Strictly: ‘Difficult’ to film show without live audience says Horwood

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Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood says the second lockdown will affect the show

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has said it will be “quite difficult” to film the show without a live studio audience.

The BBC One contest will go ahead with its movie week episode on Saturday as planned.

But it will now do so without a socially-distanced crowd, due to England’s second nationwide lockdown.

Dance partners have formed bubbles so they can rehearse and perform safely, in line with official Covid guidelines.

“They’re treated as one family if you like, they come together in that way,” Revel Horwood told ITV’s The Jonathan Ross Show.

“The couples want to high five each other, they can’t, they have to remain completely separate.

“Of course, with the new lockdown there is no audience, so it’s quite difficult actually. It’s just a new way of entertainment and looking at things.”

‘A little bit gutted’

The series began with an audience of NHS staff, before returning to the usual mix of contestants’ friends, family, celebrities and members of the public.

Celebrity contestant Clara Amfo confessed on Thursday she is disappointed they will now perform to an empty studio.

“I won’t lie, we were all a little bit gutted,” she told Morning Live.

“Having your friends and family to cheer you on really adds to the experience, but I think the main thing is that the show itself is still on.

“That’s what we’re all extremely happy about – the show brings so much joy to so many people, particularly this year, I think we’ve needed it more than ever – I know that’s the reason why I said yes, please let me just dance it out. The escapism.”

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Clara Amfo and dance partner Aljaz Skorjanec during the Strictly series 18 launch show

Radio 1 DJ Amfo added that fellow presenter Nick Grimshaw had planned to be cheering her on in person this weekend.

“I’m obviously gutted. Nick Grimshaw, who I love and is one of my bestest pals, he was supposed to come this weekend with his boyfriend – and I knew they were really excited,” she continued.

“But they’ll be watching and cheering from home like everybody else. The show is still on so I think that’s what we’re all super happy about.”

‘You don’t miss it’

Another judge, Shirley Ballas, however, told ITV’s Loose Women that she doesn’t mind too much about the lack of an audience.

The former ballroom dancer suggested that the new normal tradition for all the other contestants and dancers to watch on and cheer from the edge of the dancefloor should suffice.

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Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse are positioned further apart than normal for this series

“To be honest, in the studio, you don’t miss it [the audience],” offered Ballas, who replaced Len Goodman as head judge on the show in 2017.

“Because those professional dancers, particularly Janette Manrara, she’s an audience for a thousand people, and I just think they bring so much joy, our professionals and our celebrities, and they’ve added to everything,

“So I’m not really missing the audience, I get it, I understand it.”

‘You are a long way away’

Revel Horwood went on to say that it’s “fantastic” that the show has gone ahead at all, and joked with another judge, Motsi Mabuse, that the social distance between them on the latest series has allowed him to maintain his “authority”.

“I mean I have no clue what is actually coming out of your mouth – I never have – but you are a long way away,” he quipped.

“I quite like it actually, the seas part as I walk down the stairs, and it’s nothing to do with my breath,” he added.

Last but not least, while contestants are allowed to train together they are not strictly allowed to visit one another’s houses after hours, which the judge said could make it trickier for the “Strictly curse” to fall on them.

“That’s going to be very difficult this year isn’t it?” said Revel Horwood. “They’re still not allowed to go to each other’s houses. You’re not sharing a house.”

“There was never a curse in the first place, let’s be honest,” he shrugged. “There was a blessing.”

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