A guest on a special episode of DIY SOS left Strictly Come Dancing star Katya Jones and presenter Nick Knowles in tears over her emotional tribute to her late dad.
Tonight, the worlds of two BBC programmes collide as DIY SOS joins forces with Strictly for an exciting build, providing a new chapter for a performing arts school in Wallsend, North Tyneside.
Professional dancers including Katya, Luba Mushtuck and Graziano Di Prima put on their hard hats and sparkly hi-vis jackets to muck in on the project, which will see them transform the space used by charity True Colours, which welcomes children and young adults of all abilities to embrace their passion for dance.
During the episode, Katya meets a passionate dancer called Charis, who has Down syndrome.
It’s explained that the 20-year-old’s dad Bruce died only a couple of weeks prior, with True Colours providing her with a support system while she grieves her loss.
‘I’m dedicating my solo to my wonderful dad,’ Charis tells Katya, describing him as ‘handsome’ and charismatic’.
Later during a showcase of the True Colours dancers, the moment comes for Charis to perform her contemporary dance routine in her father’s honour.
Set to the song Stand By Me by Ben E King, Charis danced as a compilation of photos of her with her dad was shown behind her on a big screen.
‘I love and miss you forever Dad. Love Charis x,’ a message read on the projector, after Charis was joined on stage by fellow dancers.
Katya, 34, could be seen wiping away tears during the performance, while Nick, 60, similarly looked tearful over the moving routine.
‘Not a dry eye in the house,’ Nick said, before Katya shared her reaction to the performance.
‘To see on stage her looking beautiful in the dress and totally telling the story, I was just so proud,’ she said.
‘It was a wonderful demonstration of why they deserve this so much. It’s going to change their lives 100%.’
The DIY SOS team’s transformation of True Colours’ creative space took place over the course of a mere six days, as the crew set about renovating a sports hall that hadn’t been used in a decade and which needed to be made accessible for the 200 members of the charity.
They also created spaces for children and their family members to relax in, as well as a sensory room and a beautiful outdoor area, with scented plants and glittery paths.
To top it all off, they even brought in a huge disco ball to complete the Strictly-fied vision.
Speaking about the special episode, Nick said: ‘The show is, as usual, about the community coming together in the Newcastle area to build a much needed facility for an all-inclusive theatre school.
‘Many of the children, young adults and their parents felt unable to attend more mainstream schools because of their complex needs so could not follow their dreams. This build means the wonderful work the team do in that part of the UK will be available to many more to make their dreams come true.’
The presenter added that the ‘turnout to help was exceptional’, including among older members of the community who remembered using the space as a youth club ‘and felt it should have new life breathed into it’.
‘The students loved having the dancers around and working with them and they were lovely and humble and really engaged with what was going on. Very encouraging and a real treat to work with them for sure,’ he recalled.
DIY SOS Strictly Special airs tonight at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
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