Beds, Herts & Bucks

Strictly Come Dancing dresses on show at Woburn Abbey

Victoria Pendleton on Strictly Come Dancing
Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton danced a Paso Doble in a dress which resembled the union jack

Dresses from BBC's Strictly Come Dancing programme have gone on display at a stately home in Bedfordshire.

The 12 gowns featured at Woburn Abbey, designed by the show's current costume designer Vicky Gill, appeared in the 2012 series.

They include those worn by actress Denise Van Outen and Olympic gold-medallist Victoria Pendleton.

An Abbey spokesman said it was the "largest collection" of dresses from the show to ever go on public display.

Strictly Come Dancing, a reality television competition which pairs professional dancers with celebrities, has been aired on BBC One since 2004.

Denise Van Outen's paso doble dress
Actress Denise Van Outen wore a full length scarlet dress for the Paso Doble

The exhibition of the show's glamorous gowns is described as a chance to see contemporary design set against the art and architecture of the Abbey, the family home of the earls and dukes of Bedford for nearly 400 years.

Currently the home of the 15th duke and his family, its private art collection of more than 250 works by artists including Gainsborough, Reynolds, Van Dyck and Cuyp will sit alongside Pendleton's union jack dress and Flavia Cacace's Charleston dress.

General manager, Jonathan Irby, said the house was "extremely proud" to be hosting the exhibition.

"They have been sending us dresses over the past few weeks to try in different rooms and check they work and they are not too dramatic or distract from the art," he said.

"We hope the combination of stunning dresses with Woburn Abbey's classic art and architecture will score the exhibition a perfect 10."

The exhibition, which is spread throughout the state apartments, runs until 29 September.

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