Strictly Come Dancing vaccine row - why rumours are circulating around Strictly dancers' Covid vaccination status

As Strictly Come Dancing returns to its live shows this Saturday, here’s why the show has been in the public eye over the vaccination status of its professional dancers

Friday, 24th September 2021, 2:49 pm
Everything we know so far about reports of unvaccinated contestants on this year's Strictly Come Dancing (Image credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

The return of Strictly Come Dancing to British TV screens on Saturday nights has been welcomed by Strictly fans across the UK.

But the hit dance competition show’s much-anticipated arrival has been marred by rumours swirling around the vaccination status of its professional dancers.

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According to reports, there are a number of unvaccinated dancers on the show who have threatened to quit if asked to get a Covid vaccine by the BBC.

The broadcaster has denied the claims and said it will not comment on the vaccination status of its stars.

Here’s the story around the Strictly Come Dancing vaccine row so far.

Where has the Strictly Come Dancing vaccine row come from?

The speculation around the vaccination status of some of Strictly’s professional dancers came after The Sun reported that three pro dancers had not been vaccinated.

A source told the paper that: “The three dancers have made their positions crystal clear — they’d rather quit than have the jab.

"There is mounting pressure upon them to be vaccinated but they are refusing to budge.”

The names of the Strictly dancers allegedly “refusing” to get the Covid vaccine have not been revealed, but some pro dancers on the show have stepped in to dispel the rumours.

Gorka Márquez told ITV’s This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield that "the show is taking big responsibility to keep everyone safe.”

Speaking on Thursday morning, Márquez said there was “lots of testing” and “lots of trying to keep everyone distanced and safe” behind-the-scenes on Strictly.

He was joined on the show by celebrity dance partner and soap opera star, Katie McGlynn, who echoed his words.

"I think it depends on every individuals," McGlynn said.

"If that was me, I just wouldn't see my family."

Tilly Ramsay, daughter of Scottish-born chef Gordon Ramsay and star on this year’s Strictly, told Lorraine Kelly on her ITV show Lorraine that the BBC Strictly crew were “working hard to keep everyone safe and I think we definitely do feel that."

New Strictly Come Dancing judge Anton Du Beke told Good Morning Britain that he “didn’t know anything about it”.

The former pro dancer replacing Bruno Tonioli on the show’s judging panel said on Good Morning Britain: "In all seriousness, I don't know anything about it, because I'm not part of the pros any more, so I'm not involved in the group.

"I do know this: if it's anything like last year, everybody is tested every week anyway, everybody is bubbling as they are and everyone's keeping distance, and everyone's wearing face masks in the studio.

Mr Du Beke added: "I know all the rules and regulations have loosened around the country, but I know on Strictly Come Dancing, because it's a live show and we don't want any nasty incidents, that they're treating it as though we are sort of still in the grip of the pandemic.

“It's all taken very seriously and everyone's doing exactly what they should, in line with the Government."

What did the BBC say about the Strictly dancer vaccine rumours?

The BBC said it was “not our place” to comment on the vaccination status of Strictly’s dancers or celebrity contestants and denied that any concerns over vaccinations had been raised with the broadcaster – or that any of the show’s professional dancers had threatened to quit.

The corporation issued the following statement on Thursday 23 September: "A lot has been written about vaccinations and Strictly in recent days. The BBC has never commented nor confirmed the vaccination status of anyone on the show. It’s not our place to.

"It is not the case that concerns have been raised with the BBC or the Strictly production team from dancers or celebrities about vaccination, or that they have threatened to quit.

"We have in place strict procedures to protect those on the show and the wider production. Among the many measures in place on Strictly, the dancers are tested regularly to be in close contact with their partners.

"The cast, crew and everyone working on Strictly are focused on this weekend’s first live show and delivering another brilliant series."

Who are Strictly Come Dancing’s professional dancers for 2021?

Here are the 15 professional dancers on Strictly 2021 – and which celebrity they are partnered up with:

- Dianne Buswell – partnered with Robert Webb

- Gorka Marquez – partnered with Katie McGlynn

- Aljaž Škorjanec – partnered with Sara Davies

- Nancy Xu – partnered with Rhys Stephenson

- Nadiya Bychkova – partnered with Dan Walker

- Giovanni Pernice – partnered with Rose Ayling-Ellis

- Katya Jones – partnered with Adam Peaty

- Kai Widdrington – partnered with AJ Odudu

- Karen Hauer – partnered with Greg Wise

- Graziano Di Prima – partnered with Judi Love

- Johannes Radebe – partnered with John Whaite

- Oti Mabuse – partnered with Ugo Monye

- Neil Jones – partnered with Nina Wadia

- Amy Dowden – partnered with Tom Fletcher

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