Boris Johnson today waded into the Strictly Come Dancing jabs controversy after claims three professional dancers had refused Covid vaccines.
Asked about the row, the PM told GB News: ‘Everyone should take their jabs and I’m saying that not in a bullying way but just because I think it’s a great thing to do.’
BBC bosses are reportedly battling to save the show after celebrities were left fearing a backstage outbreak.
A source claimed one star – a household name – told friends: ‘We should have been protected,’ after learning their professional partner hasn’t received the jab.’
BBC bosses are reportedly battling to save Strictly Come Dancing after celebrities were furious to learn three professional dancers have refused the Covid vaccine. There is no suggestion anyone pictured in this article is among the refuseniks
A source told The Sun the celebrity was previously unaware their professional partner hadn’t been jabbed, and was stunned by BBC bosses’ failure to secure their safety despite stringent Covid measures.
They said: ‘They just couldn’t believe that their partner would not have had a jab. They thought they’d be protected so to discover their partner hasn’t even had a single jab is very worrying.
‘The couple have already spent tens of hours practising together. Clearly, there is a lot of anger and a lot of questions to be asked.’
A BBC spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We do not comment on speculation of COVID vaccination status. Strictly Come Dancing production has, and will, continue to follow strict government guidelines to ensure the safety of all on the show.’
Insiders insisted that bosses ‘do not recognise’ claims of celebrity push back.
Drama: Sources claim one furious star has told pals: ‘We should have been protected,’ after learning their professional partner hasn’t received the jab
The Prime Minister’s words came during his visit to the US to meet President Joe Biden, during which he made his plea for stars to be vaccinated.
Following reports that a third professional dancer had refused the vaccine, former Strictly star James Jordan led calls for them to be dropped from the show.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain alongside ex-pro Kristina Rihanoff, James said: ‘I would normally protect the professional dancers until the cows come home but on this particular occasion I can’t unfortunately.
Urging: The news set tongues wagging as PM Boris Johnson was asked about the news in a US TV interview, to which he said: ‘Everyone should take their jabs’
‘I definitely believe they don’t deserve their right on the show and the celebrities have every right to refuse to dance with them.
‘I just think it’s a really, really selfish thing to do. And also, what you have to remember, in previous years on Strictly, your immune system gets low, lots of people get sick anyway. This is way before coronavirus.
‘So if you are sweating and all over someone, it is very close contact on Strictly as we all know, so you are much more at risk of spreading something like that.’
Furious: Following reports that a third professional dancer had refused the vaccine, former Strictly star James Jordan led calls for them to be dropped from the show
‘If it does spread and the whole show comes down or god forbid someone dies because let’s not forget 150,000 people have already died from this horrible virus.
‘If someone on this show get this virus and their immune system is really low and they die, it could have been prevented.’
It comes following reports that it had become well-known among the Strictly cast that a third professional dancer had refuse the Covid vaccination, sparking resentment behind the scenes.
The pro, who was not named, does not have to disclose whether they’ve been vaccinated to BBC bosses, because it is a private medical matter.
Scary: It comes following reports that it had become well-known among the cast that a third professional dancer had refuse the Covid vaccine (Giovanni Pernice and Oti Mabuse pictured)
A source told The Sun: ‘Producers are dreading an outbreak of Covid on the new series, which is a crucial part of the autumn schedule.
‘They are taking every possible precaution to make the set as safe as possible, particularly as the studio audience is returning.’
This year’s Strictly has once again seen stars and their professional dancers required to adhere to strict Covid safety measures, including being tested multiple times a week, and forming bubbles to perform and train safely.
Saturday’s launch show, which was recorded earlier this month, saw this year’s celebrity contestants discover their professional partners, with the 15 couples set to perform in the first live show this weekend.
Scare: The pro does not have to disclose whether they’ve been vaccinated to BBC bosses, because it is a private medical matter (Karen Hauer and Gorka Marquez pictured)
On Saturday it was reported that two of the show’s professional dancers had refused to get Covid jabs, ahead of the launch show being broadcast.
The identity of the dancers was not revealed and BBC bosses were said to be fearful that there could be a larger outbreak among those participating in the show.
A source told The Sun that if a ‘proper outbreak’ led to ‘half the cast’ contracting Covid-19, it would be ‘curtains’ for the show.
They added: ‘Strictly already has to jump through hoops just to be able to broadcast. The dancers who won’t get vaccinated have been a topic of conversation among cast and crew for weeks — even before the positive test.
‘There were vocal protests from celebrities that they didn’t want to be paired with them. It’s a headache for bosses but employers cannot force workers to get jabbed.’
Reacting, ex-Strictly contestant Dr Ranj Singh said: ‘I think, you know vaccination is not mandatory, it’s an offer, and I think we should all be playing our part and doing whatever we can to try and keep everybody safe. Not just ourselves but those around us.
‘There may be legitimate reasons for those people to not be able to have the jab and we’ve got to understand that, but I think we’ve all got a part to play to be as safe as possible.
‘And that’s not just about vaccination, that’s about being careful around hand hygiene, trying to distance, wear a mask in enclosed spaces, and all those other things that we should be doing well.’
Worries: The identity of the dancers was not revealed and BBC bosses were said to be fearful that there could be a larger outbreak among those participating in the show
It came just three days after it emerged that one professional dancer has tested positive for Covid-19. The unidentified dancer was forced to isolate for ten days, but their celebrity partner tested negative.
