Strictly Come Dancing’s 2020 series ‘will run for 9 weeks instead of 13 and will start in October’

Strictly Come Dancing’s 2020 series will run for nine weeks instead of its usual 13 and won’t start until the end of October amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to new reports.

The hit BBC ballroom show is gearing up for a very different series during the pandemic and The Sun reports bosses have cut the series duration by a month and pushed back the start date to October 24.

Due to the reduced series run, it was claimed bosses will have fewer celebrities in the line-up, with the show’s Halloween and Blackpool specials coming up at two and four weeks into the schedule.

Keep dancing! Strictly Come Dancing's 2020 series will run for nine weeks instead of its usual 13 and won't start until the end of October amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to new reports (pictured 2019 champions Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse)

Keep dancing! Strictly Come Dancing's 2020 series will run for nine weeks instead of its usual 13 and won't start until the end of October amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to new reports (pictured 2019 champions Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse)

Keep dancing! Strictly Come Dancing’s 2020 series will run for nine weeks instead of its usual 13 and won’t start until the end of October amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to new reports (pictured 2019 champions Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse)

A source told the website: ‘BBC bosses are doing everything in their power to give the public as much Strictly as they possibly can and safely.

‘A heavily reduced schedule gives them a lot longer to pre-record certain segments to minimise risk. It does mean it will be starting much later in the year, and will finish very close to Christmas with the final currently scheduled for December 19.’

The 2019 series was won by soap star Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse, and started on September 21. 

Show bosses are also said to be pre-recording professional group dances which is another alleged reason for the show’s delay.    

Pros: The hit BBC ballroom show is gearing up for a very different series during the pandemic and The Sun reports bosses have cut the series duration by a month and pushed back the start date to October 24 (pictured the pro dancers in May 2019)

Pros: The hit BBC ballroom show is gearing up for a very different series during the pandemic and The Sun reports bosses have cut the series duration by a month and pushed back the start date to October 24 (pictured the pro dancers in May 2019)

Pros: The hit BBC ballroom show is gearing up for a very different series during the pandemic and The Sun reports bosses have cut the series duration by a month and pushed back the start date to October 24 (pictured the pro dancers in May 2019)

The Strictly team are said to be ‘confident’ the show will still be a ratings winner and will attract a stellar calibre of celebrity.  

A  BBC spokesman declined to comment when approached by MailOnline. 

Strictly bosses previously revealed that this year’s series will be shorter than usual and stars will be in ‘couple bubbles’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following months of speculation as to whether to hugely popular BBC ballroom show would go ahead this winter, it will be back on screens, but with major changes as Britain emerges from a stringent lockdown. 

A spokesman said: ‘The Strictly Come Dancing team are doing everything they can to bring the nation plenty of Strictly magic later this year.

Planning: Due to the reduced series run, it was claimed bosses will have fewer celebrities in the line-up, with the show's Halloween and Blackpool specials coming up at two and four weeks into the schedule (above 2019 finalists Amy Dowden and Karim Zeroual)

Planning: Due to the reduced series run, it was claimed bosses will have fewer celebrities in the line-up, with the show's Halloween and Blackpool specials coming up at two and four weeks into the schedule (above 2019 finalists Amy Dowden and Karim Zeroual)

Planning: Due to the reduced series run, it was claimed bosses will have fewer celebrities in the line-up, with the show’s Halloween and Blackpool specials coming up at two and four weeks into the schedule (above 2019 finalists Amy Dowden and Karim Zeroual)

‘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.  

Strictly bosses are still trying to work out how to make the next series work amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. 

While the global crisis has caused the future of many British TV shows to hang in the balance, BBC executives are pulling out all the stops to ensure the series can return to screens later this year.

Claims: A source said: 'A heavily reduced schedule gives them a lot longer to pre-record certain segments to minimise risk (pictured judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli)

Claims: A source said: 'A heavily reduced schedule gives them a lot longer to pre-record certain segments to minimise risk (pictured judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli)

Claims: A source said: ‘A heavily reduced schedule gives them a lot longer to pre-record certain segments to minimise risk (pictured judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli)

BBC Director of Content Charlotte Moore has revealed producers are still assessing contingency plans such as enforcing a face mask rule, dancing two metres apart and even quarantining celebrities and professional dancers.

Charlotte told The Times: ‘We’re looking at how that would work. Could you quarantine people? Can we test everyone before filming? There’s a lot of work being done. It’s a big task.’   

She also said fans could see the show go on-air without a live audience, with the BBC also looking into testing participants’ temperatures and installing glass divides inside the studio ‘so that people feel even more protected’. 

The Strictly set-up has included a live audience since the show first aired back in 2004, when it was fronted by Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly.

Precautions: Show bosses are also said to be pre-recording professional group dances which is another alleged reason for the show's delay (above the 2019 cast)

Precautions: Show bosses are also said to be pre-recording professional group dances which is another alleged reason for the show's delay (above the 2019 cast)

Precautions: Show bosses are also said to be pre-recording professional group dances which is another alleged reason for the show’s delay (above the 2019 cast)

Insiders previously claimed keeping participants in isolation was not plausible due to family ties.

A BBC spokesperson said: ‘We will continue to review all productions on a case by case basis and will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the Foreign Office, World Health Organisation and Public Health England.’

Bosses are also reportedly offering doubled fees to celebrities, with sources claiming TV executives are keen for the series ‘to remain the jewel in the BBC’s crown’ and have already put forward contract proposals in a bid to attract a ‘stellar line-up’ for this year’s upcoming series. 

The celebrities taking part are set to be announced at the end of July and it is believed they will rehearse on Zoom until lockdown rules are eased.   

Cut: Meanwhile, Strictly bosses have revealed that this year's series will be shorter than usual and stars will be in 'couple bubbles' amid the COVID-19 pandemic (pictured are judges, L-R,  Bruno, Motsi, Shirley and Craig)

Cut: Meanwhile, Strictly bosses have revealed that this year's series will be shorter than usual and stars will be in 'couple bubbles' amid the COVID-19 pandemic (pictured are judges, L-R,  Bruno, Motsi, Shirley and Craig)

Cut: Meanwhile, Strictly bosses have revealed that this year’s series will be shorter than usual and stars will be in ‘couple bubbles’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic (pictured are judges, L-R,  Bruno, Motsi, Shirley and Craig)

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