Strictly Come Dancing thrown into chaos as professional tests positive for Covid just DAYS before show launch
- A Strictly Come Dancing professional has tested positive for Covid just days before the premiere of the 2021 series
- The dancer is now forced to isolate for 10 days while their celebrity partner received negative test result
- The news comes after producers told stars ‘one snog and you’re out’ after last series celebs Maisie Smith and HRVY allegedly broke social distancing rules
- BBC are desperate to avoid the chaos coronavirus brought last year, which saw boxer Nicola Adams and Katya Jones withdraw from the competition
A Strictly Come Dancing professional has tested positive for Covid just days before the launch show is set to air.
The pre-recorded first episode will be broadcast this Saturday and will see the dancers and their celebrity partners dance together as planned.
But one of the pros was found to have coronavirus after a test, forcing them to isolate for 10 days while their famous partner tested negative.
The BBC are not revealing which dancer contracted the virus.
A TV insider told The Sun: ‘This is proving to be a nightmare for producers, just as they prepare to bring back Strictly for its first full series since the pandemic.’
A Strictly spokesperson told the MailOnline: ‘A professional dancer has tested positive for COVID-19 however this didn’t affect recording of the launch show which airs this Saturday.
‘We are following government guidelines to ensure the safety of all on the show.’
Show bosses are reportedly still enforcing Covid-19 bubbles for its professional dancers, despite lockdown restrictions easing.
Wanting to minimise all potential risks, Strictly bosses have requested the show’s dancers all stay at a London hotel in ‘bubbles’, according to The Sun.
Such bubbles were put into practice for last year’s Strictly series amid lockdown, while the show’s professionals have been busy pre-recording group dances ahead of this year’s launch.
As well as forming bubbles ahead of the series, the professional dancers will film most of their group routines in advance and only a limited number of guests will be allowed in the studio audience.
Fans, along with friends and family of the celebrity contestants, will be allowed back into Elstree studios to watch the live shows, but only in small numbers.
Last year, Strictly bosses brought bubbles and close contact cohorts into play in order to ensure the safety of the contestants, dancers and crew during filming.
Each dancing couple formed an exclusive support bubble – meaning one half of the bubble was a single adult household living alone and the other could remain with their household, allowing them to have close contact with one another.
Close contact cohorts were also introduced and work similarly to support bubbles, but included regular and routine testing for coronavirus. Each couple was put into a close contact cohort and could not form a cohort with anyone else during the competition.
Despite the measures in place, Covid still wreaked havoc with the series, as same-sex couple Katya Jones and Nicola Adams were forced to leave the competition, after Katya tested positive for the virus.
The series was won by Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse, with EastEnders star Maisie Smith, singer HRVY and Jamie Laing all finishing as runners-up.
Producers have also reportedly put a kissing ban on contestants in a bid to stop Covid causing havoc again for the new series.
Producers are said to have told this year’s stars ‘one snog and you’re out’ after last series celebs Maisie Smith and HRVY allegedly broke social distancing rules because of a brief romance.
BBC are desperate to avoid the chaos coronavirus brought last year, which saw boxer Nicola Adams and her professional dance partner Katya Jones withdraw from the competition following a positive test, and HRVY nearly not taking part.
An insider told The Sun: ‘Although the pandemic has eased since last year’s series, the BBC aren’t taking any chances.
‘This kissing ban is likely to be part of a package of measures introduced by producers to make the show as safe as possible.
‘They want to minimise the risk of any bombshells, particularly as a studio audience is being brought back into the studio this year.’
Last month, professional dancer Nadiya Bychkova tested positive for coronavirus.
Ukrainian-Slovenian dancer Nadiya, 31, contracted the virus during the first week of filming, meaning many of the cast and crew had to isolate for 10 days, according to The Sun.
The Strictly insider added the Covid scare has heightened fear among bosses that other dancers and celebrities could test positive when the rehearsals start later this month.
