Strictly Come Dancing 2021 latest – Tom Fletcher & Amy Dowden Covid crisis may end live show as Rylan Clark-Neal returns

STRICTLY bosses are considering new measures to save the show after it emerged celebrity dancer Tom Fletcher caught Covid despite being double jabbed.

Fears have increased on set after the McFly star, 36, and his professional dance partner Amy Dowden, 31, both tested positive – even though they have both been fully vaccinated.

It comes after The Sun revealed three pro dancers have not been jabbed. One has since had a rethink.

Now bosses on the BBC1 dance contest are holding crisis meetings where they may consider scrapping the studio audience and re-introducing quarantine bubbles for celebs and pros.

Read our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for the latest updates…

  • Joseph Gamp

    ‘Never say never’

    GARY NEVILLE has left the door open to an outing on Strictly Come Dancing – vowing ‘never say never!’.

    The former Manchester United hero took part in a Q&A with fans on Monday, revealing his Strictly stance and a handful of other curious points of conversation.

    Ex-rugby star Ugo Monye and Olympic swimming king Adam Peaty are competing in this year’s series.

    Neville, 46, did not dismiss the idea of following in their footsteps during the Q&A.

    Responding to a tweet asking if he would ever do Strictly, he wrote: “Never say never!”

    Fans following Neville were very keen on the idea, Twitter user Michelle laughing: “I’ve never watched that show, but I’d have to watch it just to see you dance.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    'Radical steps' could be needed

    Fears have increased on the set of Strictly after it emerged that the McFly star, 36, tested positive despite being fully vaccinated ? like 31-year-old Amy.

    It comes after The Sun revealed three pro dancers have not been jabbed. One has since had a rethink.

    Now bosses on the BBC1 dance contest are holding crisis meetings where they may consider scrapping the studio audience and re-introducing quarantine bubbles for celebs and pros.

    A TV insider said: "These would be radical steps to take to increase safety on the set, but given the difficulties producers have had over the past two weeks, there's nothing they aren't willing to consider.

    "But if they did have to go down this route, it would be a logistical nightmare and might leave some of the stars with a dilemma as many of them are juggling their dance training with their day jobs."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Robert Webb’s movie horror

    STRICTLY Come Dancing star Robert Webb was left horrified when he was shown in full-frontal scenes in the movie Confetti alongside co-star Olivia Colman.

    The actors almost sued over their roles playing a nudist couple after they were shown fully naked despite claims they had been assured they would not be.

    The stars – who both found fame on Peep Show – are seen in the buff multiple times throughout the 2006 mockumentary rom com.

    In one eye-popping scene, Robert strips in front of squirming magazine editors while defending being a nudist, and in another the couple cycle naked on a tandem bicycle.

    The script was entirely improvised and the makers hoped it would be a hit, but it turned out to be a huge flop.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Strictly’s Anton slams ex-judge Alesha Dixon

    STRICTLY Come Dancing’s Anton DuBeke has criticised former judge Alesha Dixon saying: “She was savage.”

    The 55-year-old pro dancer, who has taken one of the show’s much sought-after hotseats after Bruno Tonioli was unable to appear, called her remarks “pretty upsetting”.

    Speaking to Saga magazine, the star launched a very rare broadside against the former Strictly champ, 42.

    He said: “I’ve never had a problem with any criticism, except when Alesha Dixon was on the judging panel.

    “She was savage and it could be pretty upsetting – especially for the celebrities. For me, it’s more about being constructive and entertaining.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    Peter Andre joins jab row

    PETER Andre has weighed in on the Strictly Come Dancing jabs row calling it a "tricky and a scary thing" after the chaos a non-vaccinated person unleashed on his show Grease.

    The Sun exclusively revealed three professional Strictly dancers had not been vaccinated against Covid, and would rather "quit" than get the jab.

    He revealed the "chaos" a non-vaccinated person unleashed on his show saying eight people from the stage production had been forced to pull out.

    The 46-year-old singer wrote in this week's issue of new! magazine: "It’s tricky and it's scary as it puts the show in jeopardy so I understand why it's concerning.

    "At the same time I don’t believe you should be forced to have the vaccine as we’re not forced to have any other jabs. However I've seen first hand the chaos it can cause as we had a positive in the Grease The Musical Team.

    "Someone who wasn’t vaccinated has tested positive and everyone who isn’t double vaccinated has had to self isolate for 10 days so we’ve lost eight people from the crew. Luckily I can stay on as I’m double vaccinated."

