Let’s talk about Strictly’s VTs! You know, the “funny” clips before the dance where they send the couples off to try pig farming or bull-fighting or paragliding to “help them embrace the spirit of the Salsa”, or where they haul in the celeb’s cute kids to dutifully say “mum’s amazing” in the training room?
If you check Twitter while Strictly is on, you’ll find a barrage of fury. Plenty of fans are fed up with these “naff” montages and the forced attempts at humour and want to cut straight to the actual dance content.
BUT! In another sense these VTs are part of what makes Strictly so great – and are silly puns and naff humour really SO bad in a celebrity dance contest? This is, after all, an entertainment show rather than a serious ballroom competition.
WHY does Strictly have to have VTs in the first place?
Simply put, because it’s a live show.
We’ll let you in on a little secret. While the audience at home is watching the celeb and their partner use taxidermy to inspire their Waltz or horse-riding to fine-tune their Tango, a LOT is happening in the studio in Elstree.
The moment each couple leaves the dance floor and goes rushing up to the balcony to talk to Claudia, the work begins. Strictly’s backstage army descends. In a performance as carefully choreographed as anything we’ve seen from the dancers, they switch out the lighting and install smoke machines and wheel off props; they sweep up glitter and bring on the brand new props and tape things down.
Cutting to a pre-recorded VT gives them the time to set the stage for the next couple, and also means they can do the noisy part (every time a couple finishes a dance by chucking glitter confetti in the air, a team of people has to run in with vacuums). By this point, the next celebrity and their partner will have descended from the balcony and will be getting into position.
And the show will begin.