Strictly Come Dancing’s resident Mr Nasty judge Craig Revel Horwood has promised to be more positive in the show’s final following a depressing new COVID announcement.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a coronavirus briefing just before the grand final to say that London, the South East and the East of England would enter tier 4 restrictions from tomorrow morning, and that the previously announced relaxation of rules over Christmas would now be dramatically scaled back across the country.
But the Strictly team were still determined to put on a good show to lift viewers’ spirits, with even Revel Horwood vowing to be cheerful.
Ahead of judging the first routine, he said: “In light of the recent news darling, I’ve decided I’m going to be positive.
“You might not recognise me like this.”
Revel Horwood even stopped himself from picking on a minor problem with Bill Bailey’s frame, but admitted that his efforts to be nicer were making him feel “a little ill”.
In a break with tradition, the judge even cracked a smile during the weekly celebration in the studio when the voting lines open.
Presenter Claudia Winkleman almost broke down in tears as she introduced the show.
Her voice caught with emotion as she said: “Earlier this year, we didn’t know if Strictly could even happen and tonight our audience is made up of the brilliant team that got us here, thank you so much.”
Winkleman’s co-host Tess Daly added: “If ever people needed cheering up it’s now, after another tough day.”
Bailey dedicated his showdance to overcoming this year’s difficulties, saying: “Now we’ve found out restrictions are going to be harder, people are going to be isolated over Christmas, this is not just the arts, this is about getting through all this and being stronger.”
However, one person not making any concession to the recent bad news was Jamie Laing, who backtracked on his promise to propose to girlfriend Sophie Habboo if he reached the final.
He said: “I said if I reached the final I would propose to my girlfriend.
“Ok...but if we win it...”
Meanwhile, Maisie Smith hoped her showdance would help to cheer people up.
She said: “It’s just Christmas in a dance. That’s how I feel when I’m dancing it. It brings us the Christmas we might not be able to have.”
The first episode of Strictly this year aired moments after the PM announced lockdown number two, almost delaying the beginning of the series.
Watch: Craig Revel Horwood talks filming Strictly in lockdown