around 9.10am and we were done and away by 9.30am. All in all it was a pretty painless affair as the weather was quite nice and we met 2 ladies from Devon and another 2 from Wales who were just in front of us who were lovely and a great laugh. We met up with them again in the afternoon and sat with them for the show. Meeting and chatting to nice people in the queue really did make the time fly. When validation started the staff told us that everyone in the queue would get in (probably around 500 people). There were new people still arriving at around 9am and onwards and they got in also. Personally I would not risk leaving it this late as, if you do miss out on a ticket, how sad will you be. Plus the staff did tell us that as the series moves forward people start queuing earlier and earlier. I think 7am is fine. I think getting there as early as 2,45am is a little crazy as these people looked exhausted come the evening when the recording started.
    We arrived back at the studios at around 3pm and were shown in at around 4pm. The number you are given in morning has no relevance to the queue to get on site so I think you could happily not go back until around 4pm. Once through the gate, you go in to a marquee and wait there until around 5.15pm at which point you are taken to your seats. In the marquee there is a bar, photo booth, tv’s and some seating, a cloakroom and a desk to hand in your mobile phones. When you are called to go to your seats you must line up in number order from the mornings validation process. Queuing is 50 a time and the staff then lead you to your seats in small groups of maybe 10 people. It is worth pointing out that a high number from the morning process is not necessarily a bad thing as seating is pretty random. Yes, the couple who arrived at 2.45am were sat front row on the dance floor but really I am not sure it is worth it bearing in mind how tired you will be. We were 116 and 117 and low and behold we were sat front row behind the judges. And so there I am, the beardy man sat front and centre behind the judges and in the middle of around 20 ladies. You really couldn’t miss me and I think I had more air time than most of the celebs which was not what I was expecting!! Although our view of some dances was not the best, it didn’t really matter as its the atmosphere and the people that make it and of course you’ll be watching it again when you get home anyway. The judges and dancers are all very friendly and happy to chat. I think the highlight for me was Claudia. I have always thought she was great and last Saturday between filming she proved how hilarious she is, if also a little crazy!
    Everything was wrapped up by around 10pm and leaving was quick unless you had coats or phones to pick up which might add a little bit of time but not much.
    I hope all this helps a little……..

    1. Very comprehensive report! Some things haven’t changed, but the timing obviously has.

      I fell in love with Claudia a little more too – she shows her vulnerability somehow.

      Enjoy the sofa-view this week. I’m gig racing but will be rushing home to catch the show!

    2. Nick did all your party have to be at the validation, or could i just go on my own and have mine and my mother’s tickets validated, only she’s not very good on her feet?

  17. I was allocated tickets for last Saturday – joined the queue at 6.20am with fold up chairs and had our tickets validated by 9.15am – number 077/078. (400 seats available) People were still arriving at 9am but I am not sure if they got in as the queue was very long by then.
    Returned at 3pm and again joined the queue but only waited about 15 minutes before being called through to the marquee.
    Our seats were just behind friends and family members of the celebs and dancers. Great view of everything. Stayed at the Ibis over the road from the studios – very convenient and reasonably priced. A fantastic experience!

  18. Just found out we have tickets for 24th. Soooooo excited words cannot describe. Never done anything like this before. Is it obvious where you have to go when you arrive? Have booked Premier Inn for Friday night ready for morning queuing. No idea about area, anyone any tips for how to find? And then where to have lunch after? Does it take ages for cloakroom after Show? Think we will need coats now it’s getting colder!! Any info greatly appreciated!! x

    1. Well, congratulations Alison! I think I can feel your excitement. I’m sorry I’ve no idea where the Premier Inn is relative to the studios. What does GoogleMap show you? We had lunch at a great Turkish place on Borehamwood High Street, think it’s listed in the blog. Apparently it does take an age to reclaim coats, but you won’t have much option if it’s as cold as it is now. You won’t really care when it comes to it, as you’re going to be on such a high!

      1. Thanks for info Julia. I have route from Premier Inn, what I meant was is it obvious where you have to go once you arrive. Is it the main gate? Will there be signs where to go once we get there?
        PS. Your blog has some great information, very useful. Thanks so much for all the tips!

        1. Hi Alison, check the address on the e-ticket, but it wasn’t the main gate but the Maxwell Road Gate Entrance, alongside a park. I’m guessing this is still the same? There are no signs up, or there weren’t, so make sure you have a mental map. But, you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the rather giddy queue. Check out Janies response (coming next), I think that’ll reassure you!!

          I feel like this is a Strictly Public Service Feature. Haha! Have a fab-u-lous time!

    2. Hi Alison

      Me and my friend also have tickets for this weekend and are staying in the premier inn too. It’s a 10-15min walk to the studio, which a friend of mine who went last year has drawn me a map!!!! Probably see you soon!
      We will be the very over excited pair giggling like school girls!!!

      Kate

  19. Hi again Julia, as promised my thoughts and tips after the event!! Which I hope will help you Alison! You are going to have a ball! It was one of my top 5 weekends! Loved it!!
    So here goes, thanks to Julia and everyone else that has left their comments we were able to go prepared and it made all the difference , we booked the ibis hotel for the 2 nights (I believe the premier inn is a further 20 minutes on foot ) the ibis is opposite the studios and a 4minute walk so just perfect! And no coat needed! We walked to the gates at 5.30am! And even though it was dark! You know you’re in the right place when you spot mad English people sat in chairs with blankets and coffee!! You just need to embrace it all because we loved being in the q and meeting like minded fans!! In fact the couple we met made our day yes that’s you John and Linda!! There’s a tesco s 8 minutes away so one of you can get coffee etc! Validation started at 9.15 and by 9.30 we were holding our 25/26 tickets!!!! And absolutely beside ourselves!!! So it was back to the hotel for a late breakfast then a little sleep !zzzzz sorry this is turning into an essay!
    Briefly , you return to gates at 2.30/3 it’s a marque with cloakroom , toilets , bar! And lots of very excited people and lots of sparkle !! You get called through by your numbers , so very fair after all that queuing! Think that was about 4.15 and it finished about 10.15 , I won’t spoil it as to what happens in the studio but I can say you really will love it , my daughter said she had high expectations but it even surpassed them! Yes, there was a fairly long q at the end but hey who cares you really will still be buzzing and won’t want to leave ! And more questions please ask, good luck …….

    1. Wowee, sounds amazing! And you saw THAT jive. I would crawl over hot coals to see that one live! Love the essay, we don’t mind. It must be so reassuring for those packing up to head for the show.
      Thanks so much for the update.

      1. Comment re warm in studio- I went last year and it was December and it was freezing in the studio- I had a cold draught on me from the prop cupboard. If I were to go again I would wear trousers, boots and thick glittery jumper! Saying that most people looked warm although Claudia said it was freezing too. Hope that helps. Layering would be best. Sam

  20. Hi what gates do you get tickets validated at? Going this weekend with mum! Planning on getting there for about 8!!!

    1. Hi Claire, there should be directions on your e-ticket… Last year we were at Maxwell Road Gate, but I can’t say what it is this year as I haven’t got an e-ticket for entry… 🙁
      I’m getting vicariously excited by everyone else. Have an amazing time (you will!)

  21. Hello again Julie,
    Janie, that’s fantastic info, appreciate you putting this up for all of us newbies to the experience. Very excited as have managed to change hotel to Ibis now.
    Just have to find a fabulous outfit now!!!
    Ax 🙂

  22. Hi again! We went to maxwell gate as instructed on our ticket, maxwell road is opposite the Ibis hotel, the gate is about a 2 minute walk , or I minute if you’re as excited as we were to get there!!! It’s a dead end road with the gate on the right hand side at the end, even in the dark we found it!!
    Have a fabulous time!

  23. Further ID question: After you’ve had your tickets validated… has anyone then been asked for ID when they returned with their tickets in the afternoon?

    I would like to queue up with my wife and get my tickets validated in the morning… then give the tickets to my elderly parents (massive Strictly fans) in the afternoon. But I would worry they would be asked for ID in the afternoon and refused entry. They would be traveling a long way to come and see the show.

    1. Hi Bob, in my experience there is no ID check with the validated tickets to get into the studios. I think they just want to move people through quickly at that point. I’m sure it would be fine, but there’s a whole bunch of people who can now also comment. What a lovely gesture for them, and I’m sure they will be treated like royalty. Fingers crossed for you/them.

    2. Hi Bob, what a thoughtful gesture , they will love it! Validation is simply two members of the audience staff walking down the line , scanning the bar code of your e ticket and then sticking a number on that said piece of paper, done, no ID requested at that point as Julia said they are keen to get through all of us in that queue! In the afternoon it was just a quick flash of the ticket no ID necessary, also they are keen for you not to bring your phones and minimal bag etc so they wouldn’t expect you to have ID at that stage, oh they are going to love it! I ll be thinking of them when I watch on Saturday! Good luck …..

    3. My husband has got me & Mother tickets, ive rang BBC 03709011227 and they explained if my husband rang then he could add a comment to the ticket and allow to transfer these to me.

      1. Hi Natalie, have you been yet and did the transfer thing work? We are going this weekend and have the same problem! Thanks

  24. Hi
    Managed to get tickets to Halloween show!!
    So excited!! I have been trying for years!!
    If we get to gates at 6am do you think that will guarantee us entry?! X

    1. Rachel, you lucky girl! It’s always a belter! On the basis of all the updates, I’d say you’d be well sure of getting seats. Fingers crossed that the weather stays dry and that you do! Julia x

      1. Thanks Julia!!
        Always a worry just incase!
        Staying at ibis so will wonder over about 530-6!
        Will be packing umbrella and waterproof!!x

    1. Hi Natalie, this was a question someone else had (not sure who). I wouldn’t risk it, as it certainly was on my e-ticket that you had to be in the queue to be validated. So, the question is the same, can you ask someone to stand in for her? Or failing that, bring one of those camping chairs so that she can perch on something? Fingers crossed for you!

  25. Hi Everyone,
    I have tickets for next Saturday (24th). Do you think if I arrive at 6am it will be early enough to get ticket validated?
    Also, if we’re successful, what is the temperature like of the room when you’re in the audience? I have a nice dress to wear but don’t want to spend the night feeling cold.

    Thanks you so much.

    1. Hi Janice, by the sounds of it 06:00 sounds like plenty early enough. Check out Mary’s recent comment. It was cold when we were there last year, but perhaps someone will respond from this year’s experience. We were near the back where it was drafty from behind, but perhaps if you’re surrounded by a throng, it’s more toasty! Have a great time…

  26. I”ve just got tickets for this year’s Halloween special – sooooooooo excited! Just wondered if anyone knew/ could remember whether audience people tend to dress up halloween style or just frocks and sequins?! Also, my friend who I’m bringing is pregnant and is a bit worried about the toilet situation – please could you let me know what ópportunities’ there are for going after 4pm?! What’s the latest you’d get back in the afternoon for getting into the marquee/ studio?
    Thanks for your help!
    x

    1. Hi Lorna, well that’s usually a great show! I don’t think the audience do ghouls and ghosties! I was worried about the loo situation and I wasn’t pregnant!! Once you are in the business of recording, they were very clear in that you can’t leave the studio. We weren’t allowed to leave our seats until the live Saturday show was done (so, around 7:30/8:00pm). On the timing, you’re told to be back there for 3pm, which I don’t think is different by the sound of it for this year. You’re going to love every moment!

    2. Hi Lorna, went to last nights recording (week4). We got back to studio at 3.15 and were in the holding marquee with access to loos until we went into the studio. They said they prefer you not to go to the loo during the live performance but you could if you really needed to. Re. Your question on temperature: it started out quite comfortable temp and by the end of the final filming it was starting to get a bit warm, but not too bad at all.

    1. It was cold when we were there (and I generally run warm)… it will be interesting to see what the views are this year!

  27. Went to the recording last night. It was a fantastic atmosphere. Got there just before 7am and we were 129 and 130 in the queue so got seats about 5 rows back, right opposite the judges. The first people in the queue had got there at 4am! We stayed at the Premier Inn and parked in the civic offices car park which is right behind the Ibis hotel and a couple of minutes walk from entry gates, when we queued in the morning and went back for the live show. It is walkable if you don’t mind getting a bit chilly. We did not have to show any ID at any point in the process, they just scanned the tickets. Bit of a long day and my arms and shoulders ache from clapping so much but well worth it. They were trialing a new system where only one person had to be there to get both tickets validated, but no guarantee this will continue I guess and actually being in the queue was all part of the fun. Not too far a walk to tesco or McDonald’s to get a coffee to warm you up and pass the time as you wait. Just going to watch the recording and relive the experience.

    1. Wow… thanks for the update. It would be really helpful if they did only validate with one!! 04:00 is a bit crazy! Bet they’re knackered today!!

    2. Im concerned about the validation this Saturday, i dont want my mother to have to wait in line, the above comment says only one person is needed to have both tickets validated is this that case?

      Are would you suggest i queue early and have my mother come for about 8:30am to ensure were both there for 9am?

      Do you have to show your paper ticket to get into the queue for validation to anyone?

      can you wear your jeans/warmer clothes while queuing for validation?

    3. Hi Mary you must have just been in front of us in the queue, I got there just after 7pm and got tickets 155 & 156 🙂 The steward explained that it only required one person to valid for both tickets, not to return till about 3.15pm to queue up, and told us the general stuff (no phones can be taken into the show, limited size of bags, food & drinks you can take in, plus you can go to the toilet during the show if required), we stayed at the ibis for the Friday night, they give us a free parking pass for the carpark for the Friday & Saturday. We returned dressed up and ready to go about 4.30pm for the show so we didn’t have to queue, we walked straight in. No ID was required at anytime. They call you in by numbers It is a long day but the time flew by, hands clapped out on the night! We found the seats close together, and you cant move them. We got the back row under the balcony. We could stand up when they danced. The view was good though. When they filmed the Sunday part, we got swapped over with the front row of our section, so got to sit where Tess stands to speak to the celebrity’s! Finished about 10.30pm, if you don’t have to collect a coat or your phone, they will call you through to the exits, so you don’t have to queue with everyone who is waiting. A great experience 🙂

    1. Oh Christine, this is totally new territory!! I really don’t know what I’d do. We need an appeal to anyone who’s been there. It doesn’t look like there’s that many in the audience, so I wonder how many tickets are granted for the spaces? I think I’d be there about three hours before, based on the Saturday show… Anyone else have a view or some inside info?

      1. Had a fabulous time watching ‘it takes two’ Friday evening, only 25 in the audience plus family members of the crew, I waited a couple of hours to be validated to be sure of entry. Great guests, so funny and natural and to be so close to them and have a hug and a kiss from some was amazing.

        1. Christine, thank you so much for the update! You were on my list to contact today! I haven’t watched it yet (I know, I know, I need to go and stand in the corner). Do we see you on the screen? Give me something extra to look out for! Bet you’re still on cloud nine.

          1. Great to watch it back today, I am in the front row next to a very proud mum of one of the cameramen. I am on for glimpses quite a few times, I would recommend the experience if you are lucky to be offered a ticket the crew are so welcoming and to be up close and personal with the ‘stars of the show’ made it a memorable evening that will be talked about by me for a while

        2. Hi, I have It Takes Two tickets for 11 Dec and am travelling down from Glasgow so anxious that I don’t get turned away as it is such a small audience. Can you confirm what time you started to queue and what time the tickets were validated and how many people were in the queue before you? Can’t believe that I’m so lucky to get these after being at Elstree last year.

          1. Hi Anne Marie. We went to ITT a couple of weeks ago and only 16 of us got in (which equates to just 4 ticket holders as you get 4 tickets each). We started queuing at 2pm and were validated around 3.40pm. We were numbers 9-12. We walked along the southbank and had a cuppa at Royal Festival Hall and then headed back to the studios around 4.50pm. The four ladies behind us in the queue had been put on standby and only got in at the very very very last minute. My advice would be to get there at 12.30pm, have a nice lunch in the mulberry bush pub opposite the studios and then get in the queue ASAP. Queue forms at the big gate that says Audience Entrance to the left of the itv building. Have fun! We had a blast, my mum danced with Anton!

          2. I also meant to add that the audience numbers that get in seems to vary every week, depending on guests/ production staff family and friends. Good luck! X

          3. Hi Katie
            Thank you so much for all your wonderful advice. We will make sure we are there around 12.00 noon. We are going down the day before and staying nearby so it shouldn’t be a problem. We only have 2 tickets – that’s all we need so hopefully we will squeeze in! I remember the lady dancing with Anton a few weeks ago. She looked lovely and was clearly really enjoying herself.

  28. Hi, I have tickets for this weeks show on Saturday, once you have your tickets validated at 9am can you leave and then go back when the doors open at 3pm? I dont want to go all dressed up at 9am to wait for hours! Hopefully we can go home and get all dressed up and return at 3pm! (if we are lucky enough to get tickets!)

    Thanks

    1. Hi Sarah, well, you’re going to have plenty of time to get all glammed up! But, I may be reading this wrongly, but take the hints and get there a bit before 09:00 to really make sure you’re in with the best chance to get tickets (in whatever you want to wear). Your e-ticket only gets you a place in the queue! Best of luck!

  29. With many thanks to Natalie…

    We have transferred our tickets (in my wife’s name) into my Mum’s name – with a simple two-minute phone call to BBC Shows on 03709011227. (A “note” has been put in the system that ownership has transferred and we have a case number also.)

    Still ever so slightly anxious about it all going smoothly on Saturday.

    Keeeeeeeeeeep dancing!

    and they explained if my husband rang then he could add a comment to the ticket and allow to transfer these to me.

  30. FYI. we’ve arrived at the studios this morning at 5am and only 30 0peoe in front of us. The guys at the front have been here since 2am.
    I’ll post later when the queue looks like it’s reached 400, so you all know what time to get here before.

    1. Natalie you star! You should have amazing seats for that effort. I hope it stays dry for you, it’s peeing down in Cornwall. Enjoy every moment today. xx

  31. Just wanted to say thanks for all the info on your blog Julia, we found very useful (you are a public service!). We went to the show last night. Best night ever. Just to give you brief run down of our experience.
    We had booked at the Ibis for Friday and Saturday as not sure about parking etc. Turns out if you stay at Ibis they will validate your ticket in public carpark behind them (£12 normally I think) and you won’t have to pay. Great budget hotel, literally 3 mins walk to gate in Maxwell Road for the Strictly entrance.
    We joined the queue at 5.30am and were numbers 50 and 51. Tesco few minutes walk away 24 hrs coffees/teas/toilet close if you need. MacDonalds also few minutes away for bacon rolls!
    Lots of people took chairs/flasks/blankets etc. but we didn’t and found time passed quickly as we go on really well with our queue buddies. Really lovely ladies!
    Validation was late starting so we were finished by 9.30am and told to report back at 3.15pm.
    Queued again at 3.15pm for half an hour and were then called into large marque. Didn’t matter about going early for this as it goes by your ticket number once inside. Handed in coats and this is were you also hand in your phones/gadgets. Small bar, tea/coffee and photo booth. Some seating and the toilets. This for me was the worst part as they call you into the studio in ticket number, but this process took so long to start and everyone was getting a little fed up. No explanation from staff either. We were seated just after 5pm. The people who had arrived first (2am was the first in the queue) were in the seats directly opposite the stage. We were in the “blue” section which was to the left of the stage, 1st 3 rows were friends and family and we were row 4. Brilliant seats!!!!
    Were told we could go to the toilet if needed but wait for video clip to go so not live, and then others around you had to jiggle to fill the gap in seat until you got back.
    The whole thing flew past so quickly you won’t believe.
    We were able to chat to some of the dancers whilst they were waiting in the wings. Fantastic atmosphere.
    Live filming finished at 8.30pm. We then had kitkat and juice cartoon in 10 min break to start again for Sunday show.
    Very funny warm up man in between tearing about, organising the clapping and telling jokes. Very Dale Winton!
    Tess was very professional, Claudia hysterical and best part of the show. Crew were fantastic and don’t get a big enough thank you, so much goes on behind camera.
    10.30pm finish and then back to marque to queue for coats. Big queue but maybe took 10 minutes to get to front.
    Overall, totally brilliant night. Loved the sparkle.
    Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep dancing!

    1. Posted a very log reply, which seems to have vanished in the ether! Gremlins! Anyway, love it that you had such a great time (you can feel it in your writing) and so, so happy that you found this helpful for you. x

  32. Can anyone tell me how many people do not turn up for the show? My guess is not many.
    How many people are turned away at any one show?
    Do those turned away, get priority tickets for another show?
    Surely the BBC could issue guaranteed admission tickets in the first place. Make the validation time for these guaranteed tickets be no later than 10am. If you did not turn up for validation then it would be your fault if you did not get in. Have a standby list of people who live within say an hour’s drive, that can be called in to make up the audience quota. There would be plenty of fanatic volunteers who would gladly do this at a drop of a hat!!!!
    Yes there will still be people queuing up but the worry and anxiety of facing a big disappointment of not getting into the show would then be taken away.
    Come on BBC surely you can come up with a better system

    1. Hi Arthur, some interesting thoughts, but I’m with the BBC. The queueing is absolutely part of the experience. Also validation takes place in a park, with guys with e-ticket readers, a clip board and a bunch of stickers. The focus is on the live show, and filling the audience… and they achieve it week after week. It is stressful, but it’s also exciting. They also do not know how many ‘public’ seats will be allocated until the morning, as it depends on how many the ‘strictly stars’ and the production team take uo so they can’t guaruntee any seats at all. Interesting idea, but I think unworkable on any level – let along another London bias, which the BBC is skewed enough at anyway.

      1. Hi
        Ellie
        Sorry to hear about your tickets for the 14th. The problem with swapping them is they have your name on them and I am led to believe they may ask for identification. So swapping, you are taking a risk at being refused entry. The best way is to give them away and whoever has them takes the risk. I am a willing to take the risk!!!! I am sure there are people you know would do likewise.

      2. Hi
        Julie
        Thanks for the reply.
        I would rather have just the excitement of knowing that I am guaranteed to get in. Therefore doing away with the stress that undoubtedly many go through. Why cannot the stars and production team be allocated a certain amount of tickets and the rest allocated to the public. The stars and production team should inform the BBC by 10am that day who is taking the tickets up. Then calls could be made to those on standby. An hour away does not have to be London alone there is many places including the Home Counties within that distance.
        In a way it could also be a cost cutting idea = would not need all those guys in a park, with e-ticket readers, a clip board and a bunch of stickers.
        If the BBC cannot make some system like this work then there is something wrong!!!!!
        Can you answer or someone from the great BBC answer how many of the public are actually turned away.
        Thanks

      3. I have been so lucky to get tickets for next week 14th Nov. We have booked train tickets ,from Derbyshire, without realising there are so many tickets that don’t get to see the show and we don’t get into Borehamwood till 10-45am, will it be a complete waste of time coming down. Gutted because train tickets and hotel are paid for

        1. Oh Kath, can you change the tickets? GWR are usually great on the phone, or have been in my experience. What have you got to lose by calling? I fear that you will risk not getting to see the show if you leave it that late. Do you know anyone locally that would queue/validate for you? I really feel for you, but I wouldn’t leave it that late. Fingers crossed there is an alternative that presents to you….

