Strictly Come Dancing re-evaluating Dave Arch and orchestra’s role in 2020 series

The BBC's Entertainment Controller has revealed the considerations being made for Strictly 2020 in light of COVID-19.

Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly

The BBC’s Controller of Entertainment has revealed that Strictly Come Dancing producers are deciding what to do with Dave Arch and his live band for the upcoming series in light of COVID-19.

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Speaking at Edinburgh TV Festival today, the BBC’s Kate Philips addressed the long-running dance show’s 2020 series and how it will work in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re having to adapt, the set’s having to be slightly altered. We’re not quite sure at this stage how much audience we’ll be able to have in, and we have to look at Dave Arch and his fantastic band and how we play to them,” she said.

“How hair and make-up and costume will work backstage,” she continued. “So it’s probably I’d say the hardest show to do in the current circumstances, a live weekly show that relies on body contact quite a lot!”

She added: “Having said that, I think studios have really risen to the challenge and there’s that old line, necessity is the mother of invention – and I’d say across all the entertainment shows, and in the other genres, we’re just seeing constant good ideas and surprising ways of working to overcome the challenges.”

Arch and his band have provided musical accompaniment for Strictly’s dances for almost 15 years since he joined the show as Musical Director in 2006.

The Entertainment Controller also revealed that the Strictly Come Dancing line-up will be announced at the end of August, adding: “We’re just planning that now but they are all on board and very excited.”

Earlier this year, the BBC confirmed that Strictly would officially be returning to our screens despite the pandemic, however for a much shorter run and with social distancing measures in place, such as isolation bubbles for professional dancers and celebs.

Speaking about the changes to this year’s series, Philips said: “I can say [Strictly] absolutely is coming back, it is a slightly shorter run but – apart from that – I don’t think it will be a lesser show at all. If anything, I think it will be rather special this series.”

“I think there will be heightened emotions at part, I think a lot of the dances will have real poignancy, the pros have all been isolating together for the last couple of weeks, so they are now rehearsing together the big dance numbers,” she added.

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“I sent Charlotte [Moore, Director of Content] something this morning, and I was just like, ‘It’s back!’ And it just looks so good seeing them dance.”

Strictly Come Dancing will return later this year. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide