Strictly Come Dancing boss Sarah James has revealed one dancer from each pair in this year’s series will live on their own in order to abide by coronavirus restrictions.
Speaking to various press ahead of the show’s launch next month, James explained how “close-contact cohorts” (CCC) were just one of the strategies executives had considered in a bid to keep BBC One’s flagship entertainment show on air every Saturday.
“A close-contact cohort applies to people who need to be able to work more closely together and break social distancing to do their job,” she said.
“You can only be in a CCC with one other person and you are regularly tested.
“On top of that we are asking our celebrities and dancers to be part of an exclusive support bubble. One half of the party has to live alone – either the partner or the celebrity will be living on their own for the duration of the series.”
Even professional dancers who aren’t in couples this season – Neil Jones, Graziano Di Prima, Nancy Xu and Nadiya Bychkova – will be in close-contact cohorts in order to dance when guest music acts perform on the show.
James added that celebrity couples will be tested regularly for coronavirus throughout the competition.
“Unfortunately if you receive a positive test, that means you wont be able to continue in the competition,” she explained. “According to government guidelines you have to isolate for two weeks which will rule them out of the show, but everyone else in the competition could continue.”
Other changes to the show’s format sees both Strictly’s famous Blackpool week and Halloween-themed week scrapped due to travel restrictions and the series’ delayed start.
However, in spite of the changes made to keep Strictly as safe as possible for cast and crew, the team behind one of the nation’s most popular shows insist that Strictly will still have the glamour, warmth and camaraderie it is known for.
“We’ve had to be really creative and come up with solutions and ways around things, and actually, what it has thrown up is some really new exciting things which we’re really looking forward to the viewers seeing,” James said.
“Obviously our main thing was to keep everyone safe and to make sure everyone is comfortable, but what we have benefited from is having months of planning.”