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Strictly Come Dancing under Covid threat as two dancers refuse vaccines ahead of launch

·2-min read
The Strictly Come Dancing contestants for the 19th series - Ray Burmiston/BBC
The Strictly Come Dancing contestants for the 19th series - Ray Burmiston/BBC

Strictly Come Dancing has come under threat ahead of its launch on Saturday evening as two professional dancers have refused to take a Covid vaccine.

The pair are reported to be the only professionals, out of a total of 18, who were not vaccinated ahead of the BBC’s hit show this year.

Their decision has reportedly left celebrity contestants reluctant to pair with them and the broadcaster concerned about a Covid crisis.

A source told The Sun newspaper that a Covid outbreak among the programme’s contestants would "be curtains for the show".

A BBC spokesperson confirmed that all the pairings will go ahead "as planned" on tonight's show despite the concerns about the dancers refusing a vaccination.

The spokesperson added that they "cannot force anyone to get a vaccination" and that telling their celebrity contestants or professional dancers to get one is "not our place".

They said that all cast and crew receive regular Covid testing and the broadcaster is "working with government guidelines to make sure everyone stays safe".

The Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers for 2021 - Guy Levy/BBC
The Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers for 2021 - Guy Levy/BBC

The star-studded 19th series, which includes presenter Dan Walker and Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty as celebrity contestants, was dealt a blow earlier this week when a professional dancer tested positive.

According to The Sun, the individual was rushed into isolation while their celebrity pairing is likely to get a new partner.

The source told the newspaper that "anxiety is at an all-time high" with one dancer in isolation and others refusing to get jabbed.

They said: "The dancers who won’t get vaccinated have been a topic of conversation among cast and crew for weeks - even before the positive test.

"There were vocal protests from celebrities that they didn’t want to be paired with them."

The source added that the situation is a "headache for bosses", but that they "cannot force workers" to take up the vaccination.

The Covid protocols for contestants include 10-day isolation periods for positive cases and forming Strictly couple "bubbles" for the live shows. A live studio audience will also return for this year’s series.

A spokesman for the show said: "We do not comment on speculation of somebody’s Covid vaccination status.

"Strictly Come Dancing production has, and will, continue to follow strict government guidelines to ensure the safety of all on the show."

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