The coronavirus pandemic has left a cloud of questions around this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Strictly Come Dancing 2020 is eagerly awaited by fans across the country, with enthusiasts of the show following every update that is revealed up until the big premiere in the autumn.
But with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic having abruptly halted film and TV productions across the globe, the dancing competition’s future seems to be on rocky ground.
So here’s everything you need to know about this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing…
Strictly Come Dancing 2020: Everything you need to know
Will Strictly Come Dancing still go ahead?
After months of speculation from fans, the BBC confirmed just days ago that Strictly Come Dancing will go ahead later this year.
“The Strictly Come Dancing team are doing everything they can to bring the nation plenty of Strictly magic later this year,” a spokesperson for the show revealed last week.
However, they revealed that this year’s series is likely to be shorter, adding, “To ensure we deliver the high standards audiences know and love, and in light of the ongoing considerations around COVID-19, this year’s series of Strictly will have a slightly shorter run than usual.
“The safety of our cast and crew is of the utmost importance to us and further updates will be made in due course.”
Producers have previously touched on the major changes they will have to make due to the coronavirus pandemic in order to still air this year.
“We’re looking at how that would work,” BBC Director of Content Charlotte Moore told The Times. “Could you quarantine people? Can we test everyone before filming? There’s a lot of work being done. It’s a big task”.
Charlotte also revealed that creators are considering scrapping the usual energy-filled studio audience.
“When you look at something like RuPaul’s Drag Race, which is a big shiny floor talent competition with all sorts of catwalks, singing, dancing, impressions – it never has an audience,” she added.
“The audience is the four judges and I don’t think it suffers from that at all. I think it is a brilliant show!”
Judge Craig Revel Horwood also spoke about prospective changes that could allow the show to ahead, saying, “There is some way around it, there has to be.
“People love the show, it’s great entertainment.
“We really want it back and I know BBC1 are working extremely hard to make that happen for the audience.”
Craig also revealed that Australia’s Dancing with the Stars, which he also works on, managed to go ahead “without a studio audience” and the team used “remote cameras”, which ended up being “absolutely amazing”.
“And when people needed to be isolated, one couple, for instance, stayed in a hotel for two weeks and they performed live from the hotel rooftop!”
Strictly Come Dancing 2020: Celebrity contestants
Rumours have started to circulate around who could be hitting the dancefloor (whether real or virtual) for this year’s series.
And a source has revealed that TV chef Gordon Ramsay’s oldest daughter Tilly has been approached by producers.
“Tilly is already popular with younger viewers from her shows on CBBC and bosses think she could bring that audience with her,” a source told The Sun newspaper’s Bizarre column.
“Tilly is keen to be a star in her own right, rather than just being known as Gordon’s daughter,” continued the source, “and Strictly could be a great way for her to come out of her father’s shadow.
“They’ve spoken to her formally and said she can take part either this year or next. They’ve left the ball in her court.”
Other stars that have been rumoured for the new series are former Spice Girls manager Nicki Chapman as well as classically-trained musician and former Hear’Say singer Myleene Klass.
“Strictly want both to be in the line-up. They are household names and haven’t really worked together since Popstars so it would be an amazing reunion,” a source revealed to the Daily Star.
And of course there’s Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing, who was due to take part last year but was forced to pull out after suffering an injury during rehearsals.
Strictly dancer Anton Du Beke revealed his hope that the TV star would return this year, telling Radio Times, “I hope he does it this year.
“I don’t know if they’ve asked him, but if they do, I hope he does it. He was lovely, so I hope he comes back and does it.”
Strictly Come Dancing 2020: Professional dancers
It’s expected that this year’s series of the show will see similar dancers as the past few seasons, with professional dancers Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Janette Manrara, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu, Neil Jones, and Oti Mabuse expected to take part.
It comes after popular professional dancers Kevin Clifton and AJ Pritchard revealed that they would not be returning to the show.
“Sadly Kevin Clifton is leaving #Strictly after seven incredible years on the show,” they wrote on Instagram. “Join us in wishing him all the best, @keviclifton you’ll be sorely missed!”
Just weeks later AJ revealed that he would be leaving the show, with Strictly writing on their Instagram page, “We would like to thank AJ for four fantastic years on Strictly Come Dancing.
“He is a brilliant dancer who reached three semi-finals during his time on the show.
“He will be missed by fans and the Strictly family. We wish him all the best for the future”.
When will Strictly Come Dancing 2020 start?
Every year the show starts to announce their celebrity contestants from July, with the celebrities being paired with a professional dancer some time in August and live shows hitting the screen in September.
However, due to the reduced series this year it is likely that the season will end up premiering slightly later.
“A heavily reduced schedule gives them a lot longer to pre-record certain segments to minimise risk,” a source explained to The Sun, revealing that the series will be hitting screens on 24th October.
“It does mean it will be starting much later in the year,” the source added, “and will finish very close to Christmas with the final currently scheduled for 19 December.”
Consider our calendars pencilled in!