          1. We are on the first train out at 6-30am. My friend is working till 6pm on the Fri and can’t get the time off work and even if we did that it would be gone midnight when we arrived. It’s ridiculous if you have to book a hotel for 2 nights just to watch it. There must be a better way of doing this rather than running it like a cattle market !

  33. Hi There,

    Ive got tickets for 14th of Novemeber, but ive got a trip booked that weekend for my 21st birthday! Is there anyone out there who also has tickets and wanted to swap?!

    DESPERATEEEEEEE

    1. Oh Ellie!!! Argh! Not surprised feelings of desperation! Good luck with that, and if I can help put you in touch with anyone, I will.

  34. Anyone out there want to swap??! Somebody must know somebody or if you have tickets and you can actually go on the 14th of November???

  35. I live in Gloucestershire and was planning to get there for validation about Noon for the 14th Nov show – but this looks like its clearly too late! I am curious that only one person has posted who didn’t get in. It is a shame they have moved the validation time to 9am from midday as people travelling from all over the country are going to find it very stressful trying to arrive so early. Has anyone else recently arrived too late, and what time did they join the queue, but got in on the reserve tickets issued later?

    1. I’m in exactly the same boat travelling down from Derbyshire on the 6-30am train. Impossible to get there any sooner. It’s madness. I’m totally stressed instead of excited 🙁

      1. Felt VERY sorry for all the poor people having to queue for validation last Saturday as it was torrential rain and howling gales here all day (Gloucestershire) I am so NOT looking forward to having to do the same thing on 14th Nov! Does Ibis Hotel allow for ridiculously early check in on the Saturday so you can park in their car park for free on the Saturday morning for validation – even if you don’t need the room til later??

        1. Hi Barbara,
          I was in that rainy queue on Saturday & actually it wasn’t as bad as I feared!!
          My advice would be to wrap up warm … Scarf, hat, gloves, thick coat with a hood, umbrella & definitely something to sit on! We took camping chairs as a last minute thought & I don’t think I’d had survived that queue without them!! Also the camaraderie between everyone around you is just so much fun that you just chat chat chat & time really does pass quickly!
          It’s a very very long day & will exhaust you but 100% worth it for the strictly experience!! Have a great time! Xxx

          1. Did you hear about many people not getting in, we’re leaving Derbyshire on the 1at train but it will be 10-45 when we arrive

          2. Hi Kath,
            After reading all the comments on here I thought that I needed to be there really early to be in with a shot of tickets so I arrived at 5.45am!
            When I arrived back at 3pm for the show I spoke to someone who had chances it and arrived at 1.30 in the afternoon and still get tickets and that there was still seats available after them! How true that is I couldn’t say but what I will say is that the early morning queuing experience was so much fun!! It really was a crazy fun highlight of the whole day! I’m actually glad I did the 6am queuing!!
            I must be mad!! 🙂 xxx

          3. Thanks for that! Will dig out my old camping chair from shed then and the golfing umbrella! Plan to get there about 7am as weather says it will be a lot colder this Saturday and can’t see me surviving for more than 2 hours! I wish everyone would boycott this stupid validation process and not turn up until 9am otherwise it is a horribly long day. Has anyone bought a cushion in with them as the chairs sound a nightmare!

  36. Thanks so much for all the info on here – it is so helpful.
    My mum and I have tickets for the 7th. Has anyone driven and parked? We are staying at the Ibis and it seems it would be quicker/easier for me to drive than get the train?
    Thanks very much.

    1. Hi clare, you wouldnt want to help out a very stressed 21 year old and make my grandmother extremly happy and swap with my tickets for the 14th? I can arrange it all change your accomodation and pay for any changes!!! I can also get you a free family ice skating tickets at canary wharf this christmas as a thankyou!!!!!!! From the bottom of my heart please think about it!!! Xxxx

      1. Hi Ellie

        I am so sorry but I can’t swap. I am taking my Mum and she cannot make the following weekend. I hope you manage to sort something out. x

  37. I have followed this blog with interest because I had two tickets for last Saturday but in the end decided not to go! I was so disappointed because I love Strictly but the whole ticketing process sounded horrendous! I live in Bristol so even to be in the queue by 9 a.m would have been a challenge so an even earlier arrival – which seems essential – would have meant an overnight stay in a hotel plus of course on the Saturday night because of late ending of recording so a two night stay – quite an expense! I agree with the previous comment that 9 is too early for the many applicants who do not live in London. Plus I was surprised to read that the actual number of tickets available is not known until the celebrities and production staff have received them. Well I feel the celebs should be allowed two (as the public are) and the production staff – they are being paid to do a their job???? I realise there is not an ideal solution to the ticketing issue but maybe a fairer one. Come on BBC – have a look at this again!

    1. Wow, Maureen, what a tough decision to make! Yes, for those coming any distance it is a couple of nights away, and I hadn’t really thought of that (said she who came from Cornwall), it makes it a bias on another level of income. I’m still not sure of what the alternative is, but valid point made!

    2. Hi Maureen, feel so much better now I’ve read your comments…like you I had e-tickets for last Saturday at Blackpool and was soooo very excited.
      We live in Bridgnorth Shropshire, 2.5 hours drive away, my husbund was driving us early that morning to arrive at the Tower by 9.30am. At 5.30 the weather warning was severe on the M6 and we had to make a unanimous decision……it was to not risk it!!! We had booked rooms at Premier Inn Blackpool for sat night…we should have booked for friday night too…..to say I was disappointed is an understatement I was reduced to tears later that day ! However we watched every second of the show in the warm on our telly in HD with a bottle of wine.
      These tickets seem to be a chance of a lifetime, however I will try again next year. Reading this blog though I wonder if Elstree is the better one to go for ….either way its quite costly …. fingers crossed for you and me next year!

  38. Maureen sorry to hear that you decided to give it a miss but understandable. That is why I have previously made suggestions as to how the BBC should allocate the tickets. Lets bear in mind it is the PUBLIC,s money that pays for the show. I agree with your comment “I feel the celebs should be allowed two (as the public are) and the production staff – they are being paid to do a their job????” ( and we are paying their wages). Julie the alternative is to stop treating the Public like cattle , herded up before validation and consider them first !!!.
    Come on BBC lets have a system where people who live a long distance away don’t have the worry that if they spend a lot of money – will they or want they get in.
    The BBC should now seriously review their system for tickets for the benefit of the FEE PAYING PUBLIC not the Stars and Staff. By the way I live quite close.

  39. Well amazingly I have got tickets for the14th and am Scipio excited. My partner shared your blog as I was being very calm about turning up at noon etc. So glad I have read through all the comments as now have chairs blankets and gsoh ready. Oh what to wear!! I will keep you posted on how it goes but the plan is to get in the Q for about 6am .

    1. Bonkers!!! Am thrilled for you – and you’ll have to look out for Marty, just behind you in number terms… Enjoy every moment! xx

  40. Hi Julia,

    Great informative web page.
    Wife and I have just had our tickets validated for the Halloween show tonight. Arrived at 5:15am and joined a jolly but small queue. We ended up with numbers 31 & 32. Time passed very quickly with lovely like minded people around us. Hard to say how many ended up in the queue but it stretched almost to the back of the footpath. People were still joining it as we had our tickets validated 09:10. At around 8am 3 lads appeared with flasks and croissants and were dishing them out as freebies…. How lovely. So we are now back in the hotel about to have a snooze ….. Will let you know how it goes later… Happy days.

  41. I found this blog useful so thought I would add my comments. We went to last night’s halloween special which was spectacular. As we had a bit of a drive (1 hr 20) we arrived at 8.00 am (my husband dropped me off before parking the car) and ended up with numbers 297 and 298. We weren’t asked for ID at any point. We had seats on the balcony above the judges and had great views over the dance floor. You couldn’t see everything but it doesn’t matter because the atmosphere is fantastic. The warm up guy was really funny as was Claudia. Having read previous comments I was worried about being cold so took a cardigan in with me, but the studio was really warm and I didn’t need it.

    All in all an amazing evening.

  42. Thanks so much for this blog!! Great tips

    We were 23 and 24. Sat right next to stairs facing band/singers
    Amazing night. We got to speak to Anita,Kelly,Peter,Jeremy, Natalie,Aljaz,Pasha and got two kisses from the lovely Anton!!!

    Will defiantly be trying to get some more golden tickets next year!!! X

  43. Got tickets for the 7th and really excited. Six years of applying finally paid off. I’m going on my own for valuation as my mate can’t get there until 8am due to childcare so really hoping some friendly people in queue I can chat too while I wait on my tod? Just hope nice and safe area as arriving Friday from Bristol and staying at IBIS as chance in a lifetime but am going to be on own until after valuation. So will be a little lonely so anyone going sat 7th nov do say Hi if u see me sat there under spotty blanket. Cannot wait so super excited. One question, does anyone know how ticket/seat number at validation equate to studio seat location? Get the feeling first 30 get good positions? Thanks Gem

    1. Congratulations Gem! Think you’re about right on the first 25-30, who get opposite the band, but I haven’t heard of anyone who’s really been disappointed! Have a blast! And do share your experiences. I’m loving reliving it all again, and again!

    2. Hi Gemma,
      The first 30 seats are facing the stage and some are great. I was lucky enough to go last year got 25/26 but to be honest would have preferred to be behind judges or opposite them. It was a cold day & we were freezing as the props were being brought in & out from behind us it was December we also were not allowed to do standing ovations due to cameras behind us. It seems a different experience for each person as some people on here were really warm last night. The queue early in the morning was great & the ibis is a friendly hotel and everything is near- you will be fine. Have a great time.

    3. Hi Gemma, I will be in the queue on my own too on Saturday as I don’t want my Mum to have to queue at silly o clock! I’ll look out for you. Clare

      1. Hi Claire
        Weather not looking kind Saturday. Defo need a big umbrella! I’ll keep an eye out for you. Off outfit shipping now. So excited x

      2. Hi Claire
        Weather not looking kind Saturday. Defo need a big umbrella! I’ll keep an eye out for you. Off outfit shopping now. So excited x

    4. Hi Gem,

      I am going on 7th and queuing on my own (so my friend does not have to) so feel free to say hey! I’ve heard that about the first 25-30 too! I went last year and we was nearly 300 but we were sat right next to where Claudia interviews the celebs after they dance in the balcony – so had a great view!

      Graeme

      Graeme

      1. Graeme, should we be talking to you if you went last year too??!! Haha. Seriously you know the form! You can spread the love!!

        1. Lol everything that everyone else has said is true. We were very lucky last time to be sat next to Claudia’s interview room so got up close to lots of the celebs! Tickets are like gold dust – amazing experience – just a long day – so don’t plan anything too strenuous on Sunday!

  44. Wanted to post to

    1) Thank you for this blog post and all the follow up comments.
    2) Add my tuppenceworth on being in the audience last night.

    Left home at 4.50am, arrived in the queue at 6.25am. Validated at 9.15am with 133,134. People were still arriving to queue at 9am. A staff member told us the first people began queuing at 1.50am. I have a picture of the queue behind me at 8.45am if you would like me to email it over? Just me queuing, my +1 would be joining me later.

    Got back to the studio at 2.50pm and let in at 3pm. Kept in the holding tent where there was a photo booth, free access to portaloo toilets and an ambient temperature. Weather all day had been around 20 degrees, so marquee was pleasant to wait in. There are chairs here (not enough for everyone), security checks and the phone/coat hand in point. There’s also a bar and coffee seller.

    Tickets were called in 1-24, 25-50, then 51-100, 101-150. So if you’re ticket 101 you may find yourself behind ticket 150 now, so be warned to be quick when your number is called. Think this was about 4.30, but didn’t check my watch. The good thing is that the 1-24s had the floor side seats with the whole view of the floor and judges. I thought they deserved it – the crazy people arriving when they did!

    We followed the line round and couldn’t quite believe we ended up right behind the judges. You can clearly see us squeezed in between Darcy and Len. However, we only had a brief glance/smile from them as they sat down in the pre records. They never came over to chat as others have mentioned previously.

    A stage hand told us when our section was all seated that we were allowed to get up and down to use the toilets when the taped links were playing, but please not during the dances.

    The professionals did their Saturday dance after the warm up guy. Then James Morrison did his song. A few links were practiced by Tess and Claudia (the potty mouth – loved it!), then we went live.

    The studio got hotter and hotter – to the extent it gave me a huge headache – and from our position we could only see the dances when the dancers were standing up.

    We had a 10 minute break between shows – tried to get a toilet trip in but the queue was too long and we were called back in before I had a chance. My friend got me my kit kat and carton of apple juice. The results show started with the pro dance, then another 10 min break (where the judges disappeared again) then a straight through recording after the dancers had all got costumed/make up’d again. A couple of pick ups were needed, but no reshoots during the results show.

    We were all sent home – my friend and I hung around in our seats while the doorway cleared, but the judges went straight to the contestants, then went and talked to their invited guests. Dancers/celebs never came near us unless they were being cued in for their dance.

    So it was a good day and I’m glad I went. Big picture – I had a fab night watching Strictly live.

    However, a few niggles. The day was soooo long and the lack of availability of decent food between 3pm and 10.30pm may be a big issue for many. And then I drove home and arrived at 12.30am. I don’t cope well with 20 hour days bookended by 2 long drives. But our budget doesn’t cope well with booking hotel rooms on the chance I may get my ticket validated.

    I had a huge headache from the heat of the studio, the noise of constant clapping and tiredness from the long day and ended up having a power nap in my seat (I kid you not) whilst the dancers were being recostumed during the results show.

    The seats are not for larger bottoms. My poor friend was sitting next to a larger lady and the larger ladies thighs were constantly on my friends seat. There is no space at all between seats. With all the standing ovations, my friend was constantly being sat on by this lady and polite requests made no difference as there was no space for the lady to move into to give my friend her seat back. The seats themselves are really uncomfortable too – well they are after 6 hours…

    A Kit kat and a juice BBC? For 6 hours? I had a couple of snacks in my bag, but when they only allow small bags in the studio, there’s no room for sandwiches to sustain. You should replace the kitkat with a sausage roll/porkpie/sushi/salad/sandwich something more sustainable. I’d have been happy to buy it, but that option just isn’t there.

    Like I said before, I appreciate the big picture. I had a ball watching the shows last night, but put the niggles into my post too as I think I hadn’t got the sense of just how draining a day it was going to be from reading all the previous comments.

    If you are lucky enough to get tickets, enjoy it, but be ready for sitting next to a larger person, having a numb bum, earache, headache and lack of food.

    1. Mrs B, thank you for such a considered reply. The seats aren’t comfy, they’re cable tied together, and not much room when there’s a substantial bottom next to you. It’s such an experience, and glad that you had highs in there too. Hope the headache has gone now…

  45. Hi Julia.

    Update from Halloween night. Wow what an experience!! We returned as requested at 3pm along with everyone else and waited in a long line glammed up this time. We were then ushered into a marquee where we could purchase drinks or get a free photo with props. There were a few screens with Natalie and Tristan busting some moves. We were then Ushered into the arena at around 4:15pm. This was slightly chaotic as the next 50 including Wife and I Were called before the first 24 had gone in but it went well in the end. The first 24 were set in prime front row seats so queuing early had its perks !! We were 5 rows back where Tess comes down…. Fantastic. The arena is warm and gets warmer… Lots of clapping and sometimes more than one take for pre recorded dances. The warm up/compere guy was brilliant, Tess beautiful and professional, Claudia was hilarious and dropped lots of obscenities but appropriately funny. Bruno is bonkers and feeds from the audience.
    It was a long and tiring day but my god it was an experience to remember. Congrats to the BBC and everyone involved. Special hello to Maria and Catherine who queued with us and also seated together in the show…. Lovely people.
    Marty and Deb.

    1. Thanks Marty – and Deb! Loving the sharing of experiences. Photo booth is new this year, I wondered what someone else had meant by it!

  46. So, drove down from Wolverhampton. Picked my mate up at the ungodly hour of 4.30am! Pretty decent ride down as you would imagine at that time. Sat nav useful until we got right there. Asked two polite coffee carrying guys if they were heading to the strictly queue and how to get there. Decided to kick my mate out the door with her coat and scarf and follow those who looked like they were going in that direction and got in the queue about 6.35am thinking we were about #114.
    With a trip to maccies and giggles in the queue time passed pretty quickly. Lovely couple in front, from just down the road from us, and a lovely gentleman behind waiting in line for his wife and daughter (definetly) earning some brownie points). Was cold with no shelter, so dress and prepair for all weather.
    When our ticket was validated, started 9.10am ish, we were 159 & 160 ( I guessed 158 randomly, go me). Told to come back at 3. No ID needed and my boyfriends name, who was not present, was on the ticket.
    Pottered around Borehamwood shops and shopping park. Late lunch at Franky and Bennys and investigated parking. Decided to park behind the Ibis as it is a short walk from the studio (£5 for 5hrs, don’t have to pay after 6.30pm) took our chance and asked to get changed in the hotel lobby toilet. To our surprise they welcomed us with open arms. Later we found out they had been at the queue earlier in the day handing out coffee, tea and crossiants for free, which I just find to be so generous especially as it not necessary for them to do so. If we’d had time we would have liked to have a drink there just to show our appreciation.
    Back in the queue for 3.15 which steadily moved and we were soon in the marquee. The rest was just magical. Seated third rown, right behind the judges. Next to where Tess sits off stage. So interesting to have an insight and be behind the scenes of one of my favourite shows. What a week. Absolutely perfect. Halloween special with some of my favourite songs. It did get quite warm in the studio, but took in water, fruit pastels and mints to get us through.
    Finished at 10.30pm was back home for 1am. A very long day but so very worth it. In hindsight I would stay over and advise those not local to do so where possible – keeeeeeeep dancing!!!

    1. Sounds wonderful! And great to have an experience of someone who’s driven down. Sounds like the IBIS crew are part of the Strictly experience!!

  47. Hi Julia,

    I have tickets for the 7th & my mum & I are so so excited!!!
    Im so happy I came across your blog as I have learnt so much info about times to arrive etc. I would have been devastated to have turned up “on time” and not have been able to get in.
    I will update once I’ve been next week! Staying at the Premier Inn down the road on the Friday night & plan to get to the queue at 6am so fingers crossed we’ll get in!! xxx

  48. Hi Julia,

    We also have tickets for this Saturday (7th) and we’re staying at the Ibis. Thanks so much for all the info above, it’s hugely helpful. One thing for those thinking about it – the ticket instructions are very clear that you do NOT both need to be present to validate your tickets this year, one ticketholder can do it. So for anyone with elderly parents etc, you can happily leave them in the warm!

    1. Hi Lindsay, well I have to say that seems so sensible, and I’m really glad the process has been changed to have only one person needing to be there for validation… Have a great time (as if you won’t!). Hope the weather doesn’t break on you, it’s been fine for the last few Saturdays!

    2. Hi Lindsay
      Just out of curiosity where does it say that? Because on mine it says everyone attending must be in the queue to be validated. I only ask because I intend to get there before my mum! thanks

        1. Hi Barbra ,

          Where on your ticket does it say 1 person can validate the tickets ?

          My ticket says -everyone attending must be in the que to be validated. But if this is not the case that’s good ?

          1. A separate email was sent after the tickets with a PDF file called “Strictly Come Dancing 2015 Information “giving further details (you need Office installed to open this! You can download a free trial of Office from Microsoft website to enable you to open the attachment.) This file stated only one person needed to validate tickets. Hope this reassures you. Look forward to maybe seeing you in the queue on the 14th!

  49. Hi Julia,

    I have tickets for the 7th & my mum & I are so so excited!!!
    Im so happy I came across your blog as I have learnt so much info about times to arrive etc. I would have been devastated to have turned up “on time” and not have been able to get in.
    I will update once I’ve been next week! Staying at the Premier Inn down the road on the Friday night & plan to get to the queue at 6am so fingers crossed we’ll get in!! xxx

    1. Hi Maxine, I’m glad too you found my blog too! Enhanced by all the wonderful comments and updates. You’re sure to get a sear with that timing, but will have all things crossed for you. Enjoy every moment! The day just sparkles by!

      1. I love reading about everyone’s experiences!!
        I have that nervous/excited butterfly feeling in my tummy!!
        I’ve been glued to It Takes Two all week so far & am so excited to watch Jay doing the first Argentine Tango … I just know he is going to be amazing!
        Will post about my sparkly day on Sunday! xxx

        1. I might not talk to to either!! Love, love, love an Argetine tango… As for that Jay! Let’s hope he adds a degree of passion. I’m not jealous, no, no… I’m fine!!

  50. hello!

    This blog is so helpful, thank you so much to everyone for the tips.
    I have tickets for this Saturday, coming down with my mum, we are both so excited! I was slightly concerned as it is my boyfriends name on the tickets but from everyones previous experience it doesn’t sound as if it will be a problem.

    We are staying at the travel lodge, does anyone know how far this is for the studio?

    thanks

    Kat

    x

  51. Firstly let me say that my wife and I are Strictly Come Dancing Fans and love watching the show on TV.
    So it was absolutely fantastic when we found that we had been allocated tickets for the Halloween show on the 31st October. Having read some of the reviews, comments and speaking to a neighbour who had been a couple of weeks ago we decided to go down and queue early.
    Fortunately we are only 40 to 45 minutes away so we drove down, parking in the public car park next to the Ibis hotel. Only £5 per day and a short walk to the Studio.
    Arriving at around 6am we found ourselves 79th and 80th in a queue on a Public footpath next to a recreation ground and running alongside the outside of the Studios.
    The people at the front had been there since about 01.50am
    This is where unfortunately I felt like we were being treated like a herd of cattle. The weather was kind to us and we did meet some nice people in the queue. Hate to think what it would have been like, if it had been freezing cold or pouring down of rain. Some had flown down from Glasgow, travelled down by train from Liverpool and Newcastle and had stayed overnight in one of the nearby Hotels
    Around 9am they started to validate our tickets, given a number and we were away by 09.30am. We returned home, others either went back to their Hotels or wandered round the town.
    At about 2.50pm we returned all glammed up and again were in the queue on this public footpath. This time we were a bit further back in the queue. The weather again was good to us, fine and reasonably warm. Had it been raining then perhaps the Glam part would have faded away?
    Just after 3pm we were then in groups herded into the marque just inside the studios grounds. There were drinks available to purchase, you could have your photo taken for free and there was a young Lady trying to keep people amused. However there was a lack of seating, it was very warm and crowded. It reminded me of a herd of cattle all rounded up in a pen waiting to be Milked.
    We were then called into the Studio in groups starting from number 1, as allocated when the tickets were validated.
    We found ourselves ushered to the seats behind where I believe the friends and family of the Stars and Production team were seated. These seats were just in front of the Balcony. This is where the experience got worse. It was like being cooped up in a hen battery. I was fortunate I did not have any large person seating either side of me. However you had to make sure your arms were tucked in tightly to your sides and your legs were pressed together for fear of getting to intimate with the person next to you. In fact I spent most of the time sitting slightly forward to allow my wife and the young lady on my other side room to breathe, not very comfortable I may add. I really started to realise what those hens in batteries felt like!!!!!
    We were sat like this from just gone 4pm to gone 10pm with the occasional standing up to clap and whoop. There was a break between the live show and the Sunday recorded show, during which we were given, a four fingered Kit Kat, a small cartoon of juice and allowed to go to the toilet. Some poor people sat along from us who were not allowed to stand up during the recordings even for applause as they were in front of the cameras. Goodness knows what pain they were going through.
    A Compère /comedian entertained and enlightened us as to what was happening on stage during the whole recording and he was very good. When it came to the dancing all we could see of the Dancers was from the waist up. If they were on the other side of the Dance floor then we got a fleeting glimpse of the footwork. So you could not really tell how well they were dancing. Halloween evening was being hailed as one of the best evenings to see the show. Wrong!!!!! Due to all the makeup you could not tell who was who a lot of the time.
    The shock of the day was how crude Claudia was off camera. She is a very funny lady without being crude. She did not need to use the F word several times and was very crude in some of her attempts a joking with the audience.
    The evening finished with me having a back ache due to sitting forward most of the evening to allow the two people either side of me a bit more breathing space. I also came away with a headache and very tired.
    The experience of seeing how the show is put together was very interesting. For the rest of it sitting at home in a comfortable chair in front of the TV would have been a million times more enjoyable.
    Would I go again? Unless they change the system of accommodating their FEE paying Public NO!!!!!!
    I felt the Audience were only there to make their show look good, with all the orchestrated clapping, standing up laughing and whooping. To me there was very little consideration for their wellbeing and comfort of the Audience throughout the whole process. So come on BBC please give more consideration to how the tickets are allocated, waiting times and seating.