  • Joseph Gamp

    ‘Stars refusing Covid jab should be AXED’

    Ballroom dancers AJ and Curtis Pritchard have slammed the professionals who plunged Strictly into crisis by refusing to get their Covid jabs.

    The TV stars – who championed The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign – called for those who turned down the life-saving vaccine to be AXED from the BBC show’s main line-up.

    Love Islander Curtis, 25, said celebrities paired with un-vaxxed dancers should be allowed to dance with one of the many reserve pros who are double-jabbed and waiting in the wings.

    He said: “There’s always reserve professionals on there isn’t there.

    “So if they’re thinking of pulling the show I don’t think that should happen. Maybe remove the pros that aren’t getting the jab. But not get rid of them or fire them. There’s always reserves on the show.

    “So bring the ones in that have had the jab this year. Put the other ones on the reserve list. They’re still part of the programme, and the show can go on and move forward.”

    Read the article in full here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Who are the Strictly judges this year?

    • Motsi Mabuse – On July 22, 2019, Motsi Mabuse was revealed as Darcey’s replacement on the hit show.
    • Shirley Ballas – Shirley is a ballroom dancer from Merseyside. She made her first appearance on the Strictly panel in 2017 as head judge, taking over from Len Goodman.
    • Bruno Tonioli – He is an Italian dancer and choreographer from Ferrara. He has been a judge on Strictly since the show aired its first series in 2004.
    • Craig Revel Horwood – Craig Revel Horwood, 54, was born in Victoria, Australia. He is one of the shows original judges along with Bruno.

    Who replaced Zoe Ball?

    Janette Manrara may have some large shoes to fill, but as a professional dancer it looks like she's a perfect fit for the role.

    Janette, who is originally from Miami, Florida, started as a Salsa dancer before studying dance formally at the age of 19.

    She started her TV career on the US show So You Think You Can Dance, before becoming a Strictly Pro in 2013.

    Janette is married to professional dancer and fellow Strictly star Aljaz Skorjanec.

    Why did Zoe Ball leave It Takes Two?

    Zoe Ball announced her departure back in May 2021 on Instagram.

    She shared a number of photos from her ten years on the programme and wrote, "after 10 joyous years I am waltzing away from It Takes Two" and that it was "time now for some new cha cha challenges."

    Adding that she would miss her co-workers "immensely", Zoe revealed that she would still be keeping up with the show and promised to watch "the class of 2021 from my sofa."

    On her BBC Radio 2 morning show, Zoe revealed that her decision had also been partially motivated by a desire to spend more time with her daughter Nelly, who she shares with ex Fatboy Slim.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Judi and Graziano cuddle up

      STRICTLY Come Dancing's Graziano Di Prima and partner Judi Love cuddled up as they left BBC studios together last night.

      The pair had appeared on sister show It Takes Two after dance rehearsals, and put on an adorable display.

      Judi, 41, looked sensational in a bold patterned maxi dress with a handbag slung over one arm.

      She gave her no-doubt aching feet a rest from heels in comfortable trainers, leaning into her pro partner as they posed for the waiting paps.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Robert Webb's movie horror

      STRICTLY Come Dancing star Robert Webb was left horrified when he was shown in full-frontal scenes in the movie Confetti alongside co-star Olivia Colman.

      The actors almost sued over their roles playing a nudist couple after they were shown fully naked despite claims they had been assured they would not be.

      The stars – who both found fame on Peep Show – are seen in the buff multiple times throughout the 2006 mockumentary rom com.

      In one eye-popping scene, Robert strips in front of squirming magazine editors while defending being a nudist, and in another the couple cycle naked on a tandem bicycle.

      The script was entirely improvised and the makers hoped it would be a hit, but it turned out to be a huge flop.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Do the winners collect the same trophy each year?

      As the celebrities have to hand it back each year, the same trophy is used.

      Each year the winner’s name is added to the gold plague on the front of the Glitterball.

      It is believed the same trophy has been used since Strictly started back in 2004.

      The Glitterball was slightly changed back in 2019 for the 17th series of the show.

      The BBC confirmed that they altered the trophy so that it will be a mounted on a bigger base.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Strictly’s Anton slams ex-judge Alesha Dixon

      STRICTLY Come Dancing’s Anton DuBeke has criticised former judge Alesha Dixon saying: “She was savage.”

      The 55-year-old pro dancer, who has taken one of the show’s much sought-after hotseats after Bruno Tonioli was unable to appear, called her remarks “pretty upsetting”.

