BBC to sell ballroom dancing hit worldwide

Strictly Come Dancing, the Saturday night television hit that made ballroom dancing unexpectedly cool, is to become one of the BBC's biggest money-spinning exports.

Strictly Come Dancing, the Saturday night television hit that made ballroom dancing unexpectedly cool, is to become one of the BBC's biggest money-spinning exports.

The series, which returns to BBC1 on Saturday, is credited with luring half a million wannabes on to dancefloors around the UK and drew seven million viewers.

News presenter Natasha Kaplinsky triumphed in the first run in which viewers follow the tumbles and tantrums of celebrities and professional dancing partners.

The format has been sold to Australia and is already a major hit for Channel Seven. A further deal has been tied up with Russia's public broadcaster, RTR. Deals in another eight countries are being negotiated.

Like other global hits The Weakest Link and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? each country will remake the show in an identical form.

Robin Meltzer, the senior producer for international formats at the corporation's marketing arm, BBC Worldwide, said: "It is something that is comfortable for older viewers to watch but it's exciting for younger viewers with the choice of celebrities and the storyline which unfolds."

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