    1. Oh Bob what a mixed experience – although I have every sympathy with your comments about the seating. There was no room to move where we were sitting too. I remember the joy and the agony! I think the BBC IS all about putting on a show, and that’s the hard, cold truth. It’s a live show, and to be fair to the BBC, I think that’s what they kinda have to focus on. I think they do have regard for the audience, unfortunately those attending (and I’m not helping matters) are the ones that get there early. The BBC doesn’t encourage it, but with the golden ticket, you/we/I are so anxious about not getting into the show. That makes it a long day – but I wouldn’t have missed the banter in the queue for anything. I love hearing the experiences, but as I finished up in my original blog, I would only go again if I could have DVO’s seat (or a celebrity’s). It’s endurance love of the show any other way….

      All things crossed for the weather this weekend. Wrap up well!

    1. Hi, through this wonderful blog I have found out loads, thank you. Now for an.update so far.

      As I am on holiday and could not get back for today I phoned the BBC and transferred the tickets to my daughter who is going with her husband.

      They travelled to Blackpool last night and are booked into a lovely B&B for 2 nights. My son-in-law was up early and in the queue at the Tower by 6.45am. He was 9th in the queue. My daughter was going to have breakfast and then take over in the queue so that my son-in-law could go back to the hotel, have breakfast, and get his suit on fir the show. Them they would have queued together until validation at 12 noon.

      Well that all changed just before 8am when someone from the BBC said they would let people in from 9am. This caused pandemonium as many were holding places and doing as my daughter and her husband were. Well, SIL phoned daughter who headed straight down ready dressed for the evening without breakfast, SIL grabbed coffee and bacon butties for him, daughter and others in the queue and then went back to the hotel to shower and put his suit on. He was back at the Tower for 9.58am and the first 100 were let inside to queue at 10.00am. The weather today is freezing in Blackpool I am told. Their tickets were validated at noon and they got numbers 11 and 12. They then went through security and into the Circus so now I cannot get any further updates until the show is finished, which will be about 10.30pm tonight

      They are both beyond excited about the whole experience. My SIL said that the professional dancers were there from about 7.00am, going in a door near the front of the queue were he was waiting. My daughter saw Len going in about 8.30 after she had swapped with her hubby. A long day for everyone.

      I do know that they were allowed to bring in wrapped snacks to the Tower this year, as well as a plastic bottle of water.

      They both said, before giving up the phones to security, that the camaraderie in the queue is great. The frozen, but young legs if my SIL were getting coffee from Greggs for other less able people in the queue. Also, the couple in front of them had tickets to Strictly at Elstree last week and went. They had pictures of themselves from the TV which were apparently really good.

      I will post more tomorrow when I know more. In the meantime, I am on the way home now and looking forward to seeing the show on Monday when home. Tonight we are staying in Paris, having had it arranged for weeks. Je suis Paris.

      1. Karen that is such an amazing thing to do, and also to take the time to update… when in Paris! I’m sure they’re really in the Strictly spirit now, and look forward to anything else you can share in due course. Je suis Paris, absolutely.

        1. Hi, a recent update on the Blackpool Strictly. When going through security there was diagreement between the BBC and Blackpool security, who took all food, drink and some medication off people despite protests and evidence that people were told they could bring it in.

          Well my daughter wrote to the BBC with her receipts for lunch and snacks confiscated against BBC instructions at Blackpool by Tower security and has she has just received compensation.

          1. That’s something – but hopefully the BBC/Blackpool Tower people can get it right for 2016 (assuming it heads that way). Thank you for the update, Karen.

  52. We also have tickets for Blackpool.

    They say that validation starts from 12 noon – which is obviously later than London.

    Did anyone go last year?

    How many people does Blackpool seat?

  53. Got tickets for tomorrow 7/11 coming from Birmingham on train hopefully get to the queue about 9 am should i be confident of getting in?

    1. Congratulations on winning a golden ticket Craig. I’m not sure, but I’m sure some with more recent experience will chime in. I’d like to think so, but it could be tight…. Will have everything crossed for you!

    2. thanks i will cross everything as well is there anybody out there who had a ticket but didnt get in have not seen many dissapointed posts or am i just being positive

  54. I personally wouldn’t leave it until 9 to arrive.
    Around 7.30-8 most people were getting there
    I arrived at 5am and got seats at front opposite the band so could see everything x

  55. My daughter Kirsty has been trying for about 4years and finally got two tickets and, taking me Brenda her Mum what a star she is.
    We go on the 21st of November, Mike my hubby booked our hotel as early xmas pressie love him. Pick up 12oclock for tickets but, looking at what prevoius people have had too do, think it would be an early start. If anyone could advise us we would be gratefull, would like a reasonable chance at getting good seats.

    1. Well Brenda, you sound super-excited!! Congratulations on getting a ticket (well done Kirsty!). You’re going to Blackpool too! If the Elstree experience is anything to go by, if it were me, then I’d be there a good couple of hours before the validation time if you want good seats. Karen (below) is also after some guidance, but as it’s such a one-off in terms of the live shows, it’s hard to say.

      I think that it is a very different experience to Elstree, in that you’re not sent away and told to come back, you wait until you go into the Tower Ballroom. I can’t remember where I read it, but that’s what sticks in my mind.

      1. I would rather it was as Elstree but, I think the pick up time for tickets is 12 0’clock so by time we get tickets its time too be taken into ballroom. Have been too the tower ballroom for a Salsa event it’s a fantastic venue .
        Thanks for replying will post after event for others too see.

        1. Brenda, someone else might reply soon too! It’s the home of ballroom, and it will be a-maz-ing… Will send all good vibes with you up the M6, and would love to have your experience.

        2. I’ve got tickets for Blackpool too but really not sure whether to go or not. I was thrilled when I got the text message but reading all the extra details makes it feel like quite a daunting experience. I don’t think I would feel this way if I lived closer to Blackpool but I’m in Norfolk, 5 hours away.

          Validation starts at midday so I figure you’d need to get there about 9am to make sure you got a ticket. In the details it says that once your ticket is validated, you get moved in to a holding area until you are allowed in the Ballroom at 4pm. So it’s not like Elstree where you can go away and come back later in the day. You would need to be all glammed up when you join the queue.

          I can’t believe I’m seriously considering not going when I’ve been applying for years and years.

  56. Yvonne I feel exactly the same as you! I have tickets for bkackpool and I was so excited but now I’m not so sure. I can’t believe you are expected to queue all dressed up in who knows what weather for hours! I was ready to queue in my warm clothing for how ever long it took knowing that I could go off once validated get dressed and return. But for some reason the BBC feel it appropriate to make you wait for hours outside then again insideto attend the show in Blackpool. Is it really worth it? Someone mentioned here about feeling like cattle being rounded up and that there is no regard for the audience they are just convenient props to clap and laugh when required. sadly I agree shame on you BBC

    1. Hi Shelly – Glad I’m not also Expected! I think some of my friends think I’m mad because I’m waivering about it. Do you have far to travel as well?

    2. My daughter and I are starting too think about not going for the same reason as others , not sure I would be ok with the time standing around and lack of food and drink. A friend of mine was really jealous, when I told her, then gave her some of detais she said she wouldnt have been able too go as, she is a diabetic which is sad, as she comes from Blackpool and did competitions when younger in the ballroom many memories for her!

    3. Shelly, Yvonne…hi its Pauline I live in Shropshire and like you i love the show and have grown up with ballroom and ballet. My Mum and Dad were brilliant dancers and reached teacher levels in ballroom dancing aaannnd according to my Dad performed in front of Len Goodman!!
      So to get tickets for Blackpool was such a thrill, however we had doubts re timing, facilities etc…and Yes you di see more from your armchair but to be there at a live performance would be awesome.
      We actually didn’t make it to Blackpool due to the awful weather and I’d had a chest infection with a dreadful cough and was really worried about having an attack during the performance…my husbund joked ” would the lady with the hacking cough please leave the ballroom” putting this aside i was gutted and have felt down all week….BUT this wonderful blog set up by Julia has proved to me others feel like i have.
      Jyst watched this Saturdays show 28th Nov and know that i ill be definitely applying for tickets to Elstree next year, the whole set up re validation time and return time is so much
      better and with the hotels so close by makes it a 10 from me!
      Lots of love and lets look forward to 2016!xx

  57. Hello I have tickets for next weekend!!!So so excited, this has all been really helpful and I’m sorry if this question has already been answered – I didn’t have time to read alllllll of them ! We are driving to elstree – where’s the best place to park? I can see there is a tesco very close but I am worried about getting clamped or something….

    1. I think the IBIS car park was close, and has an all day charge. Tesco you would risk your car. I think I need to plough through the comments and update the main blog (I’d been threatening to do that). Something for a wet Sunday, methinks! I’m sure someone will confirm directly to you….

  58. And Julia I forgot to say thanks for this amazing blog! I’m annoyed with the process especially for those elderly or incapacitated that have to endure this long process but appreciate the time you have taken to keep others informed that are willing to go through it and the comments section is really helpful.

  59. And Julia I forgot to say thanks for this amazing blog! I’m annoyed with the process especially for those elderly or incapacitated that have to endure this long process but appreciate the time you have taken to keep others informed that are willing to go through it and the comments section is really helpful.

    1. Hi Yvonne I’m travelling from the channel islands. Still undecided if I am prepared to queue in my frock at the mercy of the elements. It’s a shame with blackpool they can’t let you validate and go off to get changed as they do with the other recordings.

      1. Hi Shelly & Yvonne

        Feel the same way as you, we are coming from Devon and the 2-3 hours queuing to be validated followed by the three hour wait in a foyer to go in (and get ripped off buying overpriced food and drink), wearing the same glamorous clothes – takes the edge of what should be a delightful experience

        We are in our 40s and fit but i can imagine anyone a bit older or any kind of issues would say, no way BBC. Run by young producers who just want additional glitter to add to the show and don;t really think about the people methinks.

        Shame 🙁

        1. Hi Simon – I hope it all goes well for you and you enjoy your day. I’ve decided not to go Gutted but feel relieved since I made my decision. Missing Take That too – double disappointment. Hopefully I’ll get tickets to Elstree one day!

          1. Yvonne I’m so sorry you have decided not to go to Blackpool. The palaver of a full day does sound like a chore! But if by any chance in the world you don’t have any local strictly fans to donate your tickets to, I would so love to go and take my mum. Happy to make a donation to a charity and send you a big thank you too! I hope you aren’t offended by my asking, it’s a bit cheeky to ask but you just never know! Thanks in hope! 😉

  60. Thanks Julie for doing this Blog . I am sure it has been most helpful to those looking to go.
    I wander if anyone high up in the BBC read it and take note of the comments. If the don’t perhaps they should and make it a better experience for those paying their wages. I am glad I am not queuing today, wet, windy and miserable and that’s before you get anywhere near getting into the studio. The best car park is the Civic car park right next to the IBIS hotel and a short walk to the Studio. £5 for the day.
    Hope it is still not raining when you return at 3pm all Glamed up!!!!
    Has anyone this year not been able to get in?

    1. I think anyone who has read this blog before going would risk joining the queue after 8am, so can’t see that they’d miss out.

  61. I was in the audience last night and WOW … what an experience!! The whole day was so surreal & crazy but amazing from start to finish!!

    Stayed at the Premier Inn, which is a 2 min taxi ride or 10 min walk away, joined the queue in the pitch black 5.45am, set out our camping chairs (I would highly recommend everyone to bring them because I could not have stood up till validation (which happened for us at 9.20am)
    We were sat between some lovely ladies who I’m sad to say we didn’t formally introduce ourselves by name but there was a lovely girl on her own with a chair, sleeping bag & hot water bottle and a mother & daughter who hadn’t brought chairs so when we needed to stretch our legs we shared our chairs with them!! It was so lovely to be with such friendly & chatty people. It made the time go quickly & even when the rain started to pour, everyone was still in high spirits!!
    We were validated with seat numbers 103 & 104 & told to return at 3pm.

    At 3pm we arrived and were led into the holding room. This felt like the longest part but we had a drink, posed for our free strictly photo & then it was time to go in!

    Walking into the stage was incredible! So many lights & colours! I couldn’t believe how small the studio is! Looks so much bigger on tv! We were seated directly behind the judges table, three rows back! Great seats except when the dancers were in the middle of the floor, you couldn’t see their feet!!
    Tess is such a pro, she was really ill & was losing her voice but stayed so professional throughout. Claudia is absolutely hilarious!!! The warm up man was really funny also, so quick witted & kept us all laughing!
    The live part of the show was amazing! Loved every second!
    The second part where the Sunday night part is filmed was the tough part because by then you are so tired & your hands hurt from the clapping!!

    But overall the whole experience from start to finish was incredible & I feel so lucky that I’ve experienced it! What a day!! I was a strictly fan already but this has confirmed to me how much I love it!!! Xxxx

    1. Lovely to read your assessment! Thrilled it lived up to expectations – how lucky were you to see THAT charleston? Amazing! You lucky, lucky thing! xx

  62. I’m so glad I found this blog – thank you Julia for giving us a place to ask the questions that don’t seem to be answered anywhere else.
    I was so excited to have got tickets for Blackpool but is it really the case that I will have to get there for about 9am (to stand a decent chance of getting a good seat) and can’t escape until after the show finishes? And I have to be dressed in my sparkly outfit? In late November?
    I have read through the information from the email but thought I must have got that wrong – we must surely be allowed to leave to get a decent meal then get changed, put on evening makeup and high heels etc.
    I don’t feel quite so excited now…

    1. You’re welcome – and I hope someone can answer you for sure! But, I think your assessment is right. Once in the queue you stay in the queue. It doesn’t work like Elstree does…. It will be a night to remember, so if you can bear it, I’d go for it….

    2. Hi Maria (& Julia) – I think your understanding of the situation at Blackpool is spot on (unfortunately). Well that’s how I read it too.

  63. First of all thank you Julie for this blog, the information helped us so much last weekend on our strictly experience!
    We stayed at the Premier inn, only a 10 minute walk away.
    We joined the queue at 6am where we met two lovely ladies from Ireland (the first lady in the queue had arrived at 3am!!!)
    Our tickets were finally validated at around 9.20 and we were 117/118.
    So when we got into the studio we were sat directly behind the judges! Worth the wait for sure what an experience!!

  64. If anyone has any tickets for Blackpool but doesn’t want to go, and doesn’t have anyone interested in them within friends and family, would you consider giving them to me?! I’d love to go and take my mum! Would be happy to make a donation to charity of your choice! Very cheeky request, I know, but would kick myself for not trying! Thanks in advance! 😉

  65. Please could you let me know if possible where you can go in the Tower at Blackpool once registration is complete after 12 noon . Are you bundled into an area with nothing else to do for 3 hours or can you go anywhere in the tower for instance the circus if you pay until its time to go in the Ballroom for filming. Also what are the arrangements to be able to get dinner after registration. Dont fancy having to wear the same gear for 10 hours especially if got wet waiting outside.If you cannot get changed and a lot of people dont know this it would serve the BBC right if everyone turned up in jeans and a T Shirt (like some celebrities do !!!)

    1. Hi John, that’s a very good question! I’ve no idea, but hopefully someone else will…. It did say STRICTLY no jeans on my ticket last year, but, I take your point!! Hope the day works perfectly for you!

      1. I have had a call from a lovely lady at the Blackpool Tower after I had sent an e-mail to them regarding what happens. She couldn’t really help me too much but said if she hears any more news on the matter she will let me know and if I hear anything I will place it on this blog .Sshe stated that it is true that once you are in you are in and that you cannot wander around other attractions. I asked whether you are put in a room and she said yes as far as she knows . You will have refreshments but god knows what (probably a kit kat lol ). She said if it was her she would bring a packed lunch, a book and or I Pod and other clothes to change into .There will be toilets but can you imagine 400 wanting to change especially the women (lol ahaha) Cant imagine 400 people stuck in a room with nothing to do working or worse than that standing up outside the ballroom. If that’s so I think even my wife will give up.

        1. Good work John!! Let’s hope the atmosphere in the queues are the same as we’ve experienced in Elstree (even outside in the rain!!). I loved chatting all things Strictly with people. Anyway, wishing that it works smoothly and you have the best of times.

    2. Just another example of how the BBC treats its audience. No real consideration as long as they can produce the show that all they care about

      1. Oh Bob! They do have a responsibility to the however-many million viewers. 400 people in the audience are just a part of the production. But what a production!

        1. Lovely Blog
          But I have to disagree with you, they should have far more consideration for those who make the show sound exciting. After all the Public are the people who pay their TV licence to make the show possible.

          1. Ah Bob, we can disagree and still be friends! Whilst people would walk over hot coals to be there, in truth, there’s little change needed from their perspective. I do get your points, but think little will change. Actually, something did! One person to validate. Perhaps the BBC will read this and listen to you/us… Wouldn’t that be something, even if it were to un-cable tie the bloomin’ chairs!

  66. OK- here’s my blow by blow of last Saturday 7th. Best day ever by the way!!
    Came up from south of Bristol (Midsomer norten) Friday night and stayed at IBIS- great hotel but walls are thin so was hard to get to sleep as they were filming the Children in Need show on sat as well, so lots of excited kids in hotel and obviously being excited myself didn’t help me sleep much, anyway got head down around 11pmish.
    IBIS hotel- You get parking validated as a guest and I got my car park ticket issued until the Sunday (for free) so could park behind IBIS and not worry for the sat about the car at all. Also you can get late checkout for extra 20 (we did, i also requested this in an email during booking in case they were full on the Saturday) and you have until 5pm rather than 12pm to leave the room. We did get staff knocking on door to turn around room just after 12pm so if you don’t book the later checkout you could risk being made to go then. As it was raining and we wanted to take time getting ready we always planned leaving later.
    So Saturday morning:
    Got up at 315am and made some tea for flask and walked over to maxwell road- literally 5mins away- over pedestrian crossing to the left of the hotel and then down maxwell road. Should say my friend met me at 730am so most of the morning was on my own but not a problem everyone in queue are lovely- same as you very excited and super strictly fans. Got to the queue for just after 3.30am. I knew was in right place seeing a bunch of people huddled in chairs next to the gates. I was 8th in the queue and nos 11 and 12 tickets. (Yes only one person needs to be there to validate both tickets and no ID required- I didn’t have any with me). first people queuing at 245am.
    Everyone was amazing in the queue. We all brought big brollies and camping chairs (defo recommend the chairs- dump them in the car after validation). Time really did fly even though there was some downpours. As mentioned the IBIS hotel staff come over around 730 with free tea and warm croissants for everyone.
    Queuing info- I have photos of queue at various times but don’t know how to post these up (if you can let me know i will so you get an idea of the queue). Basically, from around 6am there was a good approx 50 or so people and then it grew quickly from there on. Quite quiet between 4-6 with the odd couple of people every 15mins or so. For our show we had less tickets available on the day so not sure if everyone got in as there was reserved seating for servicemen- this meant that for some people who would normally get front row seats these were already reserved so some people were sitting in different places then would normally for a show depending on validation numbers.
    Was a bit of a pain waiting another 15 mins past the hour for the validation (they arrived at 9.15am) as it was raining quite heavily by then and had waited so long but the process was super fast. Told to get back at 3pm.
    We then put all the stuff in the car and drove off to the massive Tesco down the road to pick up a few things. You could walk as it was not far but raining so we got lazy and drove knowing we coudl re-park the car behind IBIS for whole day. As we were told you can bring in bottled water right into the studio as long as it was a screwcap and not opened, so we brought some in tescos and also lots of sweets and cereal bars in our handbags. this tesco is the biggest I’ve seen so we also did a bit of Christmas shopping as well.
    Now if you are staying at IBIS, I would then partake in the buffet breakfast open until 12pm and we just ate and ate around 11am.
    We got ready and started heading to studio for 230pm but got told to come back at 3pm as the children in need show was still filming. This was the only annoying part of the process as some staff kept telling us different times to come back to the queue even though initially it was 3pm. I think because they were filming two shows they were all a little confused. We got to the queue again at 3pm anyway (still raining a little) and got let in just after 3pm around 310pm. There is a wait while people put things into cloakroom so can be a pain if you are waiting to get into holding area (esp for us as still raining) but we got in quickly as were close to the front of the queue and we also decided to dump our big umbrella (had hole in anyway) and not bother with coats or mobiles (left in car before heading to afternoon queue) so could make quick getaway. It was useful as recording finished at 10pm and I was home south of Bristol before 12.30am so getting out was really fast and no waiting in any more queues!.
    Do not fret about bags in studio- some ladies got away with plastic carrier bags. A clutch bag is definitely fine but some had normal handbags as well, these will be searched but for recording devices. We didn’t have any food/water taken away so were quite hydrated and not too hungry.
    I have to say I didn’t mind the holding area. we got our photos done at the photo booth holding fake judges paddles (free photo) and went to the toilet a couple of times (portaloos outside the holding area so those with mobility issues ensure you give yourself plenty of time). We then relaxed on chairs near the studio door. As time got closer to go in though, you could fell the tension rising in the tent and people started to amass near these doors. We were more relaxed having been speaking to the great Sonia (hi Sonia!), who knew everything about the process for tickets (real resource of information), as she knew the first 18-20 were called first (after those needing special assistance), and get queued in numerical order so all very fair if you got up early and queued as long as we did! You are then led into studio and we got sat in the two row either side of the main camera opposite the band. I was on the left hand side on the end of the row next to the main cameras and Teleprompter. The view was amazing and they were in great seats although not really filmed (which we preferred). The professionals would come in and out during their pro dances and chat to us, as did the production cast and crew. I got a high 5 from Jeremy Vine and a big (sweaty) cuddle from Giovanni after the pro dance.
    It was an amazing experience. I loved it and made me even more appreciative of the quick set changes and work put in by all the cast and crew.
    Downside is definitely the closeness and size of the seats. They are tiny and you will get a numb backside so I recommend stretching your legs between live show and Sunday recording as it is very uncomfortable. Laos be prepared for sitting down for near 6 hours! There is little space between you and your neighbours (so get to know them so you can have a laugh about it), depending where you sit but as I plugged for the aisle seat I had a little more room but had to be aware of cameras and props coming in and out and stay behind the red tape. You can space out the chairs a little as they are cable tied but could move 3 chairs at a time so improved the sideways space.
    The show was amazing, the dances fantastic, so many good ones that Saturday, and they appeared to dance much faster than watching on TV.
    Big shocks for the Sunday show, I kept it a secret from everyone as it would spoil what was quite a surprising result (well perhaps at least one of the couples in the bottom two).
    You leave feeling like you seen something truly magical (I certainly did).
    I highly recommend going- never get this chance again probably as 4.8million people apply for tickets and we are the lucky ones!!!
    But be prepared for a few aches and pains the next day – give yourself a nice bath and don’t plan anything too strenuous on the Sunday.
    Best day ever!!! a couple of hours of queuing for pure magic- easy choice for me- I would go again in a heartbeat and do nothing different expect perhaps hope for a drier day and maybe stay another night at the IBIS so I could mull around after the show finishes and try to chat to some more dancers. If you have any specific questions, I am happy to answer them if about Elstree studio experience. Cant help with any Blackpool queries.
    Keep dancing!!!

