Strictly Come Dancing to scrap live studio audience amid lockdown

Other entertainment programmes have also been affected.

Strictly Come Dancing 2020 (BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing will no longer have a studio audience as the UK heads into its second lockdown.

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BBC One’s popular dance competition returned last month with a smaller crowd than usual, allowing for safe social distancing in the seating area.

However, as the government tells the general public to stay at home unless absolutely essential for the next four weeks, it will no longer be compliant for Strictly Come Dancing fans to watch the competition in person.

This weekend will mark the first time in its history that the competition will be without a live audience, meaning there will be no crowd to cheer and clap along as contestants perform complex routines.

However, Deadline reports that producers are looking into the possibility of virtual audiences for these programmes, the likes of which have recently been seen on Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK.

A notice on the BBC’s studio audience website reads: “In light of the new lockdown measures which take effect in England from Thursday 5 November, we’re sad to announce that we won’t be able to have a live studio audience for Strictly Come Dancing during November. Ticket holders have been notified.

“No tickets will be sent out for December shows until we are sure it will be safe and compliant to welcome audiences back, so please keep checking back for updates. We will continue to follow government guidelines.

“We understand how disappointing this will be, but we very much hope we will see some of you later in the series – and in the meantime you can continue to watch all the action from the comfort and safety of your sofa.”

Many people have been doing just that as this year’s Strictly Come Dancing has got off to a very strong start in the ratings, with more than 10 million people tuning into last week’s episode, which aired immediately after a coronavirus briefing.

BBC One’s The Graham Norton Show and Have I Got News For You will also have to scrap plans for studio audiences, while ITV’s The Jonathan Ross Show and Celebrity Juice may also be impacted.

The Graham Norton Show has previously aired without a studio audience, when the comedian hosted the previous series of the show from home during the first lockdown.

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Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One this Saturday at 7:25pm. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide, or take a look at our new TV shows 2020 page to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.