‘It’s a prison sentence but it’s a fun one!’ Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood reveals dancers have been isolating for WEEKS and stars are banned from seeing family during show

Craig Revel Horwood has revealed this year’s Strictly Come Dancing’s professional dancers have had to isolate since August in order to take part on the show. 

The outspoken judge, 56, told Kate Thornton that celebrity contestants are ‘not allowed’ to visit anyone outside of their family for the entirety of the show – despite lockdown restrictions being fully eased in England.

The star likened the Covid restrictions to ‘a prison sentence’, saying: ‘It’s a little bit of a prison sentence but at least it’s a fun one!’

Strict precautions: Craig Revel Horwood has revealed how Strictly Come Dancing’s professional dancers have had to isolate since August in order to take part on the show

Craig spoke to Kate Thornton on her podcast White Wine Question Time, about how the BBC have adapted to life after Covid in order to air the glittering dance contest.

Craig told Kate: ‘They’re making it work, even if it’s a major, major sort of lockdown situation, they’re making it work.’

He revealed that TV bosses are ‘keeping a similar format’ this year on the show to that of last year.  

Covid restrictions: The star likened the Covid restrictions to ‘a prison sentence’, saying: ‘It’s a little bit of a prison sentence but at least it’s a fun one’

Life after lockdown: The outspoken judge spoke to Kate Thornton on her podcast White Wine Question Time, about how the BBC have adapted to life after Coronavirus

‘Keeping a similar format of course this year, isolating the dancers for the month of August in a hotel so they’re all learning and rehearsing altogether, learning all the stuff and the material that they’re going to film for the group numbers.

‘They’re gonna do group numbers because they’ve all been isolated, they won’t have seen anyone for months so it’s like a little bit of a prison sentence but at least it’s a fun one!’

He continued: ‘They’re getting to dance together, see each other and have fun and they’re all in the same hotel so they’re isolated at the moment and then in September we pre-record all the group numbers which is unusual.

Revealing all: The Strictly judge also admitted that celebrity contestants are ‘not allowed’ to visit anyone outside of their family for the entirety of the show

 ‘Similar format’: He revealed that TV bosses are ‘keeping a similar format’ this year on the show to that of last year

‘We normally do those live or pre-record part of them and do the second part of them live because of costume changes etcetera so they’ll pre-record all of those so they’ll be ready to go.’

But heightened restrictions on the show don’t just affect the pros, it also affects the contestants, according to Craig.

 ‘Then of course bubbles for the celebrity and the professional dancer and they’ll be able to perform together and then go back to their families but they’re not allowed to visit anybody else throughout that whole strictly period which is gonna be tough.

‘Making it work’: Craig told Kate, ‘They’re making it work, even if it’s a major, major sort of lockdown situation, they’re making it work’

‘But you have to remember they do have a lot of work to do and a lot to learn so a lot of the time this year I think will be spent learning dance routines rather than the usual ‘oh we’re going here to a nightclub to film that VT or we’re having interviews here’ instead of that, it will be very focused on their dancing. 

‘I think it’s gonna bring out better results to be honest.’

His candid interview comes as the show was plunged into a ‘no jab, no jive’ row on Saturday over the refusal of two of its dancers to be vaccinated.

‘No jab, no jive’: His candid interview comes as the show was plunged into a ‘no jab, no jive’ row on Saturday over the refusal of two of its dancers to be vaccinated

Leading figures from the worlds of medicine and entertainment urged the professionals to ‘reconsider their positions’ as the row threatened to overshadow Saturday night’s opening show of the new series.

One unnamed professional dancer is already isolating after a positive Covid-19 test, with reports that their celebrity partner might be paired with another dancer.

There are fears an outbreak could jeopardise the BBC’s flagship show, which is set to welcome back hundreds of people into its studio audience.

‘Reconsider’: Leaders from the worlds of medicine and entertainment urged the professionals to ‘reconsider their positions’ as the row threatened to overshadow the opening night

A source said: ‘The dancers who won’t get vaccinated have been a topic of conversation with cast and crew for weeks – even before the positive test.’

Fifteen celebrities have been paired with professionals, with the line-up featuring the first all-male pairing and first deaf contestant. 

Eighteen professional dancers have been chosen for the latest series, and it is unclear if the two unnamed and unvaccinated individuals are among those vying for the glitterball. 

Anonymous: Eighteen professional dancers have been chosen for the latest series, and it is unclear if the two unnamed and unvaccinated individuals are among those vying for the prize

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