    1. WOW, Gemma, gold star for your account! Sounds like you utterly loved it, inspite of the weather. If I can email you directly, you can email the photos and I can add to the blog itself – would that be OK? Another example of how the queueing isn’t the end of the world, but somehow adds to the excitement. Keeeeep dancing, indeed!

    2. Good review there Gemma! I queued from 6.30am and got tickets 159/160. We were sat near the back by the stairs they run up to see Claudia. That bit was fab, but we were disappointed as we could hardly see anything at all of the main show – you are on the same level as the row in front and viewing is very restricted. Was still a fab night and a great experience.

      1. Oh Lord, think I am better off arriving later and getting the cushion seats in the balcony with a better view them!

  67. I am going this weekend, armed with all your advice, staying in the IBIS for 2 nights so will let you know what it’s like to hang around! Thank you so much all of you, Mum and I are very, VERY excited!!

    1. Hi Steph, what time are you planning to arrive in the queue? I’ll look out for you! Saturday is going to be cold apparently, not like the mild weather others have enjoyed in the past few weeks! Ugh!

      1. Don’t worry Barbara, I queued last year mid December- it was minus degrees at 6.30am & tickets then weren’t validated til midday, we were not too cold despite 6 hours waiting. Enjoy the queue it was great fun.

        1. Ok Sam, I believe you! Have just ordered an inflatable cushion from Amazon after all the comments re hard chairs! And have found the old camping chair full of mould . Can’t wait (ironic)

          1. Its not your bottom that will hurt. You will end up with a hunched back!!!! or sore arms trying to keep them into your side!!!

  68. If you arrive at 7am for validation but staying overnight at Ibis can you get a free parking ticket from the hotel at that time?

    1. I’m sure they can help you. Perhaps email then first and explain what you would like. I only stayed Friday night with late check out and got validated Friday night until end of Sunday. They are really accommodating. Reminds me to write a great trip advisor review. My friend arrived at 730 am sat morning and parked in the smaller hotel car park until 930am when we got back to hotel and then got her parking ticket validated until end of Sunday. We only chanced no ticket as she was in the smaller car park closest to hotel and only for an couple of hours before we got back. Wouldn’t chance no ticket in bigger car park..checked this with the crossiant guy

      1. thanks for that info, big help as I will be validating tickets on my own and don’t want to waste time messing about in car park when I could be enjoying myself(?) in the queue! LoL

  69. Hey Everyone,

    Wanted to give an official run down of SCD audience experience after attending last Saturday 7th Nov. This is the third time I have been lucky enough to have received tickets.

    Previously I have just joined the queue an hour our so before validation and had no problems getting in. Last year I was around number 280 validated and ended up in the balcony next the Claudia’s interview corner – fantastic view and got really close to celebs and dancers. The previous time I was sat behind judges and as many of the rows are on the same level, views are pretty restricted. Seats really are allocated at random so you never really know for sure where you are going to be seated.

    This year I thought I would try and get the best seats and view possible by queuing from silly o’clock in the morning after reading blogs that suggested the first few people in the queue get front row seats.

    To start with the tickets were not in my name – they were a friends who forwarded them on. Concerned I wouldn’t be admitted as they weren’t in my name I rang the BBC on the number listed on the bottom of the tickets – they were helpful and made a note to say that I was picking up the tickets and confirmed I could pick them up on my own – so two people do not need to queue.

    I drove down from the Midlands around 1am and arrived in the IBIS car park around 2am. It’s free till 8am when you will need to go back and put 2 hours on. When I walked across to the SCD queue at 2.10am there was already two people in it but I was next. Over the next 7 hours (the first few went fast, the last less so) more and more people joined until tickets were validated at 9.10 am and I was given 3 and 4. I hasten to add here that no ID is checked and barcodes are just scanned. In fact my tickets had a girls name on them! The couple that were numbers 1 and 2 in the queue had told me they had been 1 and 2 before and had got seats on the front row next to the staircase leading up to Claudia’s interview space and that the first 6 in queue would be in front row.

    We were told to arrive back at 3pm (which we did) but it took a while to get into the holding area as children were coming out of the earlier recording. Once inside we got a drink and had our free photo taken in the SCD photo-booth with props etc. Incidentally I got chatting to a couple from Ireland who had turned up to have tickets validated at 11.30 am (2.5 hours after validation started) and they got numbers 490 and 491 – so even turning up that late, they still got in!

    There are loads of announcements to let everyone know that there would be plenty of notice when we would be called into the studio in number order. However, there was very little notice and I have to be honest when they announced the first 30 could go in, it was a bit of a panic/scrum/ free for all. The announcer asks politely that people honour the numbers they were in the queue e.g. to allow others that queued earlier to go first but most ignore this and just push there way through. Luckily we were near the door when this was announced – however numbers 1 and 2 were not and the group were escorted in regardless. The first 5 audience members were given front row seats opposite the stage with the celebs such as Gabby and Kenny Logan, Scott Mills and Danny Dyer sat immediately the right of us. There were 7 seats in the front row of this section and 7 behind and then a gap for cameras and the same to the left. Unfortunately numbers 1 and 2 ended up on the row behind as others had pushed ahead which seemed pretty unfair but goes to show that things are bit unpredictably organised when entering the studio.

    Normally I believe the first 28 audience members would be seated is this section but as there were lots of armed forces personnel present many seats were saved for them and the public were only allocated 5 seats on the front row.

    We were very lucky to get such great seats and it made the queuing worth it but I suppose my advice to anyone going is that there are no guarantees when it comes to seating. If you are one of the first in you get the best chance of a front row seat but the BBC’s priority is just getting you in – they don’t care how long you have queued and the priority is the show for people at home. Everyone who gets a ticket is lucky and a great view really is a bonus. Being part of the atmosphere and event is really the unique factor.

    If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask. This blog has been really helpful so want to contribute to helping others if I can.

    Graeme

    1. That’s really interesting Graeme – perhaps it will give hope that you don’t have to be slightly bonkers to queue at silly o’clock! Mind you, third time? I’m not sure we should be talking to you!

    2. What a fantastic round up Graeme! Thanks for info about the car park pay time starting at 8am and good to know those arriving after validation still got in. Obviously there are more than 400 tickets available…

    3. Hi graeme
      I honoured the numerical queuing and think it might have been you or someone else I let in front of me and mu friend as the queue system went crazy and things got pushy at the stage door. I sat on the row behind you but on the left end of the row closer to main camera so had a super view as was slightly staggered. Glad you both had such a good time.

  70. Having commented on this blog twice in the last few days I have managed to find out more details about the Blackpool show.
    The audience entrance will be the Bank Hey St entrance opposite Primark.

    BBC Studio audience staff will be on site from 12 noon to validate tickets. Once your ticket has been validated you will proceed into the Circus waiting area of the Tower.
    Please be aware that once you have gone through security you must stay in the waiting area until we proceed to the ballroom. Please note before this time no audience members can be admitted and you will be queuing outside. Please come prepared for the weather conditions and please note there are no external seating areas, refreshment or toilet facilities available before coming on site. Please remember to bring along tickets for validation. One ticket holder can now validate both tickets.

    Unfortunately not everyone who receives a ticket turns up so we have to over issue tickets to ensure full studio. We decide carefully how many tickets to issue as it is important to have a full studio but the last thing we want to do is disappoint people on the night.

    Please come dressed prepared for the weather conditions. There is no cloakroom on site and we cannot accept responsibility for bags, coats or changes of clothes. Mobile phones and cameras are not allowed in the studio so please leave them at home if you can, otherwise they will be taken from you at the security vetting area upon arrival and returned to you on leaving

    Tickets will be scanned on entry to ensure nobody duplicates tickets. Please note that on entry you will go through a security screening process and any dangerous items will be confiscated. You can bring a small amount of individually wrapped food items into the circus. Only water in plastic screw top bottle scan be taken into the ballroom.
    You can purchase refreshments in the holding area. You may be in the waiting area for up to 3 hours. A chocolate bar and a juice drink will be provided after the live show. Food will not be allowed in the ballroom.

    The approx. end time is around 10:30pm. Hope this helps people .

  71. Anyone give me information on the Blackpool venue know the Ballroom well, but , not read anything about getting tickets or what happens once in there so if any info! would be greatfull.

    1. John has posted up a couple of great comments, you might just need to scroll through them. It’s getting a bit mad on here!!

  72. My lovely wife has managed to get tickets for the 28th Nov. Would you belive we have tickets to see the filming of Take Me Out the week before also. Must buy a lottery ticket haha. Anyway, wife is in panic mode as a new outfit is needed, apparently!. Anyway Julia. Thanks for this blog as it has answered all our questions and I’m informed were getting there at 4.30am so soooo looking forward to that. Were staying at the Premier Inn on the Friday and Sat night. Will post details of our experience after the show.

    1. Craig, I want your luck! Another satisfied reader! Strictly Public Broadcast Service lives on. Happy days! I like the later shows, as the dancing just gets better and better! Look forward to your experiences and have a magical time!

      1. Hi
        Craig
        Hope you have a great time. The dancing does get better but unless you are one of the very few fortunate people to get a good seat you will only see it most of the time from waist up.
        Fingers crossed (and legs) you get a good seat

        1. Bob. Hopefully as we’re getting there at 4.30am we should get in first 20 seats. What concerns me now is other not respecting that when called into the studio from the marquee. I have read on here others rush to the door when it opens even though they have higher tickets. And more feedback on that?????

          1. Hi
            Craig
            Cant really help you on that as we were 79 and 80th . Two groups were called in before us. When our numbers were called up to go in, there did not seem to be any pushing in. As you are likely to be one of the first in I suggest you try and sit or stand near the entrance to the studio. As you enter the marquee it is other far right hand side..You may lose your seat if you decide to go and have your free photo taken. Good Luck

          2. Hi Craig,

            I was at the show last weekend and in the holding room everyone does stand nearer the front when it’s time to go in but you are called in blocks of numbers so maybe 1-20, 20-50 and so on. There were staff on the doors checking your numbers as you are led through.
            I would hope that they are checked properly and if anyone had a higher number that hasn’t been called yet, they wouldn’t be allowed through.
            When you get inside, the seats don’t actually have numbers on them which match, it’s sections that they use. So dependant on what range of seat numbers you have is where you’ll be seated. We were led into a section, then led to a row & told to sit. The ladies I queued with in the morning were in my same row but not directly next to me.
            Hopefully this helps. Any questions please just ask xxx

  73. Hello,
    I have tickets for this Saturday, and I am super excited!! Going down from Liverpool on Fri evening and planning on Queing early. Could anyone tell me, when you are in the holding area before going into the studio for filming, do you go through the same doors you entered in? Or are the studio doors in another part of the room? I will be damned if anyone is going to try and shove me out of the way if I had been in the que before 6am and they haven’t.
    This is such a wonderful blog, I’m so glad I found it! I will be sure to give any advice after my experience 🙂

    1. All power to your elbows. May they be wide and firm! Hope it all goes smoothly, and can’t wait to have a Blackpool experience! I’m really pleased you’ve found this helpful, it’s gone places I never expected.

  74. Anyone get front row in the balcony and if so what ticket number were you and what time did you arrive in the queue? Don’t fancy sitting out in the howling wind and rain tomorrow to end up in the back row of the stalls so thought I’d aim for a later ticket number and hope I get lucky!

      1. Thanks Graeme, I appreciate it’s pretty random but gives me good reason not to feel I have to get completely soaking wet from “silly o clock”!

  75. We have tickets for tomorrow, I am beyond excited!! We are planning to get in the queue by 6am….not looking forward to being battered about by these winds though!
    Will post an update once its all over.
    Julia, this is a great resource – thanks so much!

    1. You’re welcome! At least it should be dry… Until you come out! We’re sending up the really wild stuff from Cornwall later in the day, just as you exit from the glittery world! You’ll be too happy to care by then!

  76. Well super excited, have arrived at the Premier Inn and walked down to Maxwell road, it took 9 mins and really easy to find. Chair, blanket, umbrella and flask all ready, alarm set for 5.30am so night night and will blog tomorrow once I have been validated!

          1. Rain started 8.15 so only had an hour of getting soaked! Got tickets 255 & 256 from queue time of 7.15

    1. Hi Anna

      Were booked in the Premier inn in 2 weeks and planning on being in the queue at 4.30 so will look forward to your feedback.
      Hope all goes well and enjoy the show.

      1. Well here goes! Was a tad too excited to sleep so up at 4am, flask of coffee , waterproofs, chair, umbrella and dressed like the Michelin man I headed of to Maxwell road – arrived in the Q by 4.20am and numbers 27 and 28 although Derek was still nicely tucked up in bed! You only need one person in the Q to validate your ticket. Time flew by dribs and drabs of people by 6am the Q was to the 4th lamp post and about 200 people, at 7am did a coffee run to Macdonalds a short walk away, the Q the banter was great , met some lovely people Nicky, Laura, Anne and Lou. At 8 the Q had gone beyond the 6th lamppost and people continued to arrive. The rain started at 9am so we had been really lucky as dry and cold is better than being wet for hours. We were validated at 9.15am and I was back at the hotel by 9.30am. We had been told to be back at 3pm. Derek had organised for us to have a lunch in st Albans and as we where driving home after the show, we got dressed up, checked out and headed for lunch at 12pm. Nice and relaxed way to spend a couple of hours. At 2.30pm we headed back and parked at the council car park behind the Ibis, it’s free after 6pm so only had to pay 3.50. It has been raining constantly all day, we had bought with us some disposable ponchos to cover up (I would recommend not taking in a coat, bag or anything you need to check in as the Q on the way out looked tragic and we just breezed on by). We waited in the Q to get in for about 30mins, then they let you through in batches, into a holding marquee which has lots of seats, TV’s, bar, photo booth and hot drinks. Someone kept us motivated with prizes, info on what next etc. At 4.20pm they called seats 1-26, at this point this is my only negative comment, everyone had been so nice and Nicky, Laura were 25/26 so they went through first, we knew I would be the first of the next batch with Derek, Anne and Lou the security guard confirmed but there where two despicable women seats 44 and 45 who where intent on pushing us out of the way to be at the front, no manners no Strictly loyalty to others just brazen with their rudeness, I stood to the side to block them and we got through but they managed to sit behind us in seats which should have been for others who had Q’d earlier, shocking behavior!! So have your wits about you for this when you get the 5 min warning make your way to the doors to make sure you don’t miss your hard earned slot. Anyway once through you are led to your seats. Ours were about 6rows back to the left of the judges with perfect view of the band, Tess ran up and down past us all night, the judges talked to us and I offered Aliash a leg massage. We were part of 2 pre records and had 3 music acts too. Lots of star spotting as these seats were directly opposite the celebs and families! The comedian kept us going and Tess/Clau came to chat. I cannot express enough that the only negative was the behavior of others. This was by far the best experience ever, it was a long, excitable day and worth every shiver, raindrop, numb bum or muscle spasm from too much sitting and clapping. My main advice, keep your spirits up in the morning, get in the Q early to get nice seats, glam up and enjoy every second of this amazing experience…Keep dancing!

  77. Security tightened at Strictly after Paris tragedy.
    For all those attending shows in the coming weeks please be aware that the advice of arriving to get into studio from 3pm went out the window last night.(14 Nov show) We followed blog’s advice and turned up a bit later at 3.45 to find a queue longer than the one we joined in the morning. We decided to stand in the under hang of an underground garage opening half way down Maxwell Rd as it was raining and very windy and we had no coats on. We waited and waited until at 4pm went to find out what was happening.BBC gate staff told us they had to do thorough security checks so only about 20 people admitted at a time. We eventually got into marquee at 4.30 and they started admitting by groups before everyone was in. There was a semi civilised scrum to enter and in their haste to get everyone seated in time called block numbers only a few minutes apart meaning a lot of later numbers got in ahead of others. We had numbers 255/6 and ended up in balcony seats next to R stairs next to the band. Excellent view and a lot more space than stall seats. Very enjoyable night and a bonus extra live band pre recorded for the show in 2 weeks time. I strongly suggest future ticket holders don’t bother to arrive at studio until 4pm as waiting in terrible weather without a coat for over an hour has left me with a chill on my kidneys and a streaming cold today.! Do dress for the weather and good news is seems everyone got in. Met a couple from Leeds who arrived 9.45 am ,got ticket numbers 531/2 and had great seats in balcony too! Those waiting to get unused celeb family tickets also all got in and sat in even better seats, so in my opinion no need to queue from silly o’clock and catch pneumonia!

  78. Just like to say, thanks to everyone who commented on this blog, some really helpful information, everyone in the queue on Saturday was referring to it!
    We travelled down from Manchester on the day, got there for 7:30ish ( #287/#288 ) We were sat in the upper gallery, opposite the judges and nearer the stairs – I would say these are some of the best seats available – perfect view of the dance floor, the judges, the stairs, Claudia’s gallery, everything really ! Plus we seemed to have more leg room there as we weren’t as crammed in as they were downstairs! We were told there’s room for a grand total of 700 people inside altogether; the public allocation depends on how many tickets are claimed by the “production team” and guests, and then how many of those turn up! It seems there was around 200-250 of those leaving 400-450 for ticket holders. This will depend from week to week though.
    We checked into the Ibis early for an extra £20 so we could have more time to relax, the ibis is much more expensive then the Premier Inn by the way – and it was nothing special! Both are within easy walking distance.
    All in all I’d say there’s nothing to worry about – so long as you get there early enough. The whole day flew by and was a great experience.

    1. Oh wow. Fame indeed! Haha! Interesting perspective from the gallery, and you get to see the dancer’s feet?! I’d love to see in the Clauditaurium! Actually, I’d love to be IN the Clauditauriam!

  79. First of all thanks Julia for posting this blog that has now become the go-to resource for Strictly audience members. I found all the comments, tips and advice invaluable in making Saturday a most memorable day!

    Having a young family, Saturday nights out were a thing of the past and Strictly has always been our entertainment since it started back in 2004. I hadn’t considered applying for tickets to be in the audience until this year. Realising how lucky I was to get tickets on my first attempt at applying I committed to make the very most of the opportunity. So on the day I received the email, we booked the Premier Inn for two nights and Google directed us to this blog.
    Here is our experience. Not sure whether I can offer any further advice to that given above but wanted to share our day…
    We left Cheshire at 5pm and after depositing a child and dog with my Mum en route we were in the bar of the Premier Inn by 10:30pm. After unseasonably mild weather the forecast for the morning was looking colder so the flask was prepared and winter clothes were packed in the rucksack. Alarm went off at 3am and we were dressed and loaded with chairs, umbrellas and the rucksack and starting our brisk walk by 20 past. At the end of Maxwell Road in the dim light we came across the gate we guessed was the entrance to the studio. Huddled by it were several dark figures wrapped in scarves, blankets, woolly hats some sat under umbrellas to shelter from the wind rather than the rain. From a distance I said to my wife that we were either approaching the start of the queue or were stumbling on a group of homeless people! It was soon clear that it was the former and we said our good mornings and set up camp. It was 3:40am and we were 8th and 9th in the queue. This was the first mission accomplished. Even if the other seven people ahead of us were validating two tickets each (as is now allowed) we would still be in the first 20! Surprisingly the next 5 or so hours went really quickly as more and more people drifted past and joined the queue. The atmosphere was fantastic and the guys from the Ibis who provided free hot drinks and croissants were stars. 8:15am and the rain started and we had a soggy hour to end our wait before the BBC staff arrived to validate the tickets. The tickets were scanned and we received stickers 9 and 10 (YAY!!!) and told to come back at 3pm.
    After a couple of hours sleep, a bite to eat, a hot shower and the change from mountain expedition garb to evening wear, we caught our pre-ordered taxi and joined our second queue of the day in the rain! This time the queuing seemed to drag and it took over an hour to make our way through to the cloakroom, (extra) security and then the holding area. We spotted the doors to the studio and already people were gravitating that way and crowding the area. After reading previous comments about the ticket numbers not always being observed, there was no way I was going to let anybody take our rightful place near the front. We spotted our queue buddies from the morning and worked as a pack, elbows out to ensure that those of us that had put in the hours queuing got in first. We eventually were let in with the earliest tickets being stringently checked and taken to our seats. With the adrenalin of the scrum subsiding the relief of being in two of the best seats in the house kicked in. We were on the front row on the right hand side facing the orchestra with the judges to our left. My toes were virtually on the dancefloor and you could almost touch the dancers. I almost had to restrain the wife when Aljaz came over to say hello. OK you can’t stand up and you’re never on camera but as all the dances and musical acts are performed towards you and you see every dance step and link, it was well worth every second of the long morning queue!!
    The rest of the evening flew by as we were thoroughly entertained by the warm up, the excellent pro dance, the acts and then the live show itself. Juice, kit-kat and numb bum massage before the results show record and the tearful departure of Jeremy ended a wonderful experience. Just a bit of a wait to exit the studio and queue for the cloakroom then a 15min walk back to the Premier Inn to join our last queue of the day at the hotel bar, chatting with many of our fellow audience members all buzzing about the day!
    To conclude, if you’re a strictly fan, don’t mind a queue (or two) and don’t enjoy yourself, then, to quote LG “I’ll pickle me walnuts!”

    1. Oh wow! Lovely account, Simon… thank you for your comments and contribution. I love the notion of pack mentality to ensure your seats were as deserved. Now what would be the collective noun – a “sparkle”?

