Strictly Blackpool’s wildest moments – brutal attack, theft claims and party ban

Strictly Come Dancing returned to Blackpool on Saturday night (November 18) for week nine of the BBC competition.

The contestants headed up north this week and hit the dancefloor in the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom, hoping to wow the judges with their performances. Both Ellie Leach and Layton William scored just shy of 40 points – near perfect scores.

And some fans are furious that spoilers for the results show appear to have been leaked. However, it was a dazzling affair and celebrities usually have nothing but positive things to say about their time in Blackpool.

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There have certainly been times, though, where the stars haven't been so lucky. Here, Daily Star looks back at some of the most shocking moments from Strictly in Blackpool.

Gorka Marquez attack

In 2016, after performing in the live show at Blackpool, Gorka Marquez was badly beaten up and had several teeth knocked out. The unprovoked attack occurred when he headed out with fellow pros Aljaz Skorjanec and Neil Jones.

The Spaniard, 33, had emergency dental surgery to fix smile. At the time, Gorka chose not to make a formal complaint and instead wanted to move on, a BBC statement confirmed.

The brutal assault happened just hours after he'd danced with Janette Manrara. That year, Gorka was partnered with EastEnders star Tameka Empson, however she was eliminated earlier in the series.

A Strictly spokesman said: "Gorka was sadly the victim of an unprovoked incident in Blackpool on Saturday night but he will be back in training this week and is looking forward to the group routine next weekend."

Theft claims

In 2013, Lancashire police were forced to investigate a theft which occurred at Blackpool. While the celebrities were forming in the ballroom, items including jewellery, an iPad and a mobile phone were stolen from a dressing room.

At the time, the police didn't reveal who the items belonged to, but urged anyone with any information about the crime to get in touch. The Strictly line-up that year included singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid, former Rugby player Ben Cohen and model Abbey Clancey, who went on to win the competition.

The police released a statement saying: "We are investigating a theft that has occurred at the Tower Ballroom at Blackpool," a police spokesperson said at the time. They added, "It was reported to us at around 21:45 GMT that some items had been taken from a dressing room within the building – officers are investigating the theft and are making a number of enquiries to trace the person or people responsible."

Party ban

Ahead of the 2019 Blackpool episode, the contestants were reportedly banned from hitting the town. The ban was implemented by BBC bosses who were concerned about the stars' personal safety.

Wanting to keep the celebs and dancers away from the public in the seaside town, bosses have reportedly began throwing private parties to prevent any mishaps. A source told The Sun: "There have been a couple of issues in the past, so bosses have decided to act and banned the stars from hitting the town after the show.

"To soften the blow, they've agreed to throw a bash at the hotel where they are all staying. It's safer and means they can be properly looked after at all times and enjoy the night without concerns." They've also increased security to ensure there are no problems while the show is away from its usual home at the Elstree studios.

The parties in the past have been wild, with the stars letting their hair down and staying up until 5am in 2019. The cast were snapped enjoying shots together, while presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman could be seen dancing with champagne glasses in hand.

Strictly 'squatter camp'

In 2018, Johannes Radebe caused a stir when he compared Blackpool to a "squatter camp". The South African dancer, 36, had never visited the seaside town since he first performed there, but that didn't stop his co-stars from "warning" him about what to expect.

While he was excited to see what Blackpool had to offer, his fellow dancers told him: "You shouldn't expect too much." He added to The Mirror: "Apparently… they're like the squatter camps." In South Africa, a squatter camp is where people live in extreme poverty, with no electricity or running water. Johannes later apologised for causing offence to the residents of Blackpool with the comments.

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