Strictly Come Dancing will be split into a main show and a results show in the run-up to the final.

The BBC said the change, which will begin from Saturday December 5 and coincides with the arrival of guest judge Darcey Bussell, will allow phone operators ‘more time’ to manage the votes.

A spokesman for the broadcaster said the decision to split the show was made at the beginning of the series and had nothing to do with the scheduling conflict with primetime rival The X Factor on ITV1.

He said: “As we near the end of the run, Strictly will split into a main show and a results show.”

“This split, which has been planned since the beginning of the series, allows more time to manage and verify the increased volume of calls that we expect to receive as the show reaches its conclusion.

“As a result of the split, the main show will start slightly earlier than usual.”

The first instalment will start at 6.40pm and end at 8.10pm, and the result will be broadcast during the second show, beginning at 9.40pm.

Ballerina Darcey joins Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Alesha Dixon on the panel.