Strictly Come Dancing has been thrown into chaos after one of the professional dancers tested positive for Covid just days before the launch of the new series.
With the unnamed dance pro now in isolation for ten days, the celebrity they’re paired with may be forced to compete with a new partner as they’re unlikely to have enough time to practice before the first live show on Saturday 25 September.
The celebrities met their dance partners for the first time last week in scenes which will air this Saturday in a pre-recorded episode, but just days after being paired up, one pro’s Covid test came back positive, while their celebrity partner’s test was negative.
A Strictly insider said, “This is proving to be a nightmare for producers of the show, just as they prepare to bring back Strictly for its first full series since the Covid pandemic hit Britain.
“It means that Strictly viewers are likely to watch the pro paired with their celeb, then they could be separated by the time the first live show begins.”
They added to The Sun, “That also means that the pro in question will probably end up only taking part in group dances throughout the new series, which will be particularly galling.”
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This is the latest blow for Strictly after another professional dancer, Nadiya Bychkova, tested positive for Covid last month, meaning many of the cast and crew had to isolate for ten days.
At the time, a TV insider explained, "This isn’t exactly the dream start. Obviously BBC bosses are panicking. They are taking every caution to be Covid secure, and keep everyone safe, but can’t control everything.
"Nadiya tested positive during one of the first meet-ups, during the studio rig. Thankfully none of the celebs have started training yet, but it still means anyone who came into contact with her has been told they must isolate.”
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Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite will also be taking part and he’s set to make history in Strictly’s first-ever all-male couple.
Speaking about the historic partnership, he said, “I’m so grateful, excited, and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family. I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth.
"What’s more exciting for me, is that I’m going to be one half of the first all-male partnership, which is a great step forward in representation and inclusion. Whoever it is I’m paired with, I hope they are up for a challenge as I want our routines to include lots of spectacular lifts!”