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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Norton's dance debut on BBC One
Graham Norton
Graham Norton signed a deal with the BBC in December 2003
TV host Graham Norton's first show since signing an exclusive BBC deal last year will be based on the ballroom show, Strictly Come Dancing.

Strictly Dance Fever will follow a similar format but feature members of the public instead of celebrities.

"I'm delighted that Graham is as enthusiastic about this project as I am," said the BBC's head of entertainment, Jane Lush.

The BBC One series, due to air in 2005, will offer a top prize of 50,000.

"Graham's unique brand of humour and fantastic rapport with members of the public makes this the ideal show to demonstrate his talents," Ms Lush said.

"Britain has been gripped by dance fever this year and I can't wait to see couples get down and dirty as they battle it out head-to-head."

Natasha Kaplinsky, Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly
Natasha Kaplinsky with Strictly Come Dancing hosts Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly

Thousands of couples will audition before being whittled down to 10 pairings who will then be trained by professionals in the run-up to the final.

Norton, 41, will also host a one-off Sound of Music special over Christmas.

He spent the summer launching a US version of his Channel 4 chat show, So Graham Norton.

Norton became famous for his risque language and humour.

The first series of Strictly Come Dancing, hosted by Bruce Forsyth, was a hit and drew in nine million viewers to see BBC Breakfast presenter Natasha Kaplinsky win top prize.

A second series begins later this month, with Esther Rantzen, Carol Vorderman and Aled Jones lined up to take part.

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