BBC boss reveals measures taken to allow Strictly to go ahead under new pandemic restrictions

The BBC show has had to take some drastic action - including pre-recording all 14 group dances.

Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly

The BBC’s entertainment controller Kate Phillips has addressed the lengths Strictly Come Dancing has gone to in order to meet government guidelines.

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Phillips admitted the dance show was the “toughest show to get going”, but praised the inventive ideas BBC Studios have implemented.

As well as a shorter series with a reduced Strictly Come Dancing line-up, Phillips revealed all 14 group dances had been pre-recorded for the first time – a feat which involved 300 costume changes.

Yesterday, Phillips referenced Boris Johnson’s recent announcement regarding new restrictions, telling press including RadioTimes.com ,”I think after the tough news yesterday, never have we needed some Strictly sparkle more.”

“As I’m sure you all agree, Strictly is the toughest show to get going under the current climate, but I cannot tell you how impressed we’ve been with the work BBC Studios have been doing.

“Not just to make sure that it is safe for everyone taking part in the show but also the inventiveness that we’ve seen. As challenges have emerged, new ideas have emerged and it really is a case of necessity is the mother of all invention.”

Phillips’ comments followed a coronavirus briefing by Prime Minister Johnson in which he outlined new measures such as mandatory face masks for retail workers and a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars, and restaurants.

The group dances had already been recorded, however, which was made possible by the Strictly Come Dancing professionals forming their own specially created bubble.

Phillips explained: “So, for the past four weeks all of our pro dancers have been at a hotel together, isolating so that we could record early all of the big group numbers.

“It was a big challenge, they were there in the hotel with some of the key production team members including Vicky [Gill] and all of her wardrobe team. And I’m really pleased to say that they have recorded all 14 of their spectacular numbers, they are in the bag!

“Which is a big relief. I think there were over 300 costume changes during that time to make them look as amazing as ever.”

Strictly Come Dancing will return this October, with a new judging line-up as Bruno Tonioli will only be taking part virtually.

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