Strictly Come Dancing: How does the show work with social distancing?

Strictly Come Dancing: How does the show work with social distancing?

Strictly Come Dancing: How does the show work with social distancing?

Strictly Come Dancing: How does the show work with social distancing?

However, despite the ever-changing rules and regulations, the show is now entering its fourth week of live shows and continuing without a hitch.

Filming Strictly in 2020 has understandably been a totally different experience to previous years.

Ensuring that social distancing takes place on set is a lot more time, labour and budget consuming, so the number of contestants has been reduced this year from 16 to 12, with the show running for nine weeks rather than the usual 12.

But how is social distancing actually taking place on set? Here’s how it affects the people working on Strictly

Each couple in the competition (consisting of the celebrity and their professional partner) has formed a support bubble, meaning that one half lives alone while the other can remain with their household.

This allows them to have close contact in rehearsals as well as during the live shows. All couples were tested twice before forming their bubbles and continue to be regularly tested.

The couples sit in socially distanced pairs to the side of the stage

(BBC)

They cannot form bubbles with anyone else while still in the competition, including the other contestants. This means that the couples cannot have any contact with their fellow competitors, even in the case of pro dancers like Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manrara, who are married.

This explains why the couples now sit in their pairs on spaced out tables to the side of the dance floor during the live shows, rather than with Claudia Winkleman in the “Clauditorium”.

You know those incredible group dances performed by the professional dancers at the beginning of every Saturday and Sunday night show? Well, spoiler alert, they’re not actually live.

Under social distancing, every dancer must ensure they only come into close contact with the people in their bubbles, which is not exactly possible in a 20-person group number.

To get around this, all of this year’s group numbers have been filmed in advance. Over the summer, all the professional dancers and some crew members isolated at home for two weeks, during which they were each tested for Covid-19 twice.

The pro dancers perform a James Bond-themed routine for Movie Week, which was recorded over the summer

(BBC)

Once this was complete – and provided they tested negative – the cast and crew took over a hotel near the Strictly studio, where they were able to safely live as one household.

They were then able to spend the weeks rehearsing and filming all of the group dances we’re seeing now.

During the live shows, the professional dancers who were not given celebrity partners this year – Nadiya Bychkova and Graziano Di Prima, as well as Neil Jones and Nancy Xu – have partnered up in close contact cohorts, which act like bubbles but with additional testing.

This allows them to perform in these pairs during the musical guest acts. As the professional dancers are eliminated from the competition, they too may form similar pairs with each other.

One of the biggest differences on Strictly 2020 has been the lack of Bruno Tonioli, who has appeared on the show since it first began in 2004.

Usually, the Italian choreographer splits his weeks between judging Dancing with the Stars in the US on a Monday and Strictly on a Saturday, but with travel restrictions in place this has not been possible.

Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse

(BBC)

As a result, there are only 3 judges on Strictly this year: Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse. 

Rather than their usual panel, the three judges are sat at individual tables where they deliver their verdict.

Strictly is normally a free-ticketed event, with members of the public entering a highly competitive ballot to win a spot in the audience.

This year’s season began with a much smaller audience who were allowed to space out in households.

NHS frontline workers sat in the audience on the first ‘Strictly’ live show

(BBC)

The first episode’s audience included NHS frontline workers, with presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman thanking them for “everything you’ve done for us”.

Other audience members consisted of the families and friends of the competitors, all of whom wore masks or clear face shields.

However, under the second lockdown measurements brought in on 5 November, which banned meeting indoors, the live audience was removed. From week 3 onwards, the show’s crew are now acting as the audience and can be heard applauding during the performances.

Strictly Come Dancing returns Saturday 14 November at 7.10pm on BBC One.


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