Strictly Domination

Copyright BBC Worldwide

Are you crazy about dancing? Do you find yourself watching Strictly Come Dancing every Saturday night? The dance show – and now worldwide sensation – was first broadcast in the UK in 2004. Since then there have been ten series, with the eleventh beginning on September 27th this year.

It seems that since the release of Strictly Come Dancing in the UK, the dancing sensation has spread all over the world. With versions of the show produced in over forty countries, the franchise is licensed by BBC Worldwide and earns around £60 million per year in revenue.

One such country to use this format is China, where several dance shows have been created in recent years. The most important of them is the Chinese version of Strictly Come Dancing called Wu Dong Qi Ji. The title roughly translates as “dancing can bring miracles.”

The Chinese version began in 2007, three years after Strictly debuted in the UK. Produced jointly by two networks – TVB and Hunan TV – the format is similar to the original English version, only each network supplies ten celebrities, giving twenty couples dancing in the competition at the start.

Aside from this, the essence of the show remains the same. This is largely due to the fact that the BBC has the right to access details on stage design, lighting, music and any other artistic or creative elements of the show at any time. They can also assign an expert from the BBC to make sure that the Chinese version is in keeping with the original vision of Strictly Come Dancing. Yet whilst the basic structure of the show is the same, there are still some notable differences between the two.

Firstly, the presenters’ hosting style is very different in the Chinese and UK versions. Whilst Tess Daly and Bruce Forsyth tend to riff off each other and involve the audience in the show, the Chinese presenters come across as a lot more stiff in their delivery, as their lines have been written in advance. Secondly, the large number of adverts within the Chinese version is often distracting and frustratingly, the dances themselves can often be shortened by adverts or split up into short sections that mean you don’t even get to see the whole dance.

Also, the Chinese version of the show has a strong charitable element, where each surviving couple can donate ten thousand RMB (equivalent to roughly one thousand pounds) each week to poverty-stricken areas in China to help children complete their education.

Whilst the two versions may differ in a number of ways, one thing is certain: both shows are extremely successful in their respective countries.

The success of both shows, despite their differences, could be due to the vastly different cultures in which they are produced – and arguably explains the success of the Strictly format worldwide. Rather than selling the British version to other countries and simply dubbing over it, the idea of Strictly has been sold, allowing other countries to put their own spin on it, ensuring that it appeals to their own audience.