Strictly Come Dancing Wrapped in Lights

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Devon, UK based drapes, starcloth, LED and visual effects specialist S+H Technical has supplied 1100 square metres of lush red velvet Pea-Light Starcloth containing approximately 6000 inbuilt lights, plus an additional 6000 Pea Lights integrated into the set walls for ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, staged in BBC TV’s TC1 studio, Wood Lane, Shepherd’s Bush, London.

These elements are a vital component of Patrick Doherty’s set design. They help set the mood for the UK’s perennially popular series – now in its tenth season - which is broadcast live each week during BBC1’s Saturday evening prime time, complete with a studio audience of 600.

For this series, around the bottom half of the set (below the balcony) the individual Pea Lights have been fastened in neat rows so they all line up. More, installed in the same way, are also used to line presenter Tess Daly’s interview area on the balcony.

The drapes wrapping around the set / studio on the upper level are all free-hung using a hook-and-loop system specially designed by S+H to make seamless coverage of large areas quick and efficient to rig.

The rich, deep red velvet backing cloth and the twinkling Pea Lights – under the control of the show’s lighting department - bring a dancehall vibe to the space.

S+H has supplied various draping and soft goods to Strictly Come Dancing ever since it started in 2004. The amount of this type of kit has grown and diversified as Strictly’s visuality has evolved.

The Pea-Light wrap is one of a number of spectacular layers to the design which also include the LED arches framing the stage, a solid LED curved surface upstage and LED strips lining the stair fronts onstage and all of the balcony fronts around the studio.

These different surfaces can all by synchronised by running the same video content through them, changing colour and providing dynamic settings for the different dance routines. This ensures that all the competitors have their own unique look and feel for each performance.

The show aesthetics are the result of a close collaboration between Doherty and Lighting Designer Mark Kenyon that keep it modern, contemporary and ‘televisual’ with some classic and favourite variety show touches.

The Strictly set was built by Manchester based EC Creative. BBC Scenic Supervisor Mark Osborne oversees its build in TC1, and the various ins and outs required when the show visits different locations over the course of the series.

Doherty has been incorporating different S+H products into his designs for many years. Recently he’s also specified their Animation Cloths and LED Floors on other projects.

For the Strictly Come Dancing Wembley show, S+H is providing an 18 x 8.5 metre white drape on a kabuki drop, which will be used for large-scale projections, as well as another complete red cloth Pea-Light wrap around the Arena.

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