  80. Well I am just getting over our fabulous day on Saturday 14th, it was sooo tiring!
    We left home at 4.30am and arrived in the q at 6am. Took seats and blankets and the time passed by very quickly. Did a coffee run right before the Ibis hotel turned up with tea and croissants! Met some nice people in the q, got validated by about 9.30am and told to come back at 3pm. We were 131/132.
    Got back about 3.15 to a massive q in the rain. They had upped the security because of the awful Paris attacks so we didn’t get into the marquee until about 4.15. Once in we checked in our coats and stood around near to the studio doors. Once they started calling out numbers it was a bit of a scrum. This was my only complaint about the day. For example they called 50-100 out but then called 100-150 to be ready – so of course the 100-150 people surged to get in too. There really should be a fairer way to get people in, in the correct order.
    Anyway we elbowed our way in 😉 and were seated behind the judges on Craigs right, about 6 rows back. We were right by the stairs up to Claudia and could see the celebs and pros hanging over the balcony. Quite good seats. The 2 girls to our left had got there about 5.30am and the ladies to our right had got there at 7am – so you see its a bit unfair !! We were also next to the ‘wings’ where the dancers/bands were waiting to go on, so we got to blow kisses to Aliajz/Gleb and saw the bands waiting to go on.
    The warm up guy was hilarious and stayed the whole time to let you know what was going on. Tess and Claudia were great. We actually saw 3 bands which was so exciting. Lots of standing up, sitting down, whooping and cheering. To be honest it was exhausting but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
    The best thing was seeing how it all happens behind the scenes. So many people working hard to make it look as amazing as it does.
    It finished by about 10pm and then there was a bit of a q to get your coats, however we were back at our car at the Tescos’s car park by 10.30 so not that bad.
    As someone else said previously, don’t plan much for the next day, we were exhausted yesterday!
    Oh forgot to say, re not eating, I didn’t feel hungry at all (and I’m usually a pig!) and took in a plastic water bottle, along with the Kitkat and juice you get.
    Keeeeeep dancing !!

  81. Thank goodness I found this ! We have booked the Holiday Inn , will this be ok ? Says only 10 mins away ? Staying the night before and returning to Midlands straight after .
    The queuing and uncertainty does put me off a bit . Surely ther would be a better way of doing it .

    1. I am quite sure if a bit of effort was employed there would be a better way to allocate tickets. But the truth of the matter is that the BBC don’t have to do more because there are enough dedicated SCD fans that will put up with the negative aspects to get tickets and so ensure a full audience. If the studio was never full and the reason was found to be the ticket allocation process then they would change it I’m sure.

      We going to see Take Me Out being filmed this coming Thursday and have been given a pair of PRIORITY tickets which means we turn up 1 hour befor doors open in the evening and are guaranteed to get in. If were late or do not turn up they the remaining spaces go to those in the non priorty queue. At least this way not every one is queing all day.

      1. And in the bad weather too. I have seen take me out too, however was a little dissapoonted that Paddy didn’t really engage with the audience at all .

      2. Well said Craig
        What a surprise ITV have come up with a novel idea of PRIORITY tickets !!!!! Have the BBC not got anyone who can think of novel ideas like this!!!!!
        Come on BBC use a bit more of the Licence Payers money to employ people who can come up with novel ideas.
        Come to think of it are they Novel or common sense ideas?
        Maybe then they might have a bit more consideration for Licence Payers. Whom without them there would be not be the hit show SCD.

        1. When you have people saying it’s like winning the lottery, they’ve no reason to change, and I suspect they won’t. 4.8million people applying for maybe 5,000 tickets? Why would they change?
          I’ve never seen Take Me Out (believe it or not, don’t watch much TV for most of the year), but in some shows the audience is invisible (although heard). I know for Strictly the Beeb don’t want empty seats, so perhaps it’s a different rationale because of this.

          1. Just wanted to mention the hilarious conversation we had with a BBC crew member when we were at last weeks Strictly recording. We were seated directly opposite Lens lens section in the opposite balcony and were told we were directly in shot so not to drink from our water bottles during this part in case the branding was seen! When we watched it back on the Sunday night we felt about laughing as you couldn’t even us let alone any branding on a bottle! What a joke!

    2. There is DI but the BBC want do it while so many SCD fanatics keep saying it is a great experience. Mainly those who are lucky enough to get good seats.

      1. What concerns me is if it snows or bad rain? Don’t want to sit in wet clothes for hours if they keep us waiting before the show .

  82. I was in the queue at 6.30am last Saturday 14th of November 2015, got tickets 177 and 178, definitely single people in the queue validating two tickets as I counted 140 people infront of me, also no ID checked as couple behind me were using their relatives tickets, they queued at 9am and got ticket number 423 so queue early would be my advice, was told to come back at 3pm, had to queue for an hour in the rain before we were let in, at 4pm, I would recommend that you have something fairly warm on as soon as you get in the holding marquee you have to give your coat in straight away and the doors are open and it’s quite cold inside marquee, had my bag checked,well glanced at, I had food and water in it, which I took in, toilets outside marquee, you do get the chance to go to the loo inbetween recordings, actually managed to go before the live recording, loads of VIP’s went, so we followed. Tickets were not checked to get you in the studio, you are just asked to let people pass with lower tickets than you, bit of a push to get in, and I’m sure people went in when they shouldn’t of, as people have said, try and get near the top right door, so when your block of numbers is called you get in quite quickly. Contrary to what some people have said, yes the chairs are fairly close to one another, but the leg room was massive, I’m 5’10” ft and had over 20 inches infront of me, I would say that those who queued first, could not stand up to do standing ovations and quite often cameramen were blocking their view, we sat on righthandside of the band and had an excellent view of dancefloor and judges, also people in the balconies are not allowed to stand. Lots of clapping and cheering later we got our coats from the cloakroom, yes there was a big queue, but it soon went down, there is no way I would of been without it. All in all I felt like I had won the lottery to be there and it was worth every spot of rain, and numb bum!!! Such an amazing day and made two lovely friends who we bumped into on the Friday night, then spent the rest of the weekend with them, shared taxi’s, lunch etc… Stayed at Premier Inn, got taxi to studios only cost 4 or 5 pound, was a good idea, especially between four of us. An experience you will never forget!!!

    1. Thanks Elaine – it’s lovely to have different experiences and perspectives. Love the notion that it’s like winning the lottery… and that you made friends during your weekend of Strictly.

    2. I have tickets for the 12th December and very excited. Could anyone who has been before let me know roughly how long they queued for in the morning to get their ticket validated? I am planning to get there about 8am but wondered how long it took to get tickets validated?

      Many thanks

  83. I was lucky enough to be at the show too last Saturday and alot of the comments from last Saturday I echo (especially the scrum to get into the studio), here’s my account that I posted on my FB page!

    Mum and I had so much fun and have almost recovered after an amazing ‘mini break’ to the land of Borehamwood and being gripped by Strictly Fever! We were so lucky to get the tickets to see this amazing show being made (assigned to me by my work colleague, however no ID was needed). The whole experience is a bit crazy but magical too so I feel like I have been sprinkled with fairy dust as I am still glowing today! There is a palaver to get through before you actually know you have got a seat, as the ticket by email is actually a ‘ticket to queue’. The ‘tickets’ get validated at 9am on the Saturday, so after spending a sleepless night (way too excited to sleep!) at the IBIS we arrived at 5.30am (number 1 & 2 in the queue got there at 1.30am and the next couple at 3am). We queued with some really lovely people just as excited as us, Carmin & Darren, Julie and Tom and we were allocated number 93 and 94. I also chatted to others in the queue, a couple from Dingwall near Inverness, Robin and Roz from Lincoln and Michael and Trevor from Provence. So many people had heard of this blog too, THE place for top tips. Referred to as ‘Julia’s blog’, it’s now that famous! Anyway we went back to the IBIS and then came back in our gladrags at 3.30pm to a horrendously long queue, once in the holding area there was a bit of scrum as previously mentioned (with sharp elbows at times…) to get in to the studio and allocated your seat.

    But then WOW!!

    We were 5 rows back, positioned to the left of the judges as you look at them (ie behind Craig’s elbow) and right by the stairs so when all the celebs went up to chat to Claudia they went past us! A-maze-ing!! In the warm up they played ‘Who wants to be a judge?’ and I can’t resist something like that so my hand was up like a shot and got chosen to pretend to be Craig!!! Ha ha ha ha!!! I got to sit on his seat (with his sparkly pink cushion) and do an impression and then pick a paddle to score the warm up man and his partner (some poor girl from the audience) for their ‘dance’.

    When the dancers started to come out Alijaz was lovely, waving, catching kisses, a few hugs to people, so nice. Not many of the others did this, and a few were quite aloof, but hey, they are doing a job. All the dancers are smaller than you think, especially Janette Manrara, she’s like a doll. The studio is smaller too than on TV, almost cosy. Everything is more sparkly and glittery and shiny than you can imagine! Tess is so much prettier in real life, Darcey is tinier than you think, and far more pretty too. Everyone is much better looking in person, Alijaz and Gleb are almost too handsome to look at! TV seems to not show what people are *really* like. Claude was hysterical, funny and rude, makes you feel relaxed, whilst Tess was more reserved almost, just saying hello and welcome. Claudia was telling us about her numerous pairs of Spanx she was wearing – both had FABULOUS killer heels on for both shows…jealous….

    The filming took about 5 hours so by the end you are exhausted from whooping at every turn and lift and clapping so much your hands are swollen (yes) and you almost just want it to end….almost! We filmed bits for the results show first – the guests and links. Then straight into the live show, which is totally live and so very exciting! Then a break (free KitKat and Just Juice, woo hoo!) before more filming for the results show, before the phones line close eg Lens lens (wooooooh!!) and some other bits, more clapping, more whooping! Then they do a big chunk of the results show almost in ‘real time’, ‘first couple in the dance off spotlight’ , Claudia’s interviews, the dance off, the judges choice, the last dance for the lovely, lovely Jeremy, then over…… Big lights on, the end of the party!

    They told us to leave as quick as we could as they had to pack everything up for Blackpool, but rather than standing facing the backs of others whilst waiting to get out (door was the other side of the Studio and we were NOT ALLOWED on the dance floor…big burly bouncers growling like bears!) I thought I would see if I could catch Peter Andre’s eye for an autograph, as you do! Well, one autograph, enormous squoosh and double kiss, and double kiss for mum (which made her all girlie!!) later we were on our way out of the Studio, two of the last five leaving! Peter was very polite, a great guy, very slim but sturdy! He was extremely and happy to chat, much to his ‘minder’s horror! Wished him well and to continue to do a good job!

    The whole thing was an amazing crazy experience that I would recommend to anyone if you are ever lucky enough to get tickets. Book the hotel (IBIS opp the studios or the Premier Inn down the road), make a weekend out of it and just grit your teeth through the copious amounts of queuing! To be fair most of it goes quickly as you are all so excited and we all share a common interest! Worst bit was the queuing later as it took longer as security was tight following Friday’s events and it was raining so we were all getting a bit soggy!
    BUT all of the queuing is FAR outweighed by the atmosphere once you are in the studio. I loved every second, I think that was evidenced by the stills of me that my friends have posted on FB on the TV – OMG, on TV with my wild windswept hair and big cheesy grin. Would I do it all again? In. A. Heartbeat. x

    1. Positively sparkling account! Don’t suppose the cheesy grin has subsided much. Tut tut to all the people scrambling to get up the order. I’m quietly disappointed.

  84. Love reading everyones accounts! Can’t believe it was a week ago we were there! Steph – I was the loud whooper behind you!!! So glad you got a kiss from Peter… I was holding out for Aliajz but was happy with the blown kisses we got 😉

  85. Slightly off topic. Went to see Take Me Out being filmed last night at Maidstone studios. Was good fun. Anyway, this moring it turned out I have another 2 PRIORITY (guaranteed entry) tickets for Take Me Out next Thursday. We don’t want them. If anyone would like them I can email them to you.

    1. I am happy to act as facilitator of that if anyone does want to respond to Craig – I can see email addresses, so I can forward one to the other!

  86. I have tickets for the 5th December! My husband and I are so very excited and grateful. I have booked the friday and saturday at the travelodge so that I can queue early. Thanks to everyone who has posted and thanks Julia for the blog. I promise a full report x

  87. I have tickets for 5th December also, very excited and taking my mum. We have booked into premier inn and going to get a taxi there. I was just wondering if the staff at premier inn will book it for us or if we need to do it ourselves. Also, has anyone been this time of year before and if so is it really cold in the studio?
    Thanks for this blog it is really helpful

    1. I stayed at the premier Inn last weekend, for strictly and yes they did ring us a taxi, I would recommend that you book it early, as one lady wanted a taxi and they were all busy. Inside holding area, is cold so when you hand your coat in, make sure you have something fairly warm on, inside the studio it was absolutely fine, I had nothing on my arms and felt ok, you will have a great night!!!

  88. I am beside myself, we have tickets for the 28th November. I am planning lots of fun games for the early morning queue if anyone would like to join in????

    1. I will be looking for fun & games as it’s my birthday & want to enjoy it all!!! Looking forward to it but apprehensive about the scrum, weather & lack of food!! Staying in the Premier Inn on Friday & Saturday – see some of you there!

  89. Bkackpool Strictly yesterday, a further update. Yesterday I posted about the experience until security clearance, now I have heard from my daughter about the security experience.

    Before attending the BBC sent an email explaining the day and said to bring snack food that was individually wrapped and a small bottle (plastic) of water – but it had to fit in a handbag. My daughter (DD) and SIL duly followed the instructions by getting an M&S meal deal each. My SIL also had a packet of mints.

    5 minutes before validation at noon Blackpool Tower security staff announced that no food or water was going to be allowed through. They said this was due to airport style security at the Tower. This was a complete lie, as they did allow my SIL to take his cigarettes and lighter through. What poses the greater security threat to the Tower, a wrapped sandwich or a lighter (or even worse, lit cigarettes left all over the Tower).

    My DD demanded a BBC executive come to security and showed them the BBC. Blackpool instructions. The BBC manager on site said food was allowed in the Circus, but the security for the Tower refused admittance unless all food, including the packet of mints were binned by them, insisting this was for security.

    My DD said many others were complaining, not just her, and everyone said it marred a good day.

    My DD said that if people had been warned at 11.00 am they would have had time to eat their food, so was a 5 minute only warning a deliberate thing by the Tower security team? We’re they reselling the stolen food and water afterwards? We’re they taking bribes from the catering franchise inside
    the Circus!

    Once inside the Circus a sandwich meal deal was on sale for £6, cash only accepted. My DD said many people boycotted this on principle as they felt the Tower security staff had stolen their own food, against the BBC specific instructions, but the BBC did not fight the cause of the customer.

    My DD said this marred an otherwise brilliant, but long day. What did she have to eat for the day – a bacon bun and coffee from Greggs, a bit if her sandwich before security removed it from her, 2 Kit Kats and a fruit juice (provided by the BBC during the filming break).

    Although the dancing experience may be brilliant, don’t go to the Blackpool Tower Strictky experience if you have special dietary needs, a diabetic could have died, or you want to be treated as a human being.

    The Tower security staff lied, this was clearly not about airline security levels when lighters were allowed in but not sealed wrapped food and water. The BBC did not do enough to protect their customers, the licence payers who attended.

    Dad did get the name of the overall BBC manager responsible for Strictly and is formally complaining. I will also suggest she complains to the Tower management, the Chairman of the BBC, the Chief Executive and the Leader of Blackpool Council. Major health and safety breaches have occurred, theft of personal belongings has taken place, and some sort of fraud may be taking place.

    I will post more of the Strictly show experience when I catch up with my DD again. They had front row seats opposite the band, they were excellent. DD said the dancers and celebs were all very friendly and chatted to the audience.

    1. What a mixed bag, and thank you for taking the time to make the observations. I really feel for the people who acted in good faith and seem to have been unfairly treated by the Tower Security staff. I have to admit I was in two minds whether to edit out some of the comments – but I’ve left them in. They’re emotive, and I have to be very careful about libellous commentary, but they just about hang on opnion/experience. On matters Strictly, I’d rather ‘stay in the glitter’! Anyway, it seems more like the Tower of London in Tudor times than the sparkle of the Blackpool Tower, and the audience deserved better.

      1. Hi, DD feels, this morning, that the whole issue was due to poor communication between the BBC staff and the Tower security team, as well as poor and lack of timely communication with the queuing audience.

        DD and SIL don’t feel there was any fraudulent intent in any way at all by any of the staff, they were merely doing as instructed but they do feel robbed by the lack of clear communication between the BBC staff on site, the communication coming out of the central BBC, and the local security team. Unfortunately, where there is poor communication it can lead to unfounded suspicion of motives. Letters of complaint will still be going to relevant people to try to influence the future audience experience at Blackpool.

        It was only one part of the experience, which was overall a real insight to the world of TV in the making and a wonderful glitzy Strictly experience at the home of dance.

        1. It’s so emotive when you’re feeling let down on their part, isn’t it? Tnank you for the continued updates and reflections. Hope you’re enjoying Paris!

          1. Hi Julia, we have just arrived back in the UK (just leaving Hull now on the final leg of our journey).

            I cannot believe we have been away 3 weeks, I got the text from the BBC about Blackpool the day after we arrived in France.

            Thank you for asking, we did enjoy Paris. Out stopover there had been planned for months and although we nearly decided to cancel we decided to go ahead with it anyway. I suppose we felt we did not want to give in to threats, although I will admit to not sleeping very well as it can be difficult to still the mind from worry. We will go back to Paris though, we won’t give in.

            I spoke to DD when we got to the ferry last night, they had arrived home by then from Blackpool and were feeling very tired. She was also still keeping the secret of who was eliminated. She said they all took an oath and she was sticking to it so as not to spoil any enjoyment, so I will be watching when I get home.

      2. Well said Julie. Its about time you put this point forward instead of always excusing the BBC on how they treat their LIcence Payers , It is all very well saying I’d rather ‘stay in the glitter’ but lets have the BBC treat the Licence Payer as humans and not cattle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If more people complained about the BBC’s conduct towards the Licence Payer perhaps they would take notice.

        1. Oh Bob. I can say that I want to ‘stay in the glitter’, because this is a party that’s grown out of a shared experience of being in the audience, and that’s what the stream of visitors is after. Not rants – there are plenty of forums and darker places on the web for that. This isn’t a forum. It’s a page on the blog that I’m more than happy to facilitate to help others have a better experience of being in the audience. And it’s Julia, not Julie.

          1. Hi
            Julia sorry for getting your name wrong. I am not ranting but just trying to highlight to the BBC how they are treating their LICENCE PAYERS. I fully appreciate you are trying to facilitate in helping others to have a better experience of being in the audience. I truly believe you are doing a wonderful job at that. However it is also very important to tell the truth about the whole experience. Important to highlight to the BBC how that experience could be made more enjoyable for the LICENCE PAYERS.

    2. Although it appears it was the security staff at Blackpool Tower implementing this silly rule of no food. I bet the BBC did nothing to sort it out. One again the BBC as long as it gets it show done it does not care how its Licence Payers are treated.

  90. I spoke with DD and SIL this morning. An update on the food confiscation, DD complained to Hilary in the Circus who then arranged for the unopened food to be donated to a homeless charity. DD saw the waste bins being opened and the food sorted.

    Other than this, apart from the live show, everything was filmed twice, including Take That, audience laughter and clapping was pre filmed, links were pre filmed. Also things were filmed out of show sequence, meaning at least 3 dress changes for the judges.

    The group dances were amazing, the Blackpool dance floor bounced like a trampoline.

    All the Celebs, dancers, link person, Tess, Claudia and Take That took time to talk to the audience. DD said Claudia is incredibly funny but cannot walk in her very high heeled shoes. The judges, on the other hand, were only happy on camera, otherwise were unfriendly and miserable off camera.

    Their seats were near the Clauditorium and Lens Lens. They had cameras behind them so were not able to stand for the ovations, which were all orchestrated anyway.

    The overall experience of seeing TV made was brilliant and not too be missed but as an audience at Blackpool they felt like cattle. The couple they met in the queue who had been to Elstree last week said the Elstree experience was much better, they felt more like an audience and less like cattle.

    1. That sounds a little more conciliatory – at least there was a response. Well done to your DD.
      There’s certainly herding in both places, but I think I’d rather Elstree on what you’ve said!

  91. Hi.

    Hoping someone may be able to help with a query.

    My friend has got tickets for next weekend. Problem is she doesnt arrive into London until 230 and then needs to make her way up on the train. I imagine she wont get there til 330.

    Without having her tickets validated earlier in the day, is anyone able to advise if she will be able to get in still?

    Thanks so much in advance – hoping someone can advise.

    1. Hi Celia, unfortunately I would say that it’s highly unlikely she’ll be successful then. It’s the time the auduence are going in for real, rather than queueing to be validated. Is there a friend who would queue for her? I’d be interested in other’s views, but I’m thinking it’s unlikely…

        1. If it helps, and she’s prepared to take a chance, I mentioned in my comments for the 14th Nov show that the BBC did their very best to accommodate everyone who showed up. I met people who had arrived late getting ticket numbers in the 500s and as we queued to go in several people who turned up at 3.30-4pm got in as a lot of celeb friends and family didn’t turn up on that week. If its not a “special” week like Halloween or Movie night I think she stands a good chance of getting in and as she hasn’t had to queue all morning it might be worth the risk…but I accept celeb ticket availability changes from week to week but as there are less dancing in the show now probably more seats in the celeb family side are available. The late comers got better seats than us who had queued in the rain all morning, so worth a try!

          1. Interesting take! I guess it depends on how risk averse you are. There may be more people interested as the dancing gets better and better… wasn’t it amazing in Blackpool (complete aside)? Would you risk it? That is the big question.

          2. Thanks. I did wonder if this was a possibility. Would be gutted to miss it. Trying to figure out a plan at the moment. Fingers crossed.

  92. Hi to everyone who has tickets for the 28th November! Me and my friend are so looking forward to it. I am travelling down on Friday from Blackpool and feeling very happy now to have tickets for Elstree!!
    Katie – we are up for games. Anything to pass the time:-)
    Alicia-franks- we are also staying in the Travel Lodge for two nights so up for sharing taxis or queuing together. Whatever it takes to have the best time ever! We aim to arrive on Friday about 3:30pm.

    1. As I have to work the Friday we will not get there until 9ish, but we will definitely need a calming drink so hopefully see you 🙂
      I am undecided on whether to get up at stupid o’clock or whether to be reasonable and get there for 6ish. I think I will see whether I can sleep, I am sooooo excited!

  93. Looking forward to meeting you all on the 28th!!! Vicky and Craig, I am sure there is lots of fun we can have!!! Anyone else staying at the premier inn???

