Strictly stars face being DISQUALIFIED if they test positive for coronavirus in one-strike rule, a socially-distanced judging panel and contestants to live alone in new Covid-friendly format
- All contestants and professional dancers face being disqualified from the show if they test positive for coronavirus in a strict one-strike rule
- Executive producer Sarah James has detailed the new Covid-friendly format, which also includes a socially distanced judging panel and contestant ‘bubbles’
Strictly Come Dancing faces the biggest cha-cha-change in its 16-year history as all contestants and professional dancers face being disqualified from the show if they test positive for coronavirus in a strict one-strike rule.
In a recent industry Q&A, executive producer Sarah James detailed the new Covid-friendly format, which also includes a socially distanced judging panel and contestant ‘bubbles’.
Sarah also shed light on the show’s contingency plans in light of the pandemic and insisted she’s ‘confident’ the competition series will go ahead even if the current coronavirus restrictions change from October 17.
One strike and you’re out! Strictly contestants and professional dancers (pictured) face being disqualified from the show if they test positive for coronavirus
As the nation waits to see how the pair will fare with their dance partners, Strictly bosses have drawn up tough plans to deal with anyone – celebrity or professional – who falls ill.
Sarah said: ‘Obviously according to government guidelines if you receive a positive test you have to isolate for two weeks and that would unfortunately rule them out of the show.’
This year’s series will be a pared down nine-week run with a very different look. The 12 partnerships – three less than usual – will be unveiled via video link rather than in the studio and the annual trip to the Blackpool Tower ballroom is also off the cards.
Only three judges – Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse – will be in the studio with separate rostrums, and the dancers will sit in the audience rather than go upstairs to get their scores.
Veteran judge Bruno Tonioli has said he will be ‘involved remotely’ and hopes to return full-time towards the end of the series as he is filming the US version of the show in Los Angeles.
With limited studio crew, big sets may not be built – so producers will use augmented reality, which adds computer-generated elements.
To ensure the contestants can work closely with their partners, they will ‘bubble up’ and be regularly tested.
The professionals spent two weeks in September isolating in a Buckinghamshire hotel so they could rehearse the group numbers.