For a lot of people in the UK, Strictly Come Dancing marks the start of autumn. But with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting so many classic TV shows, viewers have been concerned about whether Strictly Come Dancing will return in 2020, and what it would look like if so. The show has been described as the jewel in the BBC’s crown and between the live audience, celebrity couples, and judges, it has so many components. But will it have to change to compensate for the lockdown rules or will they just cancel it all together?
Speculation around whether or not Strictly would return for its 18th season began towards the end of March, with fans becoming worried after a number of BBC shows, including Eastenders and Peaky Blinders, announced changes to their airing schedule in light of COVID-19.
The good news for fans is that the BBC have confirmed their flagship dancing competition will be back in our living rooms this autumn, but it will be a bit different to previous years.
The Radio Times reports that the BBC’s Entertainment Controller Kate Phillips confirmed the show’s return at the Edinburgh TV Festival. “It is a slightly shorter run,” she said. “But, apart from that, I don’t think it will be a lesser show at all.” Phillips explained how the professionals have been isolating ahead of the show and the Mirror shared photos of them arriving at a top secret hotel in Buckinghamshire as production is under way.
The Radio Times has also previously reported that the pros will then need to form a bubble with their celebrity partners before rehearsals with them can get underway.
According to judge Bruno Tonioli, who spoke to The Sun, the dancers will not be wearing masks "as everyone is being tested regularly."
As for Tonioli's role in this season, he will feature virtually for the first five episodes of Strictly as he is simultaneously working on the U.S. version of the show. However, he will return to the panel in person for the last four shows of the season.
Speaking to The Sun about how his will be involved for the first five episodes, Tonioli said: “I won’t be part of the main show giving scores as I’m not in the studio. That would be unfair and also it’s a bit naff, as I wouldn’t be able to see the overall picture of the dances. You have to be there to do that. So they are sending me a link featuring all the dances which I’ll watch and then give my tips and opinions that will be shown in the results show later on. I’ll leave the scores for the three other judges. They know what they’re doing.”
While fans are still waiting to hear which celebs will be trying their luck on the dance floor this year, news about the pro dancers has already been annoucned. AJ Pritchard and Kevin Clifton are two notable names that won’t be returning. However, you’ll be able to watch Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Janette Manrara, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu, Neil Jones, and Oti Mabuse in action.