  94. Blackpool Experience
    The ‘tickets’ started to get validated at about 11:20am or so and we were told that as it was extremely cold outside they wanted to get everyone in earlier. We had only arrived at about 11am so I was sceptical we would get in anyway. Validation complete we thought we will be in soon how “WRONG”! we were .To make matters worse we were told that no drink or food was allowed. We had brought food and drink and knew that the website had stated you could take in food and drink to the circus area and a bottle of water later in the ballroom as long as it was a screw top one! Thus began a mass eating and drinking binge by everyone outside including visits to Burger King next door. Many people by this time were very well annoyed to put it mildly and a lot of people complained about the situation but it fell on deaf ears. We actually got in around 1pm, yes folks so much for getting us in because it was cold. Getting in was another experience in itself. There was airport security type machine you had to walk through. I noticed all the food on the right hand side that they had confiscated including tins! The security at this point seemed a little mish mash and contradictory as a certain bombing had taken place previously by using a coke tin and detonator. My wife’s bag was searched and some chewing gum and mints were taken out, but nobody told her that they had taken them out. She only noticed later what they had done. I also heard of people arguing about tablets potentially being taken off them and also heard about lighters being allowed in.
    We went into the circus and behold, food was on sale at disgustingly high prices. We stayed in there about 2 to 3 hours but were entertained by a lovely Scottish girl.
    We got into the ballroom and how magnificent it looks. However it did look smaller than I thought it would be. We were in the balcony with a reasonable view. We were level with were the table was with the celebrities on in the opening dance routine but to the right.
    Then began the show which included a funny guy who was telling jokes getting information from the floor manager constantly through the night. As a previous blog quoted they played ‘Who wants to be a judge?’ .Then the dancers came out and did two takes of the opening number for the live show. Claudia was so funny and never stopped joking. Tess is quieter but still has her moments. The filming lasted about 5 hours or so. Sections were filmed for the results show first like Take That , Opening Dance twice, Craig’s Entrance on the Guitar twice and other numerous bits that when you watched the re run of the show all fell into place like a jigsaw. Then came the live show, which is completely live and exciting. In-between each dance when they show what training they have been doing during the week the floor crew were changing sets etc. which is something to be seen. I think they probably have about 2 to 3 minutes to do it in. Then there is a break with a free KitKat and Just Juice, before the filming started. This included Lens lens, Opening dance(twice) for the Sunday night and some other little sections as well as Anastacia performing a song (twice ) .Then they do a big section of chunk of the results show ie Couples in the dance off , Claudia’s interviews, the dance off, the elimination with the judges choice and Jamelias last dance .
    The strictly show was more than brilliant but as stated before the organisation prior to that was a shambles. As also stated in another blog it was clearly not about airline security levels when lighters and other things were allowed in but not sealed wrapped food and water. The Tower security mob acted like jobsworths throughout and we were even told by the security and the warm up guy on the dance floor we could stand up in the balcony as we were the third row back. This later changed but only when a jobsworth told us to sit down which we challenged. This was apparently for health and safety reasons. However we were 3 rows back and our seats were chairs which had been added. I would have thought that a health and safety reason would have been don’t add more weight to any area that doesn’t usually have extra weight on it but maybe I am thick . I mean come on guys the ballrooms been there for decades, the balcony isn’t going to collapse or is it!!

  95. Further to my previous mail I have found out that a person has a blog which tells you the results of the vote off around 10ish on saturday night. The persons blog says they have an informer who leaks the result out to them . That can only mean a member of the crew or a person regularly attending the shows . However if it is security it would be interesting to visit the blog after the Blackpool show as I would guess it would be different security in a different location / venue. So much for the strictly code being kept by the audience

    1. The Strictly Spoiler guy? I’ve seen it. Funny how he asks people to write to the BBC to complain (I think it’s to do with the whole charade thing). I don’t use it, but then it probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that I’m a Strictly purist, but there will always be people who go about things their way. Each to their own.

  96. Hi, my daughter and I are going to the Christmas Special- we’re very excited and have our sparkly gear at the ready!
    We’re travelling down the night before from Harrogate and I was a bit nervous about what to expect, but finding your blog has been a life saver- thank you!
    ps anyone else going??!

    1. Hi, I’ve also got tickets for the Christmas special and really looking forward to it. I’m thinking of staying up the night before at the IBIS to get in the queue early – my daughter can’t make it that early as she has a dance exam in the morning. So I’m aiming to validate for us both. Other worry is that then I have to got to work – something I can’t get out of that finishes at 3pm – giving me an hour to get from Victoria to Elstree, picking up my daughter at St Pancras en route. Starting to stress a bit about the logistics – but this blog is a really wonderful source of information.

  97. It has been such a great help reading your blog.
    I also have tickets for the Christmas special and soo excited.
    A couple of things I understand tickets are validated from 9am but best to get there early? How early?
    Where is best to park?
    I have phoned to check if I can just get tickets validated as my sister can’t make it till later….they said on the phone that it will be fine just for me to do it as its my name on the tickets.
    Is it worth getting a hotel room for the day as it will be a pretty long one!
    Many thanks I am very excited!!!

  98. Blackpool!!! Amazing show but I have to agree with the others the food saga was so disappointing. And im not convinced it was done for security purposes either, it just didn’t make any sense! A warning to others that apply and get invited to Blackpool next year. Its great but its a LONG day, too long really… Hours of queuing in the cold (and we were lucky as it didn’t rain). I joined the queue with my friend at 930, supposed to go in at 12 but didn’t get in till 1230ish. Then hours of waiting inside the circus with poor overpriced food options (popcorn, haribo, crisps etc), gutted as I had to hand in my banana, apple and houmous wrap for “security reasons” and had no healthy options to purchase. By the time we got to the tower ballroom, round 4 430 we were already tired! The shows didn’t finish till 11, my back ached I was so hungry and I just wanted to go to bed. And im young and fit! It would have been so much kinder if they could have let us go home/hotel wherever to get changed and fed in between validating tickets at 12 and entering the ballroom round 430. Like they do with all the other shows. It really would have made a HUGE difference!! Anyway I really hope for other peoples benefits they change this ridiculous process it not fair, they ask enough of us inside when we have to clap and cheer on demand, they should treat us a little better! On the plus side the show was great, the ballroom was amazing, got lots of smiles and waves and hellos from various celebrities, Take That and Anastacia were great! Im sorry this isn’t very well written Im in an awful rush but I got so much information from this blog its only fair I offer some too! I queed at 930 by the way and got numbers 249 and 250. the queue was ok actually everyone in good spirits and as you only need one person to validate you can take it in turns to go off to the toilet grab coffees etc. Just the 4 hour wait inside before going to the ballroom was the killer sort it out BBC please!!! Funnily enough towards the end of the recordings we were told we were getting tired and not clapping and cheering enough! There is a simple solution to this – we wouldn’t have been so tired and drained if you hadn’t taken our food and made us wait so long inside!!!

    1. Thanks so much for rushing your comments! Loved hearing them! It adds to the richness of the information. Quite a thick stew by now!

  99. Thanks for the great blog :)- have just found out have tickets for the 12th dec!!!! SO excited but felt a bit deflated when found out about it only being a golden ticket to queue- they don’t tell you that when you enter the ballot! Anyway, was wondering if those going to coming saturday shows can let me know if 2 people need to be there for validation….I know people have said not now, but the my e-ticket clearly says all attending need to be present for validation- conflicting information it seems?! Thanks in advance!

    1. I remember that feeling too, but it was the best fun in the queue, as others are testifying. It seems that only one person is needed to validate. You could always call up the BBC if you wanted to hear it for yourself. Somewhere down the thread (or did I update in the main blog) is a phone number. You’ll have an amazing time!

      1. You should have received a secondary email with more information where it clearly states that ome person can validate more that one ticket.

      1. Thank you all- have just received second email confirming only one person needs to be there for validation- phew! My sister and I are coming from afar and different places so was unlikely we could both be there before 9am….

    1. I know!!! Not good in the mornings at the best of times!! Am trying to be relatively sanguine about the whole thing and trying not to get too stressed and caught up with competition to be near the front of the queue…..will see nearer the time! Don’t want to waste this opportunity though as have been applying for tickets since the show started!

  100. Has anybody on this blog or know of people being refused at validation stage? I have tickets for 12th December but can’t get to elstree until 11am / 11.30am on that day. And was wondering was this too late , I rang a number I picked up on this blog to bbc tickets and shows and the representative I spoke with whilst he couldn’t guarantee we’d get in he didn’t think it would be a problem he was of the opinion that all with tickets get in ???? Just wondering any body any thoughts or comments ,

    1. Last night there were people in the audience who had their tickets validated at 1pm. Obviously there are no guarantees, but the production crew do their best to ensure everyone gets in!

  101. Hi
    This is probably a silly question but I’ve been looking on google maps to see where Maxwell Road and the studios are and I just want to know do you go down Maxwell Road from Elstree Way towards the Community Centre to join the queue? The reason I ask is because it seems to be in the opposite direction to the studio and a fair walk. I just want to make sure I know where I am going as it will dark and my sense of direction is terrible.
    Thanks

  102. Well the day is here. Been in the queue since 3.50. We’re number 8 & 9. Weather is quite good considering it’s nearly December. Its now 5.30 and there is a steady stream of folk arriving. More to follow as it happens.

    1. Hi Craig, we arrived at 5.30 and what a lovely bunch of fools we all are!!! Thank you to the lovely people in the Q who played games with us!!! It made the time go a lot quicker!!!
      Now back at our hotel defrosting and getting more excited for later!! X

    2. Well time went really quick with a trip to Tesco for coffee. Validation at 9.15. We got numbers 11 & 12. Back at 3.30.

    3. We’re going on Monday 7th for Christmas Special, staying at the Ibis, do you think going to queue at 6am will be early enough???! With my 14 year old daughter so we MUST get in!!!

  103. Craig you must have been the people under the quilts on the chair then ? We joined the queue just after 7am and got number s 217 & 218. So should be on the balcony.

    1. Hi Caroline. We were not under the quilts but we were just about next to them. First lady in the queue arrived at 2.30. We were there at 3.50 with numbers 11&12. Another pair there at 6 with numbers 91&92 and yourselves at 7 with 217&218.

      1. Hi Katie. Yep, the queue was actually quite fun. I expect if it had been raining it would have been different story. Just have the scrum in the holding area to deal with now.

          1. Thanks Julia. And thanks for this Blog. It has made the experience so far all very slick as we were well prepared.

          2. It really does cheer me to hear that – I never imagined it would be the case. Enjoy every second, there look to be some incredible dances tonight. Very lucky! Blow Aljaz a kiss from me (well, you might want to delegate that!).

  104. Elbows at the ready!!! Getting very excited while we wait for our meal!!
    Julia, brilliant job on the blog it has been a real eye opener to the whole experience!! Thank you!!

    1. You’re most welcome. I’m sitting in Cornwall, the wind is howling, the rain is lashing it down, and I’m hoping it stays this end of the country until you’re all safely tucked up in bed, still smiling about your glittery day… ✨✨

  105. My daughter, who had my Blackpool Strictly tickets, said Aljaz and Gleb were even more handsome in person than on the TV.

  106. Here’s my review of last night’s Strictly experience:
    We stayed at the Ibis on the Friday night, purely just for the proximity. They validated our parking ticket for 3 days and I would recommend the hotel for both of those reasons – proximity and parking.
    I arrived at the queue a bit before 4:30am and ended up with ticket numbers 15 and 16. The lady who arrived first got there at 2:30am. The queue was surprisingly, given the cold weather, quite good fun: everyone was in good spirits and, as many other have said, the hours just flew by!
    A lady from the BBC came past at about 7ish and wandered up the queue giving us all a bit of information. It seems that the ladies who validate the tickets start their shift at 9am and by the time they’ve readied themselves and arrived at the front of the queue, ticket validation starts from about 9:15am.
    We were told to come back at 3:30pm and there was quite a long queue to get into the marquee / holding area. Everyone would have been well aware of the process (coat check, bag check, no mobile phones etc.) and you’d think would have prepared accordingly or at least been ready to hand over everything necessary, but the queue moved quite slowly. We probably could have arrived at 4:30pm and walked straight in, but didn’t want to miss our number being called into the studio, having waited 4.5 hours for our tickets earlier that morning!
    The first ~25 were called into the studio first in strict number order. We were all seated on two rows of seats on the edge of the dance floor, opposite the stage. As others have said, you can’t stand up for the ovations in those seats as there is a large moving camera that swings around above our heads! I didn’t find this an issue at all and enjoyed being so close to the dancing. You don’t appreciate just how good the professionals are when watching on TV. My highlight of the night was Natalie and Gleb’s dance to Il Divo on the results show – unbelievable! But when I watched it back earlier tonight, it just wasn’t the same. (Sometimes I’ve thought when watching the show previously that some celebrities are dancing almost like professionals, but when you see them live there is a gulf between them – as there obviously should be!)
    The first ~5 rows of seating on both sides are taken up by guests of the BBC. The next members of the public seated (after the ~25 in the two rows of seating I just described) were behind those seats and then the balcony was filled.
    The dancers and judges were all happy to acknowledge us and Darcy even came and sat with us for about 5 minutes for a chat!!
    Before last night I thought this would be a one off, but I enjoyed it so much I’ll be applying again next year!
    Happy to answer any questions..

    1. Lovely! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Particularly the observation about the ‘gulf’ between the pros/celebs. The pros do such a great job on making their pair look the best they can be, but… I think Gleb has been a real catch for the BBC this year.

      It was a great show from the ringside seats of my fire!

  107. Could anyone provide some feedback on the parking situation? I don’t live too far away so was planning on driving on Saturday 5th Dec to get there around 6am, is the IBIS car park available for public parking? Has anyone parked in any of the public car parks in the area at that time (which all open at 8am)? Appreciate any information!

    1. Hi. The IBIS car park is not for public use. The Civic Center Public Carpark is directly behind the IBIS hotel. Take the road to the left of the IBIS hotel. You cannot miss the Carpark. It is very big and has plenty of space. It is open 24 hours so you can come and go as you wish. It is free between 6pm and 8am Mon to Sat. It has a variable cost per hour between 8am and 6pm but you will need over 5 hours. If you put £5 into the machine at 6am when you arrive that will allow you to park all day and you can come and go as you wish during the day. All very simple. This is also the closest car park to the studio. Hope that answers your question.

  108. Hi All,
    Can’t believe I have tickets for the semi finals (12th Dec), but so apprehensive about actually getting in!
    We are travelling over 200 miles from Yorkshire and was planning on being there from 7am but having read this and it being the semis that we should get there earlier. In your opinions if we are there for 6am, bearing in mind its the semis, would we be ok?
    Big coats, umbrellas and coffee ready for the queue along with a couple of chairs, fingers crossed for good seats, soooo excited!!

    1. Hi Joanne, I’m so sorry. I haven’t had any notifications for days! But, congrats on the tickets. I would say you’d get in for 6am. Will absolutely have everything crossed for you. May the M1 or the M6 or M40 deliver (depending on which one you take!). Julia x

  109. I was also at the 28th November show and just wanted to add to Craig, Andrew and Caroline’s comments.
    We joined the queue at 8.10ish, and were eventually ticket numbers 299 and 300. That put us on the balcony, in the front row opposite the judges (just slightly to their right as they would look at it) – so even though we joined the queue an hour later than Caroline we still got really great balcony seats.
    I packed my husband off to sort out some car stuff whilst I queued in the morning and had no problems getting both tickets validated.

    In between queuing sessions, we went off to the RAF Museum in Hendon, which is a great option if you’ve driven down. c.20mins drive from the Civic Centre car park, and with so much to see (even if you’re not a plane geek – I’m not, my husband is) that you’ll easily fill the time between morning ticket queue and evening marquee queue.

    We had a slightly later call back time, being further back in the queue, of 3.45pm, but really I would suggest that anyone 250+ not get back until 4 (unless you’ve got an early call for a pre-recorded special guest) as you’ll easily have time to get in and not miss your number. Waiting around is tedious, as any waiting process can be, but we were really lucky that they were showing the Davies Cup final doubles match on TV screens, and there was a lovely moment when the Murray brothers won when the whole marquee cheered – very spirit of 2012!

    Other than everything that’s mentioned above, top tips:
    1. Wrap up warm for the morning queue. Layers layers layers.
    2. When you go back in the night, if you can avoid taking a coat (I wore a big scarf that I could wrap round me and some gloves, all of which was easily popped in bag for studio) or a phone, you’ll get through the security section much faster.
    3. Stay hydrated in the day, and particularly in the last few hours: you’ll be encouraged to do a lot of whooping and cheering and you’ll need your voice in top form. Also the studio is toasty warm.
    4. Have fun!

  110. I’m so excited, I have tickets for the 12th December – semi finals, how early do you reckon we should get there for good seating? we want to be either behind the judges or opposite!! can’t believe we finally got tickets, I’ve been applying for 4 years! 🙂

  111. Hi. My husband and I will be at this Saturday’s show (5th Dec).
    Really looking forward to it but not queuing in the rain !
    Please can someone let me know what size bag I can take in and am I able to just put it under my seat? I’d like to take some water. Will that be ok? Also is it possible to go to the loo at some point when in the Studio? Thanks.

  112. I’ve just heard that I’ve got tickets for the Grand Final!! Eeek!! Really excited, but would be grateful for any tips on arrival times etc as trying to organise journeys/hotels. Will we need to be there in the early hours to get tickets validated? Has anyone got any information on transferring ticket names in case I can’t make it? It’s so close to Xmas, but I am determined to go as it’s highly unlikely we’ll get such a fantastic opportunity again. Fingers crossed… Thanks muchly!

    1. Hi Sandy, I thought all your questions would be answered in the Blog page itself? There’s something on ticket names, you need to call the BBC. You should go if you can. The odds of you being successful again are so, so slim!

  113. Ive found out ive got tickets for Grand Final week – very excited! Can i mention that this blog has been really, really helpful to my planning the weekend so thanks very much, everyone! Very excited now!
    Quick question i do have though: im wondering what kind of outfit to wear. I know the tickets say glamorous but i would hate to be too overdressed, or worse….not dressed up enough – it is the final after all! I dont usually ‘glam’ up so would like to see what others’ opinions are on the dress code. I know some say it can feel cold in the actual studio, and it will be mid december when i go. Any ladies, that can offer any outfit advice, would be most welcomed. Thanks all!

    1. Gina. I concur with Julia. On our visit the dress styles ranged from the most dazzling sparkles to, wait for it, jeans trainers and hoodie. I kid you not. BUT for the most part. Glam is the order of the day. Most of all though, be comfortable. No point in being over the top if your not comfy. You can’t really go wrong. Enjoy.

  114. Just want to say arrived in queue at 4.15 this morning. First people there at 3. The time went really quickly and it was fun, people in queue really nice. Got tickets 17 & 18

  115. Hi, can anyone help me with a question about the time the doors open? My daughter and I have tickets for the Xmas special – filming on Monday 7th. Validating tickets is no problem, as I’m staying at the IBIS on Sunday night, but then I have to go to work – and my daughter has a dance exam. We should be fine to get to the studio for 16.15 when the doors open, but won’t be there earlier – does anyone know if that’s going to cause problems for us?

  116. Today’s the day! Driving down for the Strictly Xmas Special- staying at the Ibis- both very excited!
    Hope to see some of you there!

  117. I was at last night’s show and had such an amazing time. I went with my mum and we stayed at the premier inn which is about a 15 min walk away. We intended on joining the queue at 5.30 but we woke up at 3.45 cos couldn’t sleep as too exited so we decided we might as well go earlier. We got to Maxwell road about 4.15. It is really easy to find just go right to the end of the road and the queue starts opposite the community centre. The time really flew by, we met some lovely people including Alicia and Matt. We were no 17 & 18. What I would say if you are going to semis or final is wear plenty of layers, as many as you can. It was colder when sat down so we stood up quite a lot to keep warm. We went to Ibis hotel a couple of times to use loo which they are fine with and it is closer than tesco. The validation was really quick and we did not have to show any ID. We were told to come back at 3.15. We got a taxi back which cost £4. You then have to queue again to get into holding area where they let so many people in at a time. Do not worry about where you are in this queue as they call people into the studio in number order and you are in the holding area for quite a while. You have to hand in your coat and phone but if you are staying in hotel I would advise leaving phone behind. Most people had coats as it was cold but although the queue at the end to collect it was long it did move quite quickly. The first 26 are called in first. A lady did barge her way past me going through and I did remark how rude she was quite loudly. It was pointless her doing that though because they ask you to line up in number order and you are then shown to your seats. These seats are right opposite the band and close to the dance floor so you get a really close up view of the dancers. The production crew are behind. You will not be seen on TV in these seats and you cannot stand up for standing ovations because of the cameras but this really was not a problem. The crew were amazing and did not stop, the speed in which they change the sets in between each dance was fantastic. The compare was absolutely hilarious and really made the whole experience even more enjoyable. The studio is smaller than it looks on TV and so were the pro dancers, they were so tiny. Claudia was so funny and Tess was lovely too and really stunning. I won’t give any details about the show as don’t want to spoil it for others but it was a truly fabulous day and would love to go again

    1. SOUnds fab! We are off next weekend 🙂 and can’t wait!!! Quick question though- did you mean wear lots of layers for queuing or for when you were actually in the studios? Don’t want to be cold when in there!!

      1. Hi, we queued this morning for the Xmas Special later today. We were there at 4.45, it was dry, not too cold , but after a few hours we really started to feel chilly! Wear layers, take chairs, cushions, covers & hot water bottle- I kid you not!!
        Enjoy!

  118. My friend has gotten tickets for the GRAND FINAL and is giving them to little oul me!!! Problem is we live in Ireland!! I have read this whole blog and had a look at both the IBIS and the premier Inn and both are sold out for the Friday and Saturday nights. 🙁
    Does anyone have any other recommendations on other hotels near by.
    I suspect with the fact that it is the final, I would have to Q at ridiculous o clock!! I would be by myself as no-one can get time off work so close to Christmas. Do I need to get her to change the tickets into my name, does anyone know an international number to do this?

    1. Hi, I’m sure there is also a travel lodge about 25 min walk away too, also don’t worry about using someone else’s ticket as there has still not been any ID checks so far, the couple behind me had someone else’s tickets and they got in, no problem, what a shame everyone is busy, tell all your friends you know, hopefully someone can come with you. Either way you will meet lots of people to chat too, and you will have an amazing time!!!

    2. Hi Nicola

      The Holiday Inn, elstree. Still has rooms but not cheap. Tis what it is I guess.

      No one checked our ID for tickets so No need to bother.

    3. I highly recommend the travel lodge, cheaper, clean tidy and only 10-15 minutes walk or a cab company called AAA is only £3.50 a trip on 0208 953 53 53. We booked one for the journey there and back in the evening as I was in 4 inch heels lol.

    4. Hi Nicola, is there any chance you could share your experience. I’ve tickets for this year final, also travelling from Ireland. We have managed to book the Ibis. what ridiculous o’clock did you start queuing from? So excited!!!!

      1. Hi Liz
        Well done as well. I would be very interested to hear from Nicola also? What are your thoughts. We cant go up Friday and will have to get up V early to come from Devon. Currently thinking to leave at 5.00 to hopefully get there for 8.00am but presuming that will get us in but not great seats. I suppose as you are at the Ibis you can get in a bit earlier?

