Lizzy DeningTV, Strictly, Nostalgia

Darcey Bussell: Looking for Fred Astaire

Lizzy DeningTV, Strictly, Nostalgia
Darcey Bussell: Looking for Fred Astaire
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There’s nothing like losing yourself in the romance of a black and white film, and when it comes to the smooth moves of Fred Astaire the old adage is true: they don’t make ‘em like they used to. Dance fanatics are in for a treat this Christmas, as Strictly judge (and former prima ballerina) Darcey Bussell sets out to investigate the life of her fleet-footed hero – and she’s in for a surprise.

 Darcey with dancer and actress Barrie Chase

Darcey with dancer and actress Barrie Chase

Fred, who died 30 years ago, was born into an immigrant family in Omaha, and (like so many Hollywood stars) changed his name to seem more American, from Austerlitz to Astaire. The dancer, who would be Darcey’s number one fantasy partner, was actually half of a brother and sister dance act, and was only encouraged to take to the floor to support his sister Adele. They carried on for 30 years, until Adele got married and Fred went to Hollywood.

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But it turns out that he was less than impressed by his (now legendary) partnershop with Ginger Rogers!

Darcey travels across America to glimpse behind the curtain at Fred’s life, and what made him such an emotive, disciplined dancer. We’ll also get to see her learning some moves herself, under the tutelage of the choreographer behind La La Land.

In this one-hour special, Darcey will reveal the key women in Fred’s life, from his mother to his wife Phyllis.

Watch Darcey dancing classic Hollywood styles:

  • Darcey Bussell: Looking for Fred Astaire is on BBC One on Thursday, December 21 at 10.45pm.
  • Find out what else is on TV this Christmas