DIY SOS Strictly Special helps True Colours dance school

Wednesday: DIY SOS Strictly Special (BBC1, 9pm)
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We love nothing more than the “let’s do the show right here!” spirit, and nothing screams that louder than DIY SOS.

Originally launched in 1999 on the back of successful interior design show Changing Rooms, the early format included a main build, fronted by Nick Knowles and a smaller project overseen by Lowri Turner.

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Cameras would follow the presenters as they ‘helped’ a team of professional designers and builders fix an ordinary person’s DIY project-gone-wrong.

Strictly Star Giovanni Di Prima and Nick Knowles with main contributors who are part of the dance charityStrictly Star Giovanni Di Prima and Nick Knowles with main contributors who are part of the dance charity
Strictly Star Giovanni Di Prima and Nick Knowles with main contributors who are part of the dance charity

It proved a hit with viewers, who loved the banter between Nick and his team, as well as the amazing transformations achieved by the experts.

Fast-forward to 2010 and, proving that even the good stuff can be made better, the show rebranded as DIY SOS The Big Build, an hour-long programme with a more utopian focus.

Nick and his team would rope in locals to help with community projects that were more ambitious than the original series would have ever tackled.

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Unsurprisingly, the revamped show was a bullseye too. In 2015, the Veterans Village special episode reached 9.6 million viewers, snapping up 34% of the UK audience share, the biggest the series had ever achieved.

Now it was more than just fixing disastrous abodes, DIY SOS The Big Build had a soul: an emotional pull that grabbed viewers and didn’t let go.

The latest instalment promises to be every bit as uplifting as previous episodes, as the team head to the inclusive True Colours dance school, in Wallsend, Newcastle.

It was founded by Alisar-Jane after she was diagnosed with ADHD and autism as an adult, and she discovered her love of dance helped her. When her niece was then diagnosed with a life-limiting condition as a toddler, Alisar-Jane was determined to take her to dance classes but found a lack of fun and accessible groups to attend.

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So, True Colours was born. The school has proved so popular that it has completely outgrown its existing space and is having to turn away new members with a long waiting list.

Alisar-Jane has been given the keys to a run-down old boys’ club which has potential but there’s no electricity, heating, natural light or disabled access. As a small charity they have limited funds to renovate it.

Cue Nick and his team of builders and volunteers, who this time include Strictly Come Dancing stars Anton Du Beke, Katya Jones and Graziano Di Prima.

Nick is clearly delighted to be digging out his hard hat again, saying: “This Performing Arts School really needs a transformation. If we can help them grow so they can accept more students, then we’re going to go above and beyond.”

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As for Anton, he can’t wait to get started. “What Alisar-Jane and her team is doing is very special. Myself, Katya and Graziano understand the power of dance and how it brings people together.

“This could really transform not just the building but the community too. We are thrilled to help out and bring some Strictly magic to the proceedings. Who knows, we may see a future Strictly star in our midst!”

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