My daughter, Alice, is a Makaton User and a huge Strictly Come Dancing fan. During Strictly Come Dancing 2018, Alice made video tweets for Dr Ranj and his dance partner Janette Manrara asking them to sign on the show, and they did not disappoint her.
Seeing them sign at the start of the show each week became our Strictly Come Dancing highlight.
Alice was lucky to meet Dr Ranj at the Live Tour Show and presented him with a Golden Okey! When Strictly Come Dancing 2019 started Alice was so excited to see all the new stars of the show pairing up with the dancers. During the Week 1 show, Alice played our Symbol matching game to help her understand the new partnering’s, and who the new celebrities are.
In Week 2 Alice noticed that the pairs were all waving – like to sign for 'Goodbye'– at the start of the show. This was confusing so we tweeted a video asking them to sign 'Hello' instead. Then as Alice watched the results show as the contestants were saying 'Thank You' to the camera as a response to being saved by the public votes, Alice kept signing 'Thank You' back to the TV. So we made a 'Thank You' video and tweeted it with a request to sign 'Thank You' too.
Alice didn’t have to wait long, by Week 4 there was a 'Thank You' sign from Emma Barton and Chris Ramsey, and a 'Winner' sign from Will Bayley – Alice had sent Will this special sign just for him! Alice then started to get tweets back from the Strictly Stars to confirm their signing on the show. And other people started to notice too, with The Makaton Charity approached to do a series of BBC Radio interviews – We were amazed at the response and awareness Alices video tweets were getting, and thrilled to see Makaton signing on mainstream Saturday night TV.
As the competition progressed Alice recruited more of the show's stars to her #StrictlySigning campaign, and she added more signs to her video tweet requests. ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ were being signed weekly, so Alice added signs like ‘Winner’, ‘Halloween’ and ‘Remember’. Once Saffron Barker picked up on this she and AJ Pritchard were amazing, supporting Alice each week where possible.
Alice sent weekly thanks to each of the #StrictlySigning Stars and we started putting little videos together to share as many of the signs as possible. Our final video link is at the end of this blog. February 2020, Alice will be going to the Strictly Come Dancing live tour where we hope to see some amazing dancing up close and (fingers crossed) a few signs too. Hopefully Alice will get a chance to meet some of the #StrictlySigning Stars and present them with a Makaton badge as she did with Dr Ranj last year. Watch this space!
Please like and share to support Alice’s #StrictlySigning Campaign – we can’t wait to see what happens on Strictly Come Dancing 2020!
Alice & Amanda Glennon