Strictly Come Dancing’s behind-the-scenes secrets as show makes its return

Strictly Come Dancing has made its return to screens with the celebrities taking to the dance floor for the first live show last weekend. Here we take a look at some of the behind-the-scenes secrets of one of the BBC’s biggest shows

Adam Peaty is bleeding after Strictly Come Dancing training

Strictly Come Dancing has made its return to screens with the celebrities taking to the dance floor for the first live show last weekend.

However, it’s not been without its dramas so far – after Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden tested positive for Covid-19 and will skip the next show before making their grand return the week after.

There has also been a string of reports claiming that three of the professional dancers have refused to get the coronavirus vaccine, throwing the show into chaos.

Here we take a look at some of the behind-the-scenes secrets of one of the BBC’s biggest shows.

Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden are taking part in this year’s series – but they will be forced to miss a week after testing positive for Covid-19



Johannes Radebe and John Whaite blew fans away with their incredible performance on Saturday night


BBC/Guy Levy)

Strict Covid regulations

Despite restrictions easing this time around compared to last series, show bosses are naturally still keen to keep their stars as safe as possible.

Each member of the team is tested weekly for the virus, whilst the celebrities and professional dancers will bubble up as before.

“Keeping people safe and keeping the show going are our priorities,” Sarah James, the show’s executive producer, said.

“The better news is that last year the isolation period, if you received a positive test, was 14 days but this year it’s 10 days so if a celebrity does receive a positive test, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re out of the competition.

Strictly Come Dancing won’t return to Blackpool Tower for a second year due to the pandemic



“It could mean they miss a week and still get enough training to return.”

And that is exactly what has happened for Tom and Amy, who are planning to make a return to the Strictly dance floor a week later.

The pandemic will also see the week at Blackpool skipped again with all filming taking place in Elstree studios like last year.

“That’s to keep everyone safe,” Sarah added.

“Blackpool Tower is amazing but behind the scenes it’s really small.

“All the dressing rooms are tiny so keeping everybody distanced there is impossible and everyone stays in a hotel together up there so that’s the reason we made that decision.”

How the songs are picked

Rose Ayling-Ellis performed a jive to Shake It Off by Taylor Swift with Giovanni Pernice



Nina Wadia danced the samba with Neil Jones to Mi Gente



The celebrities and professional dancers are tasked with learning a new dance each week, but for the pros, there’s even more work involved as they also need to choreograph their number for their celebrity partner.

The dancers are given a pool of songs to choose from, which fit with the theme. It is always a mix of old and new songs to appeal to everyone and from there, they decide on a track and get choreographing.

The in house singers then get the rest of the week to learn the song before performing it live on Saturday night.

Why there’s a delay in scoring

Strictly’s judges – Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke – must give their scores to the crew first before holding up their famous paddles



Viewers familiar with the show will know that it takes a little while to hear the verdict of judges Anton Du Beke, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas.

That’s because the judges need to let the crew know first of all which paddle they’re going to hold up.

They have a special keypad hidden under their desks where they submit their score, so the crew can seamlessly show it on the screen for viewers at home as well as update the leaderboard straight away.

Long days of filming

Strictly Come Dancing’s professional dancers

While the show may only been on for a couple of hours on a Saturday night – and the results show broadcasted on Sunday – filming takes a long time.

Both episodes of the show are filmed on the same evening, with the Saturday show coming live to people’s homes and the Sunday night show being broadcasted as if it is live.

There is also a lot of footage which doesn’t appear on the final edit of the show and with the filming of the Sunday show, any slip-ups – for example, where someone refers to the show as today and not yesterday – can easily be edited out for continuity purposes.

Lots of waiting around – and naps

The celebrities and their pros get a chance to rehearse all day – but they make sure to get a break before the big show.

“We get an hour or two before the live show, so we just switch the lights off and lie down in the dark,” former Strictly star AJ Pritchard told The Mirror.

“I ended up falling asleep. Giovanni fell asleep. All the pros just fall asleep. We have a group power nap where we’re all out of it.”

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