Two professional dancers on Rigorosamente vieni a ballare have reportedly refused to be vaccinated against Covid, causing complications before the show’s return on Saturday night.
The BBC’s flagship dance contest will return to screens on 18 September with a pre-recorded launch show revealing which professional dancer each competitor has been matched with, before the live show kicks off on 25 settembre.
Before Saturday night’s launch show, there are reports that two unnamed dancers have not had Covid jabs, with the Sun saying it has meant that some celebrities are reluctant to dance with the professionals.
The news comes after Strictly, which is hosted by Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly, confirmed on Wednesday that a dancer in its professional line-up had tested positive for Covid. The positive test result did not affect the launch show, as it is pre-recorded.
Guidelines require those who test positive to self-isolate for 10 giorni, so the dancer, who has not been named, will not be able to train with their celebrity partner before next Saturday’s show. The partner tested negative.
A spokesperson for the BBC One series said: “We do not comment on speculation of somebody’s Covid vaccination status. Strictly Come Dancing production has, and will, continue to follow strict government guidelines to ensure the safety of all on the show.”
The celebrities taking part in this year’s show include McFly’s Tom Fletcher, comedian and actor Robert Webb and comedian Judi Love. The series will also include EastEnders actor Rose Ayling-Ellis make television history as the competition’s first deaf contestant.
The Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite will also compete in the 19th series of the show in its first all-male partnership. The 33-year-old chef will be the second same-sex pairing after boxer Nicola Adams competed with the professional dancer Katya Jones last year.
Strictly will return with a limited live audience this series, after it had to go ahead without in-person viewers last year due to the pandemic. During the last series, producers had contestants form “bubbles” with their dancing partner to ensure the safety of the contestants and crew. tuttavia, despite the measure, Jones and Adams were forced to walk away from the series after the professional dancer tested positive for coronavirus.
A record 13.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the comedian Bill Bailey lift the 2020 trophy with his his professional dance partner Oti Mabuse.