Strictly Come Dancing 2020 launch date “up to Boris”, says Anton Du Beke

The long-time Strictly professional spoke to RadioTimes.com about the upcoming series.

Strictly Come Dancing pro Anton du Beke

With Strictly Come Dancing 2020 just around the corner, fans are desperate for news on how COVID-19 will affect the upcoming series and its start date.

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However, long-time Strictly pro Anton Du Beke has said that the show’s crew can only start working on series 18 once the Prime Minister allows them to.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Du Beke said that he doesn’t know when the dancers will be able to begin rehearsing for the upcoming series due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is where it stars to get a bit tricky because when we start, then we have to start dancing together and it’s not really easy to do what we do two metres apart from each other,” he said. “I don’t know what the contingency is for that part of the show.”

Emma Barton and Anton du Beke Strictly Come Dancing 2019
Anton and his dance partner Emma Barton on Strictly 2019 (Credit: BBC)

He added that the Strictly team have been able to start preparing remotely through the use of video calls. “All the pre-production stuff has been easy enough, they can just do that on Zoom or FaceTime or whatever platform they want to use, but the studio stuff, that’s where it’s going to get tricky.”

“That I suppose is up to Boris [Johnson] really –he will dictate on what we’re allowed to do so we’ll have to wait and see on that bit,” he said.

The government introduced filming guidelines in May which allow TV and film crews to continue production as long as they adhere to two-metre social distancing rules.

As a result, there have been reports that Strictly will go ahead this year without a studio audience, a live band and group numbers, while celebrities and professionals could be required to quarantine beforehand.

Ex-Strictly professional AJ Pritchard also told RadioTimes.com earlier this month that the group routines may be in jeopardy for the 2020 series as the professionals usually start rehearsing at the end of July and August.

However, Du Beke, who has been a professional dancer on Strictly since its first series in 2004, said that although the coronavirus pandemic could lead to social distancing changes being made to the show, the British public will “want to watch it” this year particularly.

“I think there’ll be a desire for it this year because it is a wonderful thing,” he said. “It is a wonderfully uplifting show and a show of positivity, apart from Craig [Revel Horwood] of course. So I think we’ll be ready for a bit of that.”

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Anton Du Beke’s new novel, Moonlight Over Mayfair, is available to buy now, while Strictly Come Dancing 2020 is due to air on BBC One later this year. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.