It's happened days before the show is due to start.
We’re just days away from the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2021, but the show has already been struck by disaster of the coronavirus variety: one of the professional dancers has tested positive for COVID.
The much-loved autumnal BBC programme starts this Saturday, 18 September at 7.45pm. Thankfully it kicks off with a pre-recorded show, which means that all 15 celebrities and their professional dance partners will feature in it. But following the show’s recording, one of the professionals (who remains unnamed) came down with COVID-19 and is now self-isolating for 10 days.
“A professional dancer has tested positive for COVID-19 however, this didn’t affect the recording of the launch show which airs this Saturday,” a spokesperson for the show said, adding: “We are following government guidelines to ensure the safety of all on the show.”
The celebrity partner of the sick dancer underwent a COVID test of their own, but that came back negative. It’s hoped the couple will still be able to dance in the first live broadcast of the show the following week, as the isolation period should hopefully be over by then.
Just like last year, Strictly Come Dancing bosses are believed to have enforced COVID-19 bubbles for everyone taking part in the show. While such bubbles are designed to drastically minimise risk of coronavirus spread among staff and contestants, evidently they are not completely bullet-proof.
While all this year’s Strictly celebrity participants have now been named – including McFly singer Tom Fletcher, TV presenter AJ Odudu, and Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty – we don’t yet know which professional dancers they have been paired with. The dance partners will be unveiled on this weekend’s show, and will include professional newcomers Kai Widdrington, Cameron Lombard, Nikita Kuzmin and Jowita Pryzstal alongside some of the more familiar faces, such as Oti Mabuse, Giovanni Pernice and Gorka Marquez.
The 2021 series of Strictly Come Dancing will make history as it includes its first same-sex male dance pairing with Great British Bake Off winner John Waite. It follows boxer Nicola Adams, who last year became the first celebrity to dance in a same-sex partnership with her professional, Katya Jones. Sadly, the pair had to withdraw from the competition after Katya contracted COVID. Nicola said she was “devastated” at the time.
Roll on this year’s series!
You can check out the whole Strictly Come Dancing 2021 lineup here.