It’s time to don your dancing shoes and glam up in your glitzy ballgowns as the CBeebies annual panto meets Strictly Come Dancing in the one-off special – Strictly Cinderella!
This re-telling of a classic fairytale has all the traditional pantomime ingredients – there’s songs and laughter, cheers and boos and the occasional “Oh No It Isn’t!” But this version also has some extras as for one night only the Strictly Come Dancing set will be transformed into Prince Charming’s Palace as the Prince tries to woo Cinderella with his groovy dance moves! Throw in some ‘Strictly’ celebrity guests and some extra sequins and sparkle and this is one festive bash that you won’t want to miss!
Programme Information went behind the scenes on the Panto to talk to the CBeebies cast about the one-off festive special:
CBeebies presenter Alex Winters is thrilled to be playing Prince Charming and tells us about his character: “I play Prince Charming, which is quite a daunting role for me as I have lots of dancing to do! I have been really nervous about the dancing but there’s a wonderful choreographer on the show and it has all gone really well…so far! But will I find my perfect dancing partner?”
Prince Charming is having dance lessons from the Palace choreographer (played by Strictly’s professional dancer Artem Chigvintsev) who is teaching him some fancy footwork before he takes part in a special dance competition, Strictly CBeebies. Artem expands on his role in the panto:
“I have had such fun taking part in the CBeebies panto and it was great to work with all the CBeebies cast. It was nice to take a break from filming Strictly to take on such a different role and I enjoyed every minute. I play the palace choreographer who has the job of teaching the Prince some dance steps before he takes part in the Strictly CBeebies dance competition. His choreography skills can’t be up to much though as the Prince gets the lowest score ever! Hopefully I will have more success on Strictly Come Dancing!”
Meanwhile, at Hardup Hall, Baron Hardup doesn’t have two pennies to rub together and can’t afford a television for his daughter Cinderella to watch the dancing. Katrina Bryan (Nina from Nina and the Neurons) plays Cinderella and tells us how disappointed she is when she can’t tune in to watch the dance competition:
“I play Cinderella who loves to dance and dreams of dancing every day. But she is so upset when she can’t watch the dancing on television because her father won’t let her have a TV. Fortunately her best friend Buttons is really good at cheering her up.”
Buttons is played by Ben Faulks (aka Mr Bloom in Mr Bloom’s Nursery) and helps to distract Cinderella by showing her some dance steps of his own: “I’m enjoying the dancing and I’ve learnt some new moves. I have also brought along some special friends with me – Joan the Fennell and Margaret the Cabbage have come along with me and are loving being out of the nursery!”
The Prince takes part in the dancing competition but his fancy footwork does nothing to impress the judges. Alesha Dixon, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman and Craig Revel-Horwood are the Strictly CBeebies judges and all agree that the Prince is a terrible dancer, awarding him the lowest score ever. As the Prince storms off into the forest he meets Cinderella who, of course, has no idea who he is! She helps him with his dance moves before disappearing before the Prince can find out who she is so he decides to hold a Royal Ball and invite everyone in CBeebies.
The Ball takes place on the Strictly Come Dancing set, which has been totally transformed for the occasion. CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell talks about filming on the sparkly set. “It's amazing to be here on the set of Strictly. I’m a huge fan of the show, I watch it every Saturday! I can't quite believe my feet are touching the Strictly dance floor! It feels really magical - all I want to do is put on a big sparkly dress and have a twirl under the glitterball.”
So, the preparations for the Royal Ball are well under way and there is heated rivalry between all the ladies in the land about who will have the most attention-grabbing outfit to catch the eye of the Prince.
Justin Fletcher plays Tumbleina, one of the ugly sisters, and tells us about his outfit: “My costume is very colourful and flamboyant and of course, I wear a great wig! I love all the dressing up, I’m quite used to it really as I play so many characters in Gigglebiz and Something Special.”
But Cinderella must turn to her Fairy Godmother, played by Nisha Anil (from Same Smile) for help. “I’m having a really good time playing the Fairy Godmother,” says Nisha. “I wear a stunning costume with silver sequins and great sparkly trainers! And I’m really looking forward to waving my magic wand around.”
And of course, she uses her magic to transform the dowdy Cinders into the Belle of the Ball. “My first costume is quite stark,” explains Katrina who plays Cinderella. “Then the Fairy Godmother arrives and makes all Cinderella’s dreams come true! At the Ball I have this beautiful golden dress, it’s the kind of dress that as a child you would dream of wearing!
So, will Cinderella win the heart of her Prince Charming? Only the Fairy Godmother can answer that question: “There are lots of smiles and it all ends happily ever after!” says Nisha.
For one night only the Strictly Come Dancing set will be transformed into Prince Charming’s Palace in the CBeebies Pantomime."