  119. My daughter & I went to the Xmas Special and had the time of our lives! Started queuing at 4.45 & got tickets 33 & 34, just behind the judges! ‘Hi’ to Rochelle & Kate and their Mums- you made all the queuing, waiting & hanging around such fun, we laughed from beginning to end- thank you!
    This blog has been a fantastic help, made the whole experience less stressful & more enjoyable- feel quite sad now it’s all over- will have to apply again next year… here’s keeping my fingers crossed…!

  120. Hi, we’ve tickets for Saturday (very excited!!). I am sure I read it further up the page but now can’t find the post but I was just wondering what happens later on in the afternoon once you return having had your tickets validated? I have read its super busy in the holding area .. Does it get so busy that you loose your place in the order you queued up in during the ticket validation process?? Thanks for this blog post – it has been so helpful xx

    1. Hi Anna, when you get into the holding pen before going to the studio, everyone mills about. You are called into the studio in blocks of tickets, so be on your pins for your allocation. Sharp elbows seem to be needed sometimes (it was quite civilised when I went all that time ago).
      Anyway, you’ll have a blast! And I’m very glad there’s another happy reader of the blog. It’s quite overwhelming the level of traffic this post has generated.

    2. Hi! We went last Monday for the Xmas Special- queued from 4.45am and once our tickets were validated at about 9.15, we went away, had breakfast & retired to our room to catch up on some sleep! We then went back at about 3.15 as they said to get there between then and 4.15… I would not advise you to do that!! When your tickets are validated you get a number and that is the order you eventually go into the studio with, so arriving early is pointless, especially if it’s cold, wet or snowy! The queue takes you into the Marquee, through security, where there’s a Bar & supposedly snacks- although I’d strongly advise you to take something in as it was a very long wait with very few chairs!! Eventually you go through to the Studio and the Magic begins- all queuing, waiting & standing around forgotten! Have fun!

  121. I am about to travel up to stay with family who live near ish the studio before getting up at 5am for tomorrow’s show. Not sure I’ve been quite so excited since my wedding day… So looking forward to it, queueing and all!!
    And Julia, I’m also so grateful for this blog, I’m hoping we will be prepared for all eventualities because of it!

    1. Jess, I can surely believe your excitement! Love it. I’m very happy that the blog has helped you, along with many others. It really warms my heart. Have the best of times, and if you feel like it, tell us how it was. I get such a thrill from living it again and again. x

  122. We went on 5th Dec show. Stayed at Holiday Inn. £4 taxi to queue at 6.45. No coffee or croissants from Ibis ! Validated at 9 with seats 156/157. Back to hotel for quick sleep . Arrived back in queue again at 4 . Let in at 4.40. They let 50 in at a time and didn’t check numbers so I was with 150-200 tickets . We got back under balcony but was fine as we could stand up when dancing on . Changed over to front row for Sunday’s show ! Shook hands with Aljaz , got autograph from Anton , such a fabulous night worth all the hassle and I would go again if lucky enough ! Amazing to find this blog ! So helpful , I was humming theme tune all week after ! Keep dancing !

  123. We went last night – it was fabulous. We had seats 26 & 27 amongst the production crew. We loved the hustle and bustle there, great view and loved the pro dancers coming backwards and forwards for their group dance. Loved it all and thanks to Julia or this great blog as it definitely helped us prepare for our strictly day.

    1. Hi Anna, I’m very happy to be of service… Glad you loved it. What a show to see! I was shocked by the result, but when I thought about it, it made more sense! Anita and Gleb did a great show dance, but not such an impressive salsa.

      1. I was sad to see Anita and Gleb go. I am not a fan of Katie’s but sadly her dance was cleaner in the dance off (not that I am an expert). I am still in my strictly bubble here.

  124. Hi Julia,
    Just a note to say thanks for the really useful blog.
    My wife got tickets for the 12 Dec show, which she was very excited about. Her birthday was on 11 Dec and after cancelling the weekend in London I had booked for that, I booked rooms at the IBIS on Friday and Saturday night.
    I volunteered to queue and after waking up at 2.30, thought that I might as well go over the road and start. I got to the queue at 2.45, the first people had started queueing at 12.30, this was the earliest of the series.
    We eventually got numbers 8 & 9 and ended up on the front row opposite the band, right beside the stairs. My wife really loved the night, Len, Darcy and Anton all said hello as they went past and it was great to see how everything worked behind the scenes.
    Thanks again for the blog.

    1. Hi Mark, thank you for taking the trouble to comment. I’m really happy that you were able to prepare better! What a birthday treat for her! You will struggle to beat that in years to come…. 🙂

  125. I have tickets to the Launch show tomorrow, does anyone know if I should treat it as the same as the shows and arrive very early etc? I would be grateful for any advice.

    1. Congratulations! I’m honestly not sure – but I can’t imagine it would be much different. Let’s hope one of the Strictly Buddies comes back with something more helpful.

  126. Thanks Julia, yes hopefully another buddy will have an idea if not I think I will go on the great advice already given and arrive early. I’ll report back after on our day.

  127. Hi Julia
    Launch Show- wow what an amazing day we had, it was extremely long but worth the aching feet and numb bottoms. After reading all the previous advice , my daughter and I decided to leave at 5am, we had over an hours journey coming from Hampshire and arrived at 6:15. We parked in the Civic Car Park next to the IBIS as suggested by others and I paid by phone our £5 for all day. I know it’s free up until 8:30 but the cost is £5 for over 5 hours so it really made no difference. On route from the car park we quickly spotted some signs saying ‘Strictly Audience this way’ this lead us to Maxwell road and more bigger signs on some gates. There were about 10/20 people waiting there, some of these had been there for over 2 hours already. I was Then advised they weren’t sure if they were in the right place as round by the main gate was another “bigger” queue. Some people had friends in the other queue and they were relaying this via phones. The ticket did say main gate but there were all these signs and also one gentleman had been told the night before by security that Maxwell Road would be the right place to queue. After much conversation, it was felt that perhaps we should all join the other queue. I felt really sad for those who had been there so long and now they had lots their places.

    When we joined the main gate queue there were about 60 people in front this was around 6:45am. As before lots of friendly banter in the queue and time went quickly.

    Validation did start promptly at 9 and we were given numbers 93 & 94. I did have a slight issue with no ID for my 14 year old . The ticket does say you may be asked so I should have bought it but very quickly resolved with a picture of passport on the phone and the validators were very helpful.

    Was advised to return at 3:30pm. Big queue already and we arrived on the dot. Moved very quickly into the “holding area” where you pass on any mobile phones and toilet break, not many seats and so hot in the room. We chose to leave ours hidden in the car as didn’t want the hassle later. We were in the holding room for quite a while and was then called out in batches of numbers but this wasn’t done very well and I don’t think people at one end of the room could here. It’s a bit of a walk from that room to the studio so high heels are a killer by then!

    On our way round they stopped the queue just outside and we happened to be stopped righ outside the area where some of the Pros were mingling and they came out to sign tickets and gave lots of hugs. Anton, Giovanni, Kevin. They were really excellent, chatting and just lovely. Anton was brilliant! We saw one of the singers who performed on the night too!

    When we were led in no one checked numbers and so it wasn’t really in number order as said earlier so watch out for that, were were given amazing seats, next to the judges and a little back, we had fantastic views. Sooooo lucky.

    The filming didn’t start until 6:20 and I’m not going to give the details here but as it wasn’t a live show, they do retakes! So lots of clapping and cheering repeated a lot. We were given some juice and a Kit Kat, much needed because it’s a long night! The Pros were great, during little breaks they chat to you, so do Tess & Claudia and the judges, Craig is very quiet though! It was all amazing and finished later than scheduled at 11:20, quick walk back to our car and we were home by 1am.

    As I said, a very long but amazing day, we loved it all.

    Enjoy watching on Saturday night everyone.

    1. Wow, what a wonderful account. Thank you so much – sorry about the address mix up, but it doesn’t sound like it took the sparkle out of the day! I cannot wait for Saturday night now… Here’s to another fab-u-lous season of Strictly! You’ve got the party started!

  128. Hiya, I received this text message last night ” Congratulations. Your application for tickets to Strictly on 23/09/2016 has been successful. Please check your e-mail for your tickets ” but I have not received any email… I have been checking including spam… I did apply this year and hopefully it’s not a hoax… The text message was from the bbc… Is there a number I can call?

    1. Hi Lily, congratulations! I’ve checked my text and email (sad enough to still have them!), they came on the same day for me. The only number I can see is 0370 901 1227. Hopefully it will have already reached you, though? My email came from BBC Free Show Tickets, but that may also be different. It was two years ago! Where does time go?

  129. Hi Lily,
    Congratulations! and i so hope you’ve found your email. I had the same text in the middle of the night and the email was in my inbox when i checked the next day, so I think yours should also be there. you definitely need to chase that up. One email with a PDF attached of the 2 tickets.
    We’ve applied to all Strictly shows for years and i still can’t quite believe that we’ve got tickets. Thank you for all the above tips; I feel quite prepared: get there early, take ID, take chair, blankets, picnic….! Oh, and sparkles!
    I really hope to see you there on 23rd Lily. You can’t get this close and then fall 🙁

    1. Julia, Helen,

      Thanks, for the info. I have been checking my inbox and spam box constantly, but nothing so far. I did phoned them up yesterday Sat, and they couldn’t find anything on the ticket allocation, so its strange that i got a text message. The woman did say that they will look into it further on Monday…. i would be very gutted 🙁
      Lets see whaat Monday brings…

      1. … Lots of sparkly news, let’s hope! Fingers crossed they can track down the gremlin. How utterly tense-making. Sounds like Auntie Beeb is being great though.

        1. so I got the rejected email yesterday to say that my application was unsuccessful, so I can only think that someone else has accidentally put my telephone number on there application… what are the odds of that happening!! I will just have to hope that I will have luck further on down the line… **big sigh**

          1. Super sad face… You will be richly rewarded. It’s still glorious to watch from home; don’t lose sight of that.

  130. I’ve got tickets for 1st Oct!!!! 🙂
    I’m wanting to take my mum, but she dosent have any photo ID. Would they accept something like a bank statement or a letter from DWP/Council tax bill?

    1. Oh Lisa, I believe the photo checks are for the risk of U14 (is it 14)? None of the stories we’ve had have anyone been photo ID’d. Relax and focus on enjoying it. Any other comments?

  131. Wiltshire Helen I have tickets for the 23rd too 🙂

    May see you there 🙂

    Can I ask what time are you intending to queue? I am think 6am do you think that will be ok??

    Ooooooo I am soooo excited coming up from Cornwall so its a bit of a way for me…. If i don’t get my tickets validated I will be soooo disappointed

  132. Do people take folding chairs to use while waiting for ages in the queue to validate?
    We’ve got tickets for 8th October!!

    1. Oh yes! Used and then packed up in the car/hotel. The second queueing is shorter, so you won’t need it then. I’d love to see someone with table, candleabra etc, etc. Congrats on getting tickets Dawn!

    2. Yes! We went last year, take chairs & wrap up warm- wished I’d taken a blanket/throw as chilly! Great fun- fingers crossed we’re lucky again this year…!
      Have a wonderful time!

  133. Hi
    Thank you so much for all the info Julia and everyone else who has commented.
    We have tickets for 1st October. So excited!
    Only thing that concerns me is I’ll be 26 weeks pregnant!
    My friend and I are staying at the Ibis both Friday and Saturday night as coming down from Lincolnshire. We plan on taking camping chairs and flasks to the early morning queue.
    Just have a quick question… Am I right in thinking the beginning of the queue forms alongside the building?
    Feeling lucky that the weather is still mild and that as I’m pregnant I have my own personal hot water bottle with me!

    1. I don’t know about the edge of the building.. Two years ago (where does time go), we were queueing in the park! I’m sure someone will correct you. What is the road name?

    2. Hi Jess

      Your almost correct about the queue. It forms by the metal gates while lead directly into the studio. I’m sure I have a photograph of the queue from last year if you want it. I can send it to Julia who will pass it on to you I’m sure.

    3. I’m also going on the 1st and staying at the ibis hotel on the Friday and Saturday! I can’t wait! You’ve just reminded me about camping chairs! Thanks!

  134. I have tickets for this Saturday:) Thankyou so much for all the info! I have booked the Premier Inn for Friday so hope to get to the queue before 6am. Must remember the chairs…

    1. Fab! Have a great time… You’ll be up bright and early! Hope the weather is decent for you. Enjoy every sparkly moment!

  135. Hi all

    I commented on here last year after getting tickets for Halloween show! We loved it!

    Applied again this year. Fingers crossed

    Question is how far in advance did you get notification you were successful for tickets?! I can’t remember!

    X

  136. Hey!
    I just wanted to say a massive thank you for the fab info on the blog and all the comments.
    We went to the show on Sat (24th) and we had an amazing experience! The day ran like clockwork and exactly like you all described. We arrived around 6.30am and got ticket numbers 163/164. We were ridiculously lucky and got front row seats, seeing the dancing that close up was incredible! I feel like we’re part of a very privileged group of strictly audience members!! If anyone has any questions about the day feel free to ask 🙂

        1. Well, they only have a week for this dance, so perhaps this will expose a few gaps! I can’t see where the judges will go when they wave the 8/9 paddles! Even Craig! I nearly choked on my wine!

    1. I am going this Saturday (1st October 2016) and am umm-ing and ahh-ing about what time to start queuing. How big was the queue when you got there at 6:30am? I’m desperate to get front row seats and was considering queuing at 2:30am to get them…am I being really silly?

      1. Certifiable! If you want front row, then you really need to be at the head of the queue, as these seem to get the seats opposite the band – the rest is a bit luck as to where they fill. Any other thoughts?

      2. I was lucky enough to go last friday 23rd September. I want to thank the people on this forum as it was so helpful..

        To be honest the way they do the seat allocation is a little bit rubbish. The first 30 in the queue get the seats opposite the band. We were talking to a couple that had these seats. They said it as fab as the dancers etc are right next to them waiting to go on and speak to them. However they said the cameras get in the way a bit.

        Please remember only one person has to queue so you may think that you are certain number in the queue but there may not be both people there….

        We queue at 4.45am we were 39 & 40 in the queue. They take you into the studio in number order which is really good. But they fill sections up at a time. You could be at the back row of that section and a person with a higher number in the queue could get front row of the next section. Pot luck really. I found people didn’t really start queuing until about 6-6.30am and i don’t think anyone was turned away. However that was the Friday show!!!

        All I can say if you have tickets enjoy the experience we didn’t know where to look next when we were they!!!

        A-M-A-Z-I-N-G

        🙂

        1. My wife and I went to the Friday show on the 23rd September 2016. Unaware of the need to join a queue from 2.30am to validate tickets at 9.00 am, after travelling 4 hours we arrived at 14.00 hours to find that we were allocated YELLOW tickets in the low 40’s and warned that we were not guaranteed entry however there was a chance that we would get in. We were informed to report at the entry gate no earlier than at 18:15 hours which we did and witnessed the lucky one’s with red tickets enter the studios – we with yellow tickets were asked to form a queue in numerical order on the path at the side of a recreational park – I believe the Yellow numbers allocated was close to 100.

          The weather at this time was warm but as the sun went in it became very cold. There was no protection against the elements with many in shirts/blouses and women wearing flimsy dresses. We waited and were regularly updated by the entry staff that they were waiting on Production staff to arrive to see how many places were available. It appears that the so-called production staff and their partners can casually arrive with apparently no specific cut off time.

          At approximately 19.35 and frozen to the core we were suddenly painfully aware of a young lady wailing and sobbing her heart out as her grandmother lay prone and on her back on the on the grass just yards away: awaiting the arrival of a paramedic. Her condition looked serious and it was difficult to tell if she had fallen, fainted or if she had suffered a heart attack or stroke. I am of the opinion the cold conditions contributed to her situation – it was extremely upsetting to all of those in the queue. At approximately 8pm the entry staff began to let the first YELLOW 50 tickets holders in – thankfully into the warmth of the arrival tent. By this time the elderly lady who was laying on the damp and cold grass was able to stand and she was assisted into the venue by the BBC gate staff and paramedic. I do not know what became of her and whether she was fit enough to attend the event or was taken away for further treatment.

          Although the seats had a restricted view the show and experience of seeing a live TV show being broadcast was great. However the sight of that poor woman laying on the ground and the sound of her granddaughter in a distraught state soured the experience. Clearly the organisation for ticket allocation is totally inadequate and unfair on fans of Strictly who travel long distances and who are unaware of the unofficial procedure to ensure guaranteed entry. With the winter approaching fast I hope that the ticketing method can be sorted out before there is a serious casualty or a fatal event occurring with the Strictly standby hopefuls who are basically treated as cattle. What a shame that the BBC production team allows their fans to be treated in this way.

          1. Barry – thank you so much for this. And I’m sorry it’s taken a day to get to it. I’m not sure what to say. It’s as my husband said. It’s a ticket to stand in a queue, not for the show. Clearly many people do turn up taking it at face value (although my ticket was heavily caveated, I assume this is still true). I remember well the shocked look of people rocking up at nooon and being waved to the back of the long, long queue. I know it’s earlier now. I’m happy you got in, but what a mixed experience. Again. Thank you so much for your story.

          2. Hi Barry
            Just the same as last year the audience are treated like cattle from start to finish. The BBC do not care about the audience as it is all about getting getting the show done on the cheap.
            Is about time they started to make the so-called production staff and their partners turn up by a specific time. Provide a better system of ticket allocation and allow the fans to queue in the dry and warmth.

    2. Hi Helen, I’m going next Saturday and taking my Mother who is 73. I’m a bit concerned about her not having much to eat or drink etc all day. Do you know if I’ll be able to take some food and drink in?

      1. Hi Heather, I did see people eating in the holding area. I think you can take food in but it had to be sealed, I think you may be able to buy sandwiches there also. When your tickets are validated in the morning check with BBC staff, they were really helpful. Have an incredible time!! x

  137. We were tickets numbers 163/164 after arriving at around 6.30am. I overheard that 5am arrivals were around the 100 mark. On Sat 24th Ticket numbers 1&2 got there at 11.30pm!!
    It is pot luck for where you get sat, we got sat between the steps and the judges right behind where Tess interviews them after the dance. This was complete luck on us getting selected because the others we were sat with had varying tickets numbers to ours.
    It was the atmosphere that really made it, the studio is fairly small so nowhere is that far away from the action xx

  138. Hi all, have been lucky enough to get tickets for 15th October, and have been reading through all of your brilliant advice re attending the shows. I only live 10 minutes away in Barnet, and was planning on getting to the queue about 7am, as there’s no way I will last the day if I get there any earlier!

    However, one thing I am a little bit concerned about is the comments on the size of the seats. I’m a larger lady so to speak, and would hate to have to encroach on anyone else’s space. Is it possible to ask to be given an aisle seat? Or would I be better off aiming for one of the gallery benches instead (although how I can do that I have no idea!).

    1. Hi Rachel, well, congratulations! You should be fine when for getting in and through at that kind of time. The production staff are all so lovely, so I’m sure as you go through the magic doors you could say something. There’s no sense in saying anything before then. They will really do their best – even if that means a gallery bench. Just have your elbows wide and give your concerns. You will be treated like royalty (once through the fun of the queueing!). Enjoy!

      1. Should read – You are Joking!!!!! Unless they make you an exception you will not be treated like royalty but like cattle.

  139. Hi,

    I also have tickets to Strictly on Saturday 15th October and am very excited! I’m bringing my mum along too who is flying over from Northern Ireland. I sincerely hope we get in after all the effort we are going to! Like most people who have commented on here, we are also staying at the Ibis. I was thinking of starting to queue at around 5am… and letting my mum lie in. Is that a ridiculously early time? I fear not getting in as it really is a dream come true!

    My question is whether we should bring our mobiles or leave them at the hotel..?! It sounds so silly although my mum raised a good point earlier that if we do bump into the dancers / judges we might just want to take a selfie! But would our phones be taken off us at this point?

    I’m really very excited and just hope it all works out. Really grateful for your blog post, it been amazing to read up on other people’s experiences.

    Best wishes,

    Laura

    1. Congratulations Laura (and Mum). I’d leave the phones behind – on show day there’s about as much chance as seeing one of the dancers/celebs as catching a shooting star. That said, I seem to recall Gemma seeing Alijaz at the hotel. If you have your phone on you when you go into the studio, they will confiscate it from you anyway, and that just means another queue when you leave. You’re fine with them in the first queue to be allocated tickets, to be clear.

      1. Hi , we met lots of dancers and celebs t the performance as we were at the back on the bottom where all the dancers wait. Also if you stay behind after the show some stayed and I got an autograph from Anton

        1. I’m sure that will brighten Laura’s day. I’m sure you can dine out on the story without having a selfie! Oh, the days when I used to ‘collect’ autographs. You’re in danger of taking me down memory lane, Di! Thanks for the comment…

  140. We have tickets for the Halloween show!! I’m so excited HOWEVER I am very pregnant. I am hoping to be a trooper with the early queuing but worrying about no seats in the holding area. I would bring my own small chair but I think we are going to fly from Edinburgh so luggage wise is wont be practical. Hopefully the excitement will get me through. I almost cried when I received the email. It’s so exciting!!

    The information on this site is amazing. Thank you so much.

    1. There were seats in the holding area – we sat on some! If someone doesn’t give you a seat, Heather, as Len says “I’ll pickle my walnuts”…

      We’re all happy to be of Strictly service!

    2. Hi
      We went last week with me being 26 weeks pregnant and the BBC team couldn’t have looked after me better!!!
      We queued from 3.30am and got tickets 9&10. I think some people thought I was crazy but I made sure I had everything I needed to make myself as comfortable as possible and the time flew!
      When it came to our tickets being validated I told them I was worried about queuing again later as wouldn’t have a seat and I was told to make myself known when returning at 3pm and they would let us go to the front of the queue and get me a seat.
      When we returned the queue wasn’t too big maybe about 50 people so I wasn’t going to say anything but they recognised me straight away (the bump helped) got on the walkie talkie and I was directed to the front of the queue and a chair was presented to me. I don’t like a lot of fuss and I felt a bit uncomfortable about it but at the end of the day everybody in the queue had tickets so it wasn’t like I was pushing in and preventing others from getting in.
      This then meant we were first into the holding area which was great as we went and got our souvenir photos done first before a queue formed (it got huge within minutes) and then had the pick of the seats so we got as close to the studio door as we could.
      The whole experience was amazing, I nearly didn’t go because of being pregnant but so glad I did.
      Being 9&10 we literally had the best seats, front row opposite band but also right next to the central camera on the side where the stairs are to the Clauditorium.
      We had so many interactions with judges, celebs, pro’s and Tess and Stuart the warm up guy asked the whole audience to give my bump and I a round of applause during the long break we had due to waiting on the decision being made about the controversial non dance off! Craig & Darcey were at the judges table at this time and some of the pro’s were looking over the balcony too so I felt completely overwhelmed by it all as I’m not one who likes much attention!
      Go and enjoy yourself, you will be well looked after I promise. I would go back every week if I could!

