Hitchin shop’s balloons light up Strictly Come Dancing stage

PUBLISHED: 13:34 03 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:34 03 October 2018

Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing, with the balloons supplied by Hitchin shop Penco in the background. Picture: BBC/Guy Levy

Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing, with the balloons supplied by Hitchin shop Penco in the background. Picture: BBC/Guy Levy

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Balloons supplied by a Hitchin crafts shop were used by the BBC for Saturday night’s Strictly Come Dancing TV programme.

Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing, with the balloons supplied by Hitchin shop Penco in the background. Picture: BBC/Guy LevyVick Hope and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing, with the balloons supplied by Hitchin shop Penco in the background. Picture: BBC/Guy Levy

The light-covered balloons dominated the set behind Vick Hope during her dance routine with Graziano Di Prima.

And they came from Penco, in Hitchin’s Hermitage Road.

Penco’s Jeff Howard, 66, told the Comet he could barely believe it when he got the call from the BBC last Thursday.

Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing, with the balloons supplied by Hitchin shop Penco in the background. Picture: BBC/Guy LevyVick Hope and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing, with the balloons supplied by Hitchin shop Penco in the background. Picture: BBC/Guy Levy

“I thought it was a local do or dance-off,” he said. “Then I realised it was the real thing.”

It all went very quickly, with Penco supplying a trial batch of 15 the same day. More balloons were sent over late on Friday evening ahead of Saturday’s show.

“It’s quite exciting, isn’t it?” said Jeff. “It’s nice to have them there and tell our customers to look out for them on the telly.”

Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing, with the balloons supplied by Hitchin shop Penco in the background. Picture: BBC/Guy LevyVick Hope and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing, with the balloons supplied by Hitchin shop Penco in the background. Picture: BBC/Guy Levy

Jeff said this had all come about after a visit to the shop earlier this year from a customer who happened to work on the production team for Strictly.

He said this was a new kind of illuminated balloon, imported by Stevenage-based GO International and much thinner than what was previously available.

“Normal balloons are latex or plastic,” said Jeff.

“These are plastic, but as thin as clingfilm – when deflated, you can screw them up and almost put them under your fingernail.”

He said Penco blew up the balloons and supplied the lights, before the Strictly team applied the lights and put the whole set together.

The balloon lights on the show were white, but Jeff said they come in all different colours.

He is expecting them to become more popular as the evenings become darker towards the end of the year.

“They look great in clubs and places like that,” he said.

“Now we can say to customers, ‘as seen on Strictly’.”

Capital radio DJ Vick and Graziano won through the weekend’s judging and will appear again on this week’s show.

Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One at 6.30pm on Saturday, with the results on Sunday at 7.45pm.

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