Faye Tozer's Strictly Come Dancing appearance makes Sunderland's Northern Spire bridge Wiki-dly popular on-line

A starring turn on Strictly Come Dancing saw a massive surge of interest in Sunderland's new Northern Spire bridge at the weekend.

Former Steps star Faye Tozer and dance partner Givanni Pernice were shown strutting their stuff on the bridge in a specially-filmed insert segment on Saturday night's show.

Faye and Giovanni on the bridge

Faye and Giovanni on the bridge

Adopted Mackem Faye is married to a Sunderland businessman and lives in Boldon, just a few miles from the bridge.

Saturday's show sparked a huge jump in interest in the new crossing. At its peak,. Saturday's Strictly had an audience of 11million - almost half of the entire UK audience share.

During the past 30 days, there have been 20,000 searches of Northern Spire on Wikipedia - of which 16,000 were on Saturday.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Graeme Miller, said: "We were delighted that the BBC production team for Strictly Come Dancing wanted to come to Sunderland to film Faye and Giovanni dancing on Northern Spire.

"We know Northern Spire is a stunning landmark that will bring huge changes to our city, and this was a great opportunity for us to showcase the bridge to the rest of the UK on prime time Saturday night television – to 11million viewers.

"Opportunities like that don’t come along very often.

"The fact that there were 16,000 searches for Northern Spire on Wikipedia last Saturday shows people were impressed and wanted to know more.

"We are very happy about that.”

Faye and Giovanni are among the bookies favourites to win this year's series.

They produced another impressive performance in the studio on Saturday, picking up 33 points from the judges for their foxtrot.
The special Strictly sequence was filmed under top secret conditions last week.

The bridge was temporarily closed last Tuesday to allow the Strictly film crew to capture the couple practising their moves directly under the pylon, which is the North East’s tallest structure.

Faye, who wore a beautiful, long red satin gown for the filming, said: "I’m very proud and honoured to have had the experience of dancing across Northern Spire.

"It’s a beautiful bridge and the views across Sunderland are pretty amazing. We have had a great time."

Giovanni said dancing on the bridge had made a delightful change from rehearsing in a studio: "It’s a beautiful bridge, with a beautiful view. It was a really nice place to be rehearsing."