A water leak at the venue, the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, forced the matinee and evening shows of the popular BBC show to be called off. Customers – many of whom had spent hundreds of pounds on tickets – hit out at organisers after being left for hours outside the arena in pouring rain without being told what was going on. Children were seen crying while disabled people and pensioners were also caught up in the chaos.
Ticket holders began queueing for the matinee performance at lunchtime but the doors at the Hydro remained shut minutes before the scheduled start time of 1.30pm.
A Hydro spokesman released a statement on Twitter confirming the cancellation and saying the cause of the leak was “unknown’, but only after the show should have started.
Initially, organisers were hoping the second performance would go ahead. But they announced it too was cancelled at 5.30pm – just an hour before the start.
A second statement added: “We are sorry to announce that this evening’s performance will not go ahead as planned. Our venue team has worked hard to resolve the water leak issue and to determine the cause, which has still to be established.
“We further apologise to our customers at today’s matinee performance who had to wait outside the venue in the rain. The safety of our staff, customers and performers is paramount. We ask that customers please contact their point of purchase for a refund.”
Workmen could be seen on the arena’s roof throughout the afternoon but the exact cause of the problem remained unidentified.
The Carr family, from Hamilton, Lanarkshire, were among those caught up the fiasco and slammed the lack of communication from Hydro and Strictly staff.
Lesley Carr stood in the cold with her daughters, Darcey, 9, and five-year-old Harley, along with her 36-year-old husband, William.
The 34-year-old dance teacher said: “My daughters are in tears. This was their Christmas present. We planned on buying their lunch inside the venue so arrived 15 minutes before doors were due to open.
“They’ve stood shivering and hungry in the freezing cold and rain for over an hour with nowhere to sit, along with thousands of others. Security staff couldn’t tell us anything. We spent over £200 on tickets for this, plus £11 for parking.”
Three generations of one family travelled from Dundee for what was meant to be a special birthday trip.
Alison Johnson said her 22-year-old daughter Kirsten bought the tickets as a surprise for her gran Mary’s 75th birthday at Christmas. Having started their journey at 9am, it would be close to 10pm before they got home.
Mrs Johnson, 49, said: “It’s just a bit of a shambles, really. There was no communication whatsoever from the organisers or the handful of security guards outside the Hydro.
“They didn’t know what was going on and it was only later we found out it was due to a leak.”
One 70-year-old travelled from Perth. She said: “We were just told by someone who came out front and word circulated from there. My daughter and I had to travel through the snow. It’s a shambles.”
Another pensioner, 74, from Glasgow, added: “It’s a joke. We’ve been waiting out in the rain for the best part of an hour. There are kids here without waterproofs and we’ve been told nothing but ‘it’s a production issue’. A woman in a wheelchair was crying, for God’s sake.”