STRICTLY Come Dancing will be back on TV screens in October bringing a sprinkling of glitter and sparkle as the nights draw in, but the show will not be going to Blackpool this year.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the need to introduce changes to the show’s typical format for health and safety reasons means the BBC has decided not to air Strictly for at least a week from the famous Tower Ballroom in the UK’s ballroom dancing capital as usual.
That said, plans are reportedly afoot to stage some kind of Blackpool Week, even though it won’t actually be in the seaside town.
“Blackpool is a milestone moment in every series of Strictly that our audience, our celebs and professional dancers look forward to,” a BBC spokeswoman told UK press.
“Whilst we’ll be unable to physically go to Blackpool this series, we’ll still be celebrating this iconic venue and bringing it to life from our studio in Elstree.”
The move on Blackpool is one of several changes the BBC has had to make to the show this year due the Covid-19 situation.
The series will not run for as long as usual and there will not be as many couples as in other years.
Fans of Bruno Tonioli will meanwhile be disappointed that he will not be appearing on the judging panel.
The Italian ballroom and Latin dancer and choreographer is based in Los Angeles, and travel restrictions will mean he will not be able to fly between the UK and the US to perform his judging duties on Strictly and on the American version, although he is set to appear on the Sunday night results show.
The line-up of 12 contestants for what will be a rather different version of Strictly has now been confirmed, and there are as ever well-known figures from all different worlds.
Former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will be vying for the Glitter Ball against Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo, comedian Bill Bailey, actress Caroline Quentin, pop star HRVY, Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing and Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh.
Also appearing will be Eastenders actress Maisie Smith, former Royal Marine and Invictus Games J.J. Chalmers, The Wanted’s Max George and Former NFL star and Dallas Cowboys player Jason Bell.
Olympic boxer Nicola Adams completes the list. She will make Strictly history by being part of the first same-sex couple on the show.