Strictly “will be a very different show without a studio audience”, says former contestant Anita Rani

The Countryfile presenter's comments follow rumours that Strictly 2020 will air without a studio audience due to coronavirus guidelines.

Anita Rani with dance partner Gleb Savchenko in 2015 (credit: BBC)

Former contestant Anita Rani has said that the Strictly Come Dancing 2020 series, which may go ahead without a studio audience due to coronavirus restrictions, will be very different to previous years.

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When informed of the rumoured lack of audience, Rani told RadioTimes.com: “Strictly is an amazing entertainment format but I think it’ll be a very different show without a studio audience.”

“The energy and the buzz you get when that empty studio is filled with an audience, and those standing ovations,” she said.

“It will still be amazing, but probably a little less terrifying for whoever’s competing,” she added. “The idea of being able to do it to an empty room, wow. Wow, wow, wow.”

Anita Rani performing an Argentine Tango during Strictly's 2015 series (credit: BBC)
Anita Rani performing an Argentine Tango during Strictly’s 2015 series (credit: BBC)

Earlier this month, news broke that the BBC had reportedly axed group dances and a studio audience from Strictly 2020, still scheduled for this autumn, to adhere to social distancing rules.

A source told the Daily Star: “Cancelling the Blackpool weekend was not an easy decision. But doing it in the current climate is too difficult. It isn’t worth doing if there won’t be a crowd.”

In a recent RadioTimes.com poll, 59% of Strictly viewers voted in favour of the long-running competition going ahead without a studio audience and pre-recorded music in lieu of Dave Arch’s live orchestra.

Rani, who is hosting Channel 4’s new parenting competition Britain’s Best Parent?, competed in Strictly’s 2015 series with professional Gleb Savchenko.

The presenter reached the semi-final, but was beaten to the final by broadcaster Katie Derham and Anton du Beke. Rani returned to take part in the Strictly Christmas special in 2018, during which she danced a foxtrot with Neil Jones.

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Britain’s Best Parent? airs Thursday 28th May at 8.05pm on Channel 4 and Strictly 2020 is due to air on BBC One this autumn.