      Speaking to Saga magazine, the star launched a very rare broadside against the former Strictly champ, 42.

      He said: “I’ve never had a problem with any criticism, except when Alesha Dixon was on the judging panel.

      “She was savage and it could be pretty upsetting – especially for the celebrities. For me, it’s more about being constructive and entertaining.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Explained: Is Tom Fletcher leaving Strictly?

      Strictly was plunged further on September 26 as celebrity dancer Tom Fletcher and his professional partner caught Covid – and may have to drop out of the competition.

      It’s uncertain if he will have to leave the show but the blow means that the McFly singer will have to miss next week’s show as he goes into ten days of isolation.

      And Tom, 36, who’s partnered with Amy Dowden, will only be allowed back on the show if he tests negative in time for the following week.

      A BBC spokesman told The Sun: “Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden have tested positive for Covid-19.

      “The pair are now self-isolating separately following the latest government guidelines.

      “While they will both miss Saturday’s live show, Strictly Come Dancing protocols mean that all being well, they will return the following week.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Dan Walker is 'really struggling'

      Dan Walker admitted he’s “really struggling” with this week’s dance and tells fans he’s “a sweaty mess” from training with partner Nadiya Bychkova.

      The presenter, 44, sounded physically and emotionally drained from performing his first dance on Saturday night as he updated fans on his progress today.

      Dan tweeted he’d kicked off the week with a lesson from Nadiya, 32, but “nothing went in”.

      Replying to a fan, who asked “how are the legs Dan?”, he said: “Legs are a bit weary.

      “I’ll be honest with you… I am really struggling with this week’s dance. Nothing went in yesterday. It was just a sweaty mess. Back at it today with @NadiyaBychkova so hopefully something will click.”

      Read more here

    • Joseph Gamp

      Sara and Ugo favourites for first exit

      Sara Davies tops the betting with Ladbrokes to be eliminated first from Strictly Come Dancing this weekend.

      The Dragons Den star finds herself chalked up at 9/4, however Ugo narrowly sits in second spot at 5/2.

      Low-scoring Tilly is rated as a 5/1 shot to go first, with Judi and Greg 6/1 and 7/1 chances respectively.

      Jessica O'Reilly of Ladbrokes said: "Unfortunately for Sara and Ugo it looks like it's a two-horse race between them to take home the Strictly wooden spoon."

    • [email protected]

      ‘Strictly stars who refused Covid jab should be AXED’

      Ballroom dancers AJ and Curtis Pritchard have slammed the professionals who plunged Strictly into crisis by refusing to get their Covid jabs.

      The TV stars – who championed The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign – called for those who turned down the life-saving vaccine to be AXED from the BBC show’s main line-up.

      Love Islander Curtis, 25, said celebrities paired with un-vaxxed dancers should be allowed to dance with one of the many reserve pros who are double-jabbed and waiting in the wings.

      He said: “There’s always reserve professionals on there isn’t there.

      “So if they’re thinking of pulling the show I don’t think that should happen. Maybe remove the pros that aren’t getting the jab. But not get rid of them or fire them. There’s always reserves on the show.

      “So bring the ones in that have had the jab this year. Put the other ones on the reserve list.

      “They’re still part of the programme, and the show can go on and move forward.”

      Read the article in full here.

    • [email protected]

      Tom Fletcher Covid scare leaves Strictly in chaos

      STRICTLY bosses were last night considering new measures to save the show after it emerged celebrity dancer Tom Fletcher caught Covid despite being double jabbed.

      Fears have increased on set after the McFly star, 36, and his professional dance partner Amy Dowden, 31, both tested positive — even though they have both been fully vaccinated.

      It comes after The Sun revealed three pro dancers have not been jabbed. One has since had a rethink.

      Now bosses on the BBC1 dance contest are holding crisis meetings where they may consider scrapping the studio audience and re-introducing quarantine bubbles for celebs and pros.

      A TV insider said: “These would be radical steps to take to increase safety on the set, but given the difficulties producers have had over the past two weeks, there’s nothing they aren’t willing to consider.

      “But if they did have to go down this route, it would be a logistical nightmare and might leave some of the stars with a dilemma as many of them are juggling their dance training with their day jobs.”

    • [email protected]

      Who performs the songs on Strictly Come Dancing?

      Strictly Come Dancing is not just loved by audiences for the brilliant dancing, but also for the great live music.

      Musical director and arranger Dave Arch is the man in charge of the band.

      David is a British pianist, conductor, arranger and composer who has enjoyed a prolific career covering a broad spectrum of the music business including albums, films, and commercials, live and television work.