The source said the BBC could put ‘yet more measures and precautions in place’ for the cast’s safety and to ensure the show goes ahead without a hitch.
With the new rules in place it could mean the infamous ‘Strictly curse’ is avoided this year.
The Strictly curse last struck in 2018 when Stacey Dooley, 33, left her long-term boyfriend for dance partner Kevin Clifton.
Comedian Seann Walsh and his then married dance partner Katya Jones also caused controversy in 2018 when they were photographed kissing after being partnered up.
STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021: WHO ARE THE CONTESTANTS?
Profession: McFly musician
Tom says: ‘I’m so pleased the news is out it’s been so hard keeping it secret. Equal parts excited and terrified.’
Fun fact: Tom’s McFly bandmate Harry Judd won Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. Tom’s wife Giovanna Fletcher is the reigning champion of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Profession: Actor and comedian
Robert says: ‘It’s very exciting but with a slight undertone of quivering terror.’
Fun Fact: Robert squeezed into a shiny leotard to take the title of Let’s Dance For Comic Relief in 2009, performing What A Feeling from ’80s film Flashdance, beating the likes of Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness to the title.
Profession: CBBC presenter
Rhys says: ‘I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation’
Fun fact: Rhys has been an actor since the age of ten, performing alongside Matt Smith and Hugh Bonneville.
Katie says: ‘I’m really not a dancer, but I’m so excited to learn a new skill on this crazy journey and cannot wait to slip into some sequins along the way.’
Fun fact: Katie, who played Sinead Tinker in Corrie, won a NTA for Best Serial Drama Performance in 2020.
Profession: CBBC presenter
Tilly says: ’I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on!’
Fun fact: Tilly’s father is celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the pair often star in dancing TikTok videos.
Nina says: ‘I think I should do this before I’m too old and can’t walk anymore. I just want to grab life by the horns and just enjoy it.’
Fun fact: Nina is a JDRF Ambassador and was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List.
Adam says: ‘I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool.’
Fun fact: Adam becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.
Profession: Rugby player and sports pundit
Ugo says: ‘What a dream come true! Strictly is the biggest entertainment show on TV and I can’t wait to show everyone I’ve got more than just dad dancing moves.
Fun fact: Beginning his rugby career at Harlequins in 2002, Ugo went on to make 241 appearances for the club where he scored 89 tries, won a Premiership and made his England debut in 2008.
Profession: TV presenter
AJ says: ‘I think it’s going to be really challenging. I can’t wait for the sequins, the wigs, the glitz and the glamour.’
Fun Fact: Apocalypse Wow hosts AJ has featured on a whopping 14 TV shows this year, competing in the likes oF Cooking With The Stars and Celebrity Karaoke Club. She has appeared as a panelist on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two in the past, too.
Profession: Great British Bake Off Winner and TV chef
John says: ‘I’m so grateful, excited, and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family… I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth’
Fun Fact: John is set tp be part of the first ever all-male partnering – the first in 17 years of the show.
Sara says: ‘I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance… Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.’
Fun fact: Sara was the youngest ever dragon on BBC show Dragons’ Den.
Dan says: ‘I’m enjoying the experience when it starts of learning to dance. I’ll be honest I’m not making room on any shelves in my house for the glitterball.’
Fun fact: Dan recently quit Football Focus after 12 years at the helm and has been covering Tokyo Olympics.
Greg says: ‘It’s about being out there and exposing yourself as someone who can’t dance, and learning.’
Fun fact: Greg is married to the actress Emma Thompson who he met while filming Sense and Sensibility.
Rose says: ‘I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill.’
Fun fact: Rose will make history as Strictly’s first deaf contestant.
Judi says: ‘I’m truly looking forward to pushing myself in something that I could have only dreamed of doing and now it’s actually coming true!’
Fun fact: Judi began comedy when she performed a set in front of her class for a degree module.