Why We’re All Devastated Strictly Come Dancing Is Over

As one expert tells us, 'it's the best of the human experience.'

Strictly Come Dancing Final

by Lydia Spencer-Elliott |

It’s only been two days since the final and we can already feel a Strictly Come Dancing shaped hole forming in our lives.

This season has been particularly heart-warming as it championed diversity and partnered Johannes Radebe and John Whaithe as an all-male couple, while Rose Ayling-Ellis made history as the first ever deaf winner of the show with her partner Giovanni Pernice.

For the last three months, the show has kept everyone’s spirits high amid covid uncertainty and dwindling day light hours. So, it’s unsurprising we’re now all suffering from a serious glitter ball comedown.

‘Hard to accept that in about an hour and a half Strictly Come Dancing will be over for another year and I’ll have literally nothing to live for again,’ one mourning fan wrote on Twitter. ‘What now on a Saturday evening?’ another questioned desperately.

The Strictly Come Dancing audience figures peaked at a staggering 12.3million viewers during the final, which gave the show an unbelievable 57.7% share of overnight ratings. But what is it about Strictly that makes it so addictive and how does it generate that unrivalled feel-good factor?

According to TV psychologist Honey Lancaster-James, it comes down to four intermingled aspects: escapism, captivation, good sportsmanship and hope. She explained to Grazia: ‘There are a number of psychological factors that culminate in Strictly’s popularity, and one is the pure escapism that goes into the makeup, costume, music and dance. Those things are so far removed from our everyday life – particularly our life that the moment – so that element is a welcome respite.’

‘One of the other factors is that dance is non-verbal, so watch Strictly can be a very mesmerising and mindful activity,’ Lancaster-James continued. ‘When we watch soap operas or thrillers that have more of a narrative, we’re listening to the story and script and some of those things connect with us because of what’s going on in our own lives. Dance keeps you in the moment and takes you away from your other thoughts. It’s very therapeutic.’

And despite the fact Strictly Come Dancing’s is a competition at its core, friendship is central to every episode. ‘It’s not necessarily like other competitive shows where there’s a lot of rivalry and negative behaviour.’ Lancaster-James said. ‘There’s team camaraderie and we always see them cheering each other on. It’s the best of the human experience.’

Of the series’ commitment to diversity, she continued: ‘Everybody really got behind those couples who had a journey to go on. It speaks to our need to see hope for us to all overcome challenges and difficulties even when there are seemingly impossible barriers.

‘Whether that’s two males dancing together, or somebody can’t hear the music being able to win Strictly, these things that seem impossible are being made possible—That gives everyone hope for their own situations.’

It's been a tumultuous season. AJ Odudu was forced to pull out of the final with a ruptured ankle ligament injury that left her on crutches. Robert Webb pulled out after he ‘began to feel symptoms’ of his ongoing heart condition. Ugo Monye took a break due to a back injury. Tom Fletcher, Amy Dowden, Judi Love, and Craig Revel Horwood all tested positive for Covid.

But no matter the challenges and setbacks, the show aired every Saturday with enough sequins and showmanship to push the pandemic chaos to the back of our minds. Now Covid case numbers are at an all-time high and further lockdown measures are expected at the end of the month—thank god we’ve got the Strictly Christmas Special.

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