      1. Jess what a lovely Strictly story. I knew the production staff would be sympathetic, but to look out for you, even better. What an experience to see the non-dance off. I wonder if that’s how you’ll reference in years to come! Xx

      2. Thank you very much for your explanation.

        My problem is although I’m far along my bump isn’t that big and noticeable. There’s still time though but it didn’t grow much last time either but my pelvis was dodgy and painful. I will quietly mention to the person who validates my ticket then and hope for the best. I’m so excited. I could hardly sleep last night thinking about it.

  141. Hi Everyone
    My Mum has got tickets for the Halloween show, we are soooo excited, can’t believe it as it’s the first time we’ve tried applying. So lucky. Thanks for all the great info on this page. Just have to wait to see if my Mum can get the time off work and then we’re in business. A couple of questions, if anyone can help please:-
    1. As one person can queue to validate but it says you need ID, can it be me who queues or would it have to be my Mum who has actually been allocated the tickets?
    2. Has anyone stayed at the Holiday Inn? It seems like only a 20 minute walk away and a bit cheaper…
    Thanks so much in advance. Can’t wait to go shopping for my outfit and be part of the experience!

  142. I have been lucky enough to get a positive response from the draw for an upcoming Strictly programme and am currently considering whether attempting attending. If it wasn’t for this site I wouldn’t have realised the lengths people are going to for ticket validation. I had invited my Godmother to attend but at 82 I was concerned about the queueing from 3 pm let alone starting to queue from the early morning. I live over 100 miles away although she is local. Is it possible for me to validate both tickets if not I cannot justify risking her health just to see a TV show. I also can see no way that I can get there to queue before 6 am. Advice gratefully received.

    1. I attended the October 8th 2016 show with my mum and it was amazing ! Very long day but 100% worth it for the experience I promise you ! Here’s my advice ….
      -get there for no later than 6am if you want seats with a good view! ( me and mum got there for 6 exactly and got ticket number 114 & 115 ) they validate tickets at 9 and you go and return for 3pm .( one person can validate both tickets )We were sat opposite judges about 4 rows back as first 3 are for Celebs & staff guests . If you get ticket number 150+ you most likely will be sat upstairs which isn’t really as good at the floor I have to be honest .
      – they call the tickets numbers in order in the holding tent so 0-30 ( front row ) 30-50 /50-100/100-50 etc so when you enter the holding tent GO TO THE STUDIO ENTRANCE DOOR AT BACK RIGHT after you get your drinks etc because each section (e.g 50-100) are allocated seats to one section randomly so if your at the door first you get the seat with the best views ( even if your ticket 85 and someone is 50 and was waiting in que an hour earlier. < BEST ADVICE .
      – chairs aren't necessary if your travelling along way ( we didn't want to carry them so sat on rolled up blankets and dressed warm & bring umbrella. )
      – your sat down for a solid 7 hours in the studio and they give Apple juice and kit Kat half way but I suggest bringing snacks&heater in your handbag.
      – ladies . You don't want to wait in a mile long cue to collect your phone after being in heels for 7 hours so just leave it at hotel/car instead ( you can't take it in )
      – I don't want to scare anyone but I must say there was an older gentlemen who actually fainted half way due to the length of the show and being sat still and Probaly not having eaten so you must be sure you can hack the seating time ( still so worth it though !!!)
      -ibis is the closest hotel ( literally 5 minute walk) so would be the most convenient . Me and mum stayed at holiday inn as was abit cheaper and was a great hotel too , abit further but not by a lot .
      – they don't ask for ID unless you look younger than 14 so don't worry if your validating tickets that your friends got because they won't know .
      Overall me and mum had a truley amazing weekend , so worth the travel and waiting , everyone attending was in such good spirits ! We made friends with some ladies in the cue who were kind enough to give us a lift back to the hotel !
      Hope your show goes amazing and you enjoy it everyone ! Xxx

  143. We are going to the Halloween show! We’re planning to start queuing at about 6am. Does anyone know if the car park near the Ibis hotel will be open at that time?

  144. So we was lucky attend on Saturday 8th October for Movie week – we couldn’t have wished for a better week really – performances were incredible!

    This blog really helped me so I thought I’d throw together everything that I think might be useful for you if you was lucky enough to get a golden ticket!

    – Maxwell Road ‘entrance’ is where you need to head on Saturday morning – Its not really an entrance its a unassuming gate next to a park away from the main Elstree entrance. I’d advise having a look around on Friday evening if you’re staying overnight – we did and it was really helpful to know in advance where to go. Someone broken the all time queue record by turning up at 19:15 on FRIDAY night! Crazy or what?! We arrived at 05:40 on Saturday morning after a 3hr and 20 min wait we was number 106 and 107! Dress for all weather and if anything as the series goes on dress for it being freezing as early morning often are! Biggest tip for the queue is to take a folding chair if you are going early – we didn’t and I’m in my late twenties and my back was killing after the long wait!

    – I spoke to someone who turned up at 08:55 and was number 456 I overheard someone who turned up at 11:10 and was on a standby queue to get into the Studio and was lucky and did! My advice get there as early as you can as its worth it!

    – We stayed at the Travelodge which was 10 mins down the road, in retrospect I would totally do what most people did on this blog and stay at the Ibis which is so close to Maxwell Road.

    – We was called back at 15:00 to go into the Marquee next to the Studio. We was let into the studio about 16:15 Given the Live show didn’t start until 18:45 you can expect quite alot of waiting, prerecording segments etc. They let you into the studio in numeric ‘order’ they do so in batches of 50 so we was let in with numbers 100 to 150. For us we got great seats – right next to the stairs that the celebs walk up to see Claudia. We was about five rows back so we couldn’t be seen on TV but that didn’t matter. As we got great great views of the celebs going up the stairs, the judges and the dancefloor. Be prepared to not get the golden seats that you see on TV. They are reserved for ‘production’ tickets so its very very unlikely you will get a perfect seat but any seat is great as the atmosphere is incredible. The first four rows opposite the judges are reserved and the majority of immediate rows around the judges are also reserved. You will either be sitting behind these reserved seats or on the balcony… or you could get lucky and get a seat right the front if people don’t turn up!

    – We didn’t leave until 22:45 so its a really, really long day (even with a nap between getting tickets and going back to the studio) – all in all we was in the studio for almost seven hours. With a short break in between the main show and result filming. Whilst the production team do give out a chocolate bar and juice after the main show its not really enough to carry you through a long evening. People did take food in with them that they ate in the Marquee and in the studio – we wasn’t asked not to eat or advised only to do so during the pre-recorded segments so I’d say have a really big late lunch or take snacks with you. I saw a member of the production team cooking a chicken breast on a sandwich toaster backstage haha! The things you see off camera!

    – Be prepared to whoop, scream, clap alot louder and more dramatically than you ever usually would when watching something live – the production crew and warm up guy don’t just actively encourage it they full on enforce the rowdiness! The live audience is a massive part of the show and as it goes out live they want to create the best atmosphere they can – the audiences response really helps with that.

    You really will have a fantastic time – for us it was a once in a life time experience and I won’t apply in future years to allow other people to have a shot. The experience of being in the Studio is wonderful – its so much smaller than you imagine, Len in particular was a gentleman, speaking to the audience and walking round shaking hands, Tess also was really lovely. The Pro’s are adorable and the support they all show for each other is so lovely. Seeing all the set changes, camera work and behind the scenes stuff is so exciting! The only thing that would have made it better for me is if Tameka didn’t go – real shame with the two in the dance off!

    Soak up every second and i hope my tips help!

    Dean

    1. Thanks Dean. Amazing how early people are queueing now isn’t it? Wow. Gutted that Tameka went too; such a lovely partnership with Gorka the Corker! I wonder what they’re (BBC) quoting as the odds for getting a ticket this year? Did they say that midst all the announcements about using the loos?

  145. I’m going on Saturday with my sister and after reading the two updated reviews from this weekend I’m not sure my excitement levels will hold out!!! Thanks everyone for the advice, so helpful as it’s going to be a once in a lifetime experience!!!

    1. This blog has been amazing and I would like to give a huge thanks to Julia and all the contributors.
      I would say …… do your research and the day will be fabulous.
      We went to last Saturdays Movie Week show and totally agree with Dean on the atmosphere and what a wonderful experience it was. We arrived at Maxwell Road gates at 5.45am with our folding chairs, a golfing umbrella and snacks. It was still dark and we thought perhaps we would be among the first few… how wrong we were. However time flew by chatting with some lovely people. It was a bit chilly and rained a little so advice is to wrap up warm and take chairs. We stayed at the Ibis which is a couple of minutes walk away and easy to pop back to use the loo. At 9am the queue started moving. At 9.10 we were on our way to get breakfast with validated tickets numbers 110 & 111.
      We were lucky to get seated right behind the judges. We left our phones at the hotel and when we got back around 11pm we had tons of messages saying we were on TV every time the cameras were on the judges…. we’ve certainly had our 15 mins of fame… lol!
      We met the judges and some of the celebrities. Judge Rinder was so friendly and chatty. What a lovely guy. Will Young sat in front of us on the steps for a while but didn’t make eye contact with anyone or talk – not even to the other dancers or celebs. Its such a shame that hes now left the show.
      It was interesting to note that the couple sitting behind us in the studio joined the queue in the morning at 8.50am. So I don’t think it has any bearing on where you are actually seated in the studio.
      A couple in our hotel arrived at 2pm to validate their tickets (they had obviously not read this blog) and were refused and offered tickets to another show, They were not happy.
      Be aware that it is a very long tiring day. Sitting in the studio on hard chairs (very close together) for 7 hours with only a short break.
      Having said that it was a magical, sparkly, fabulous experience.
      Enjoy!

      1. Aw, Dawn, you’re so welcome. I’ve said it before, but I never expected it to be such a useful resource! The people you referred to can’t have even read the T&Cs on the ticket (unless that’s changed?). Surely it says in black & white that validation is by 09:00 – it was noon in my day! That makes me sound ancient! Hahahaha

  146. I’m very lucky to have got tickets for Halloween Eeeek, so excited, I’m staying at The Travel Lodge as Ibis is fully booked, I’m planning on getting to queue for 6am, hopefully I can get earlier as I’m worried about the view as I’m only 4ft 10 1/2 ins tall and dont need someone very tall in front of me for me to not see.
    What is it like for a shortie to see?
    I’m so worried about it.

    1. Well, my view is that no view (except the front rows) are 100%, and I remember trying to wobble my head around the folks in front of me. You hardly see their feet. The best view IS at home (except the front rows). What you get is a whole lot more – so don’t let it worry you unduly. You’re SOOOOOOOOO lucky to get a ticket! Soak it all in!

  147. I have tickets for the Halloween special but concerned as my sister is diabetic and it sounds like you have no opportunity to eat or drink for up to 7 hours – can anyone give me any advice? It appears you need to queue from 6am to have the chance of decent seats – is this the case?

    1. Well, Janine, congratulations on getting a pair of golden-queueing tickets. You will need to be earlier for the ‘best’ seats in the house, but recognise that there are relatively few really ‘decent’ seats. Read Dean’s comments. As to food, you will be able to take something in your bag, but it needs to be a small bag. And absolutely not eating/drinking during the live show, but there is opportunity to graze between recordings. So, 7 hours isn’t exactly right, but the couple of hours of the live show, yes. Hope that provides some reassurance. I’m sure others will comment too. You’ll have such a memorable day too!

      1. Thank you so much Julia – knowing that we can take in something really helps. I appreciate you taking time to respond

      2. All i can say is wow!! What an amazing experience!!! We arrived in the queue at 530am and at 915am had tickets validated at 79 and 80!!! early morning queuing went very quickly, lots of lovely like minded people with chairs, blankets, hats and scarves. There’s a big tesco and shell garage close by for refreshments and ibis hotel across the road for toilet! First people started queuing at 230am. Back to bed for a few hours, told to return at 330pm. The marquee for waiting built up the excitement; photo booth, bar, (a few) toilets and some seats. Numbers called in groups, e.g. 1-30 first but the excellent stewards make sure u queue up in ticket number order. Very civilised! Entering the studio is just amazing! We got seats opppsote the judges, Behind friends and families!! Yes the seats are close together and not that comfy but it takes nothing away from the experience!!! Soooooo amazing!! Don’t go if u enjoy complaining about small things, it’s a free event!!!! Finished about 1030pm. I’m still getting over seeing Ore and Joanne’s jive!!!!!! yes it’s a long day but my oh my totally worth it!!!!!!!

        1. Well said Rachel! I can feel your passion dripping off the screen. That jive! I might not have to talk to you. One of the best EVER dances – and he seems so endearing.

    2. I would say prepare all day before you come in. Make sure you have plenty of good quality carbohydrates, sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, nuts before and take come good quality snacks in your bag. By all means take refined sugar for a hit but good quality carbs are what will sustain the diabetes.

  148. I was there last week for Movie week. AMAZING experience! Thank u so much for your blog, really helpful! We flew over from Northern Ireland, £50 taxi from the airport & 2 nights in a hotel. Worth every penny & I would do it again in a heartbeat!!!!!

    1. Glad we all helped your day, Tanya! You will still be talking about it two years later if my experience is anything to go by!!

  149. Fabulous blog! Thank you. Does anyone know how the fabulous floor projections are done? Dancers don’t seem to interfere with them. It looks like they are dancing on under floor projections or LCD flooring. ???

  150. I went last Saturday, 15 October. This was only my 2nd year of applying for tickets so I was very lucky indeed. I got the text/email 2 weeks before and invited my crazy Strictly friend who was absolutely ecstatic! We did our homework and read all the instructions/notes from the BBC. Also, a friend of ours went last year so gave us the low-down too. I hadn’t read the above comments until today and have to say we were pretty much spot on so agree with most the comments above particularly from this year. We decided to queue quite early as we thought if we’re going to do it, we’ve got to do it properly and get as close to the front as possible. We joined the queue in Maxwell Road at 03.45 and were approx. 10th from the front. We found out the first couple got there at 01.30 and next couple 02.30. We came prepared, had the lot until I saw the couple of girls in front that we got talking to had hot water bottles lol! They were staying at the Ibis so would go back to refill them lol.

    N.B. the Ibis is the best place to stay in terms of closeness (5mins walk) and the Civic Centre next to it for parking. We parked in Brook Road car park (near the roundabout) which is only about 8-10mins walk away. Even though parking is free until 8am, you can still put your money in the machine when you arrive early as it only charges you from 8am which we weren’t aware (instead of going back just before 8am like my friend did!).

    I was surprised how quickly 9am came, thanks to the group of people around us…we had such a laugh! Shortly after 9am our tickets were validated…numbers 13 and 14 (couple of people in front queuing for 2). We were over the moon! No ID checks btw and only one of you need to queue. All done just before 09.30 and home just before 10am. I didn’t get to sleep before going back as I had a few errands to do, instead relaxed in a hot bath which was bliss!

    We were back in the queue at 3.45pm. It didn’t take long to get into the marquee, think it was about 4.15pm. Once in, we gave our jackets in (left mobiles at home), popped to the ladies then met the couples we’d been chatting to in the queue early that morning and had a drink at the bar whilst waiting to be called. Then the first group (1-30) were called up around 5.30pm and as others mentioned, you had to queue in number order so all very civilised. We were so excited by this point! We were lead around the back where all staff/film crew were into the studio. I just couldn’t believe we were actually here and yes, it is a lot smaller than it looks on TV. Then we were being shown to our seats. OMG we really did have the best seats in the house…the end two, front row seats opposite band, right next to ‘Claudiatorium’ steps and where they all come on/off the dance floor so we got to meet and chat to most of them! Got a kiss from Anton who is just so lovely and a handshake from the gorgeous Aljaž. Ed Balls and Judge Rinder were just funny. Darcy was lovely and sweet as was Bruno. Craig seemed not so friendly and Len was just miserable that night but did say good night to us. It was just amazing being right in front of all the dancers and able to see all the details from hair and make-up down to their shoes. The dresses and shoes were just gorgeous.

    One thing….Ore’s jive….WOW!!!!!

    It is a very long, tiring day (finished around 22.45) to be seated for about 5 hours in the studio with only a couple of quick breaks on chairs which are on the small side and very close together but these are golden tickets and when you have seats as good as we did, you just don’t care. Personally I would have hated being sat behind the judges as I wouldn’t have felt comfortable being filmed so much, however, we were filmed as my friend watched the live show when she got home and then the results on Sunday and did see us a few times on both shows but it’s not so obvious. The only slight negative about sitting where we did was that we weren’t allowed to stand at all due to the camera moving from left to right above us so when there was a standing ovation, you had to remember not to jump up!

    We really did have an amazing time and the staff were all so lovely and friendly and very helpful. I would definitely do it all again if I won tickets again! Thank you BBC and Strictly for making this such a memorable day! 

    I really wasn’t going to comment much but then got carried away! Good luck to those who have won tickets for this Saturday’s show….you’ll have a fabulous time!

    1. Sorry for the delay in approving the comment – away staying with family (grandchildren and puppy combo doesn’t leave much time. Haven’t watched Zoe in days!!). I’m very glad you allowed your fingers to flow. Lovely account. It’s easy to get carried away!

  151. Hi,
    We’re lucky to be going to Elstree this week and I’m wondering if anyone can give me more information on where the queue starts for the ticket validation? (I don’t want to be out there waiting in the wrong place!!)
    Thanks

  152. I have a ticket to queue for 5th November, so excited as my late husband applied religiously for me each year with no luck, I things well I will have to do it now,

    The added bonus is that Gary Barlow is singing for the results show according to the strictly Facebook page . Couldn’t sleep last night thinking about what time I need to queue from. To make sure I get seats . I only live 40 minutes away

    1. Happy dilemma Tina! Love GB too! Let’s hope you get your sleep sorted otherwise you’ll be too bleary eyed to enjoy the magic!

  153. I am taking my 14 year old niece with me and worried they will not let her in. We have ID, but not photo ID. Does anyone know how strict they are at checking their age? She does look 16!! Thank you x

    1. Take her passport as they were quite strict last year- one person in particular questioned my daughters age last year, she’s 14.

  154. So excited…my mum (80) and I found out today that we have tickets for 5th Nov. This blog is so very helpful – thank you Julia for starting it.

    After reading all the experiences, I have now booked a night at the Ibis for the Fri eve, so that I can leave Mum in bed and get in the queue early hours . Hopefully once I’ve got tickets validated I can walk back to the hotel for breakfast. I’ve also noticed that for an extra £20 we can do late-check out from the Ibis and get use of the room all day – to get glitzed and glittered up!

    I appreciate all the useful tips like leaving mobile phones in the car, and taking a chair for the morning queue. I assume its not appropriate to take chairs for the late afternoon queue, as it looks like it’s quicker getting to the holding area?? I’m a little concerned about the length of time standing, especially as my Mum is 80. And also need to be sure I queue in the right place!

    Fingers crossed for a successful experience. I’m so excited after reading all these stories. And happy to notice from Tina that Gary Barlow is performing!

    I’ll be sure to update with any tips and share the experience afterwards 🙂

  155. Super excited! My Husband and myself are coming up on the 5th of November!
    I’m aiming to start queuing around 2pm ish. Am also concerned where to queue? Hope not to be wandering around in the dark looking out for validation office On my lonesome! Lol

    1. I think you mean 2am? You’re looking for Maxwell Park. Then you’ll see the giant gates for the studio with the Strictly Come Dancing logo on posters. You should be fine. There may even be security around as they come out from time to time to check everyone is keeping quiet. Have fun. You’ll not be on your own.

      1. Ha,ha! Thanks Fiona, I did mean 2 AM! Lol
        Thank you for your reply & help xx
        I might just take Julia’s advice too on setting up table & chanderlabra!

  156. Rachel- best thing to do is to take a picture of your niece’s passport on your phone. They are very happy to accept that, in fact I forgot to bring ours but a quick phone all to my son who sent me a picture from home and they were really helpful.

  157. We went to see Strictly last night (22nd) and I am SO grateful for this blog – it was a lifesaver! SO interesting to see people turning up at 9am and upset about getting ticket no 458. I thought I would take some time to answer a few questions that I didn’t see here and add my tips into the pot.

    We stayed at the Travelodge £42 for the night and booked 2pm check out £10 giving us lots of time to go back rest & change for later. We made friends with people staying at the Ibis who were in the queue and they gave us their room number so we could park nearer for £1.

    We joined the queue at 4:25am taking thermals, chairs, blankets & flasks – all needed as it was VERY cold. However, the time went super quick as we chatted and became ‘strictly’ family with those around us. We ended up with tickets 40 & 41.

    Back to bed for a snooze (well not really as we were too excited) and then a carb loading lunch (there’s a Toby Carvary next door to Travelodge). Don’t eat a big breakfast as you need a big lunch to see you through the LONG evening.

    We were told NOT to arrive before 3:30pm so didn’t but there was a long queue when we got there. Honestly the only reason to queue or arrive earlier is if you want your photo taken in the Strictly booth – we queued and didn’t get in but the pictures are tiny and simply just had the logo behind so we weren’t bothered.

    They then take you into the studio based on your ticket no. It turns out that 0-32 are the ‘golden tickets’. They get to sit at the back of the studio with the same view of the dance floor as the audience at home and unrestricted viewing. Lovely but not if you have folks at home who want to see you as you won’t be on the camera.

    ALL prime seats are taken by production friends & family. That’s ALL sections around the judges and the majority of the section opposite. With our amazing tickets, we were shown to 6 rows back in the block of seats where Tess stands. However people complained that they couldn’t see as my friend and I are 6ft. Next minute I’m being shown to a seat RIGHT NEXT TO BRUNO (3 rows back on the end) and my friend is at the end of the front row! She got chatting to the other people on the front row and they said they had turned up at 9am but when they got to the studio in the afternoon, someone approached them and asked them to stand in a special area. They were 2 x young and attractively dressed couples and a stunning mother & daughter. At the end of the live recording they were all moved to the back and a whole row of random people from the back were moved to the front to make it look different for the Sunday show.

    SO whilst it’s great to queue and I would do it again in a heartbeat, just be warned that it doesn’t necessarily get you the seats you want and the allocation of prime seats is actually very random! Although I wasn’t ‘on camera’ so much my view was amazing and Bruno made lots of comments to me – we swapped numbers (not really!).

    SO a couple of practical details:
    You are a allowed to take a small bag in with a bottle of water. We decided to take as little as possible but they barely checked our bag (definitely could have taken phone in although production would have been hot on our heels if we’d got it out!) so I regret not taking more fluid. However the plus side of this was that we didn’t need the loo – you’re sat in there for 5 hours.
    Energy levels definitely drooped about the time they got the kitkats out but there’s so much going on I’m glad we didn’t bother with snacks as I don’t know when you’d whip them out.
    The queue for coats was pretty substantial at the end so we were glad not to have bothered with that although I understand they process it quickly.

    All in all a FAB U LOUS experience that I feel VERY privileged to have been part of. Enjoy all you people going. Feel free to ask me questions. 🙂

    1. Thanks for such a great account Fiona! It makes me feel the excitement all over again. It’s a pretty consistent story; just be prepared and savour the moments!