Claudia Winkleman is hopeful 'Strictly Come Dancing' will be able to return to Blackpool next year.

Claudia Winkleman

Claudia Winkleman

The Latin and ballroom competition's co-host admitted she will miss heading to the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom this year, and she has fond memories of Gloria Estefan performing there during Strictly's visit in 2018.

'Strictly' usually heads to Blackpool for one weekend per series, but that wasn't possible in 2020 and isn't this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When asked what her greatest memory from 'Strictly' so far is, she said: "I have too many to list but can I just throw in Blackpool?

"We’ll so miss it this year but will hopefully be back in the Tower Ballroom in 2022.

"A couple of years ago Gloria Estefan performed a medley of her hits with our extraordinary dancers and we were all just screaming, 'This is the best job in the world.' "

Claudia also can't wait to team up with her 'Strictly' co-host Tess Daly again when the first live show of the series airs tomorrow (25.09.21).

She said: "This is the 18th series and I feel like I’ve been part of it ('It Takes Two') since almost the beginning.

"We’re a proper family and have the best time together.

"I absolutely adore Tess and can’t wait to be with her every weekend.

"I love watching people learn a totally new skill.

"It’s genuinely a privilege to see people transform into dancers."

Tess believes 'Strictly' is as important as ever this year because of the need for escapism amid the pandemic.

She said: "It’s been a gruelling 18 months for all of us throughout the pandemic.

"I feel escapism is more important than ever, something to look forward to if you like.

"Putting on the show last year with increased government restrictions was no mean feat and I take my hat off to the production team who made it happen."