      He is also the Musical Director for productions of the Royal Variety Performance show on ITV as well as shows like Popstar To Operastar.

    • [email protected]

      Do the winners collect the same trophy each year?

      As the celebrities have to hand it back each year, the same trophy is used.

      Each year the winner’s name is added to the gold plague on the front of the Glitterball.

      It is believed the same trophy has been used since Strictly started back in 2004.

      The Glitterball was slightly changed back in 2019 for the 17th series of the show.

      The BBC confirmed that they altered the trophy so that it will be a mounted on a bigger base.

    • [email protected]

      Tom’s replacement in McFly offers support

      Musician Tom Abisgold is filling in for Tom for the band’s live shows, and Tom urged fans to get behind him.

      Speaking in a video on Instagram, he said: “Thank you so much for your messages, I’m fine. It means I’m isolating and I can’t finish the McFly tour, which I’m so sorry, I’m so gutted about. It hurts so much letting you guys down. You have no idea.

      “But the shows must go on. You guys have waited long enough for a night of fun McFly entertainment that I know Danny, Dougie and Harry are more than capable of giving you… without me there.

      “Obviously it won’t be quite as good without me, but it will be a McFly show. If you have tickets for the last two nights, go and have an amazing time, sing your hearts out.

      “We have a good friend of ours who is also called Tom, he’s standing in for me, he’s been a McFly fan since he was like five years old so it’s amazing he’s getting to stand in and be part of McFly for a couple of nights, so thank you, Tom.”

    • [email protected]

      Too quick a step

      Dan Walker admitted he's "really struggling" with this week’s dance and tells fans he’s "a sweaty mess" from training with partner Nadiya Bychkova.

      The presenter, 44, sounded physically and emotionally drained from performing his first dance on Saturday night as he updated fans on his progress today.

      Dan tweeted he'd kicked off the week with a lesson from Nadiya, 32, but "nothing went in".

      Replying to a fan, who asked "how are the legs Dan?", he said: "Legs are a bit weary.

      "I'll be honest with you… I am really struggling with this week's dance.

      "Nothing went in yesterday. It was just a sweaty mess. Back at it today with @NadiyaBychkova so hopefully something will click."

      Read more here

      BBC presenter Dan Walker admitted he's struggling with his second dance routine on Strictly
    • [email protected]

      Strictly’s unjabbed pro-dancers BACKED by BBC

      The BBC has backed Strictly Come Dancing‘s unjabbed dancers after mounting pressure to be vaccinated to stay in the series.

      It’s after The Sun revealed a trio of professionals embroiled in the anti-vax storm have said they would rather quit than be jabbed.

      Ahead of the first live show this weekend, the BBC has released a statement making clear they are NOT enforcing stars to be vaccinated in order to compete.

      Read the article in full here.

    • [email protected]

      Strictly “don’t have a clue” who’s had Covid-jab

      Earlier this month, we revealed how at least THREE pro-dancers have refused to be vaccinated.

      But confused bosses fear that there are MORE dancers could be unprotected and sources say they “don’t have a clue” who has or hasn’t had a Covid-jab.

      “The simple truth is the BBC doesn’t know who is or isn’t vaccinated,” the insider said.

      “It’s believed to be three but it could easily be double that. There are very strict rules about this and nobody is being asked officially to disclose their vaccine status.

      “It’s a ridiculous situation that the BBC have boxed themselves into. It’s a drip, drip of revelations right now about people not having had the jab. There just needs to be a meeting where everyone can be sat down and asked about this.

      “It is not about forcing people to have the vaccine. But if some are choosing not to then everyone else at least has the right to know about it. The BBC is effectively trying to create a policy to keep the show Covid-free when they have no actual clue of the scale of the problem they currently face.”

    • [email protected]

      Explained: Is Tom Fletcher leaving Strictly?

      Strictly was plunged further on September 26 as celebrity dancer Tom Fletcher and his professional partner caught Covid – and may have to drop out of the competition.

      It’s uncertain if he will have to leave the show but the blow means that the McFly singer will have to miss next week’s show as he goes into ten days of isolation.

      And Tom, 36, who’s partnered with Amy Dowden, will only be allowed back on the show if he tests negative in time for the following week.

      A BBC spokesman told The Sun: “Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden have tested positive for Covid-19.

      “The pair are now self-isolating separately following the latest government guidelines.

      “While they will both miss Saturday’s live show, Strictly Come Dancing protocols mean that all being well, they will return the following week.”

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