Strictly judge Motsi Mabuse told Good Morning Britain in response to the news of the positive test that ‘it is still a pandemic, we cannot ignore the fact as much as we want our lives back.’
She added: ‘We will all be there and we will all be healthy and all keep on dancing – that’s what I can say.’
Speaking of the two dancers’ refusal to get vaccinated, the source added to The Sun: ‘There were vocal protests from celebrities that they didn’t want to be paired with them.’
As part of the measures in place to lessen the risk posed by the virus, dancers are tested multiple times a week.
Judge Motsi said on Friday: ‘There are still issues here and the BBC is doing the upmost to keep everybody safe.
‘We are being tested and we are trying to isolate as much as we can, but things can happen and we should be able to go through that, and everyone should be responsible and take care of themselves.
‘But we can’t plan these things so we just have to react, and hope that everybody stays healthy.’
Show bosses are reportedly still enforcing Covid-19 bubbles for its professional dancers, despite lockdown restrictions easing.
Wanting to minimise all potential risks, Strictly bosses have requested the show’s dancers all stay at a London hotel in ‘bubbles’, according to The Sun.
Such bubbles were put into practice for last year’s Strictly series amid lockdown, while the show’s professionals have been busy pre-recording group dances ahead of this year’s launch.
As well as forming bubbles ahead of the series, the professional dancers filmed most of their group routines in advance and only a limited number of guests will be allowed in the studio audience.
Fans, along with friends and family of the celebrity contestants, will be allowed back into Elstree studios to watch the live shows, but only in small numbers.
Last year, Strictly bosses brought bubbles and close contact cohorts into play in order to ensure the safety of the contestants, dancers and crew during filming.
Each dancing couple formed an exclusive support bubble – meaning one half of the bubble was a single adult household living alone and the other could remain with their household, allowing them to have close contact with one another.
Concerns: It came just three days after it emerged that one professional dancer has tested positive for Covid-19 (Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman are pictured)
Close contact cohorts were also introduced and work similarly to support bubbles, but included regular and routine testing for coronavirus. Each couple was put into a close contact cohort and could not form a cohort with anyone else during the competition.
Despite the measures in place, Covid still wreaked havoc with the series, as same-sex couple Katya Jones and Nicola Adams were forced to leave the competition, after Katya tested positive for the virus.
The series was won by Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse, with EastEnders star Maisie Smith, singer HRVY and Jamie Laing all finishing as runners-up.
Producers have also reportedly put a kissing ban on contestants in a bid to stop Covid causing havoc again for the new series.
Producers are said to have told this year’s stars ‘one snog and you’re out’ after last series celebs Maisie Smith and HRVY allegedly broke social distancing rules because of a brief romance.
An insider told The Sun: ‘Although the pandemic has eased since last year’s series, the BBC aren’t taking any chances.
‘This kissing ban is likely to be part of a package of measures introduced by producers to make the show as safe as possible.
STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021: WHO ARE THE COUPLES?
TOM FLETCHER & AMY DOWDEN
Celebrity’s Age: 36
Profession: McFly musician
Tom says: ‘I’m so pleased the news is out it’s been so hard keeping it secret. Equal parts excited and terrified.’
Fun fact: Tom’s McFly bandmate Harry Judd won Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. Tom’s wife Giovanna Fletcher is the reigning champion of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
ROBERT WEBB & DIANNE BUSWELL
Celebrity’s Age: 48
Profession: Actor and comedian
Robert says: ‘It’s very exciting but with a slight undertone of quivering terror.’
Fun Fact: Robert squeezed into a shiny leotard to take the title of Let’s Dance For Comic Relief in 2009, performing What A Feeling from ’80s film Flashdance, beating the likes of Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness to the title.
RHYS STEPHENSON & NANCY XU
Celebrity’s Age: 27
Profession: CBBC presenter
Rhys says: ‘I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation’
Fun fact: Rhys has been an actor since the age of ten, performing alongside Matt Smith and Hugh Bonneville.
KATIE MCGLYNN & GORKA MARQUEZ
Celebrity’s Age: 28
Katie says: ‘I’m really not a dancer, but I’m so excited to learn a new skill on this crazy journey and cannot wait to slip into some sequins along the way.’
Fun fact: Katie, who played Sinead Tinker in Corrie, won a NTA for Best Serial Drama Performance in 2020.
TILLY RAMSAY & NIKITA KUZMIN
Celebrity’s Age: 19
Profession: CBBC presenter
Tilly says: ’I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on!’
Fun fact: Tilly’s father is celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the pair often star in dancing TikTok videos.
NINA WADIA & NEIL JONES
Celebrity’s Age: 52
Nina says: ‘I think I should do this before I’m too old and can’t walk anymore. I just want to grab life by the horns and just enjoy it.’
Fun fact: Nina is a JDRF Ambassador and was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List.
ADAM PEATY & KATYA JONES
Celebrity’s Age: 26
Adam says: ‘I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool.’
Fun fact: Adam becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.
UGO MONYE & OTI MABUSE
Celebrity’s Age: 38
Profession: Rugby player and sports pundit
Ugo says: ‘What a dream come true! Strictly is the biggest entertainment show on TV and I can’t wait to show everyone I’ve got more than just dad dancing moves.
Fun fact: Beginning his rugby career at Harlequins in 2002, Ugo went on to make 241 appearances for the club where he scored 89 tries, won a Premiership and made his England debut in 2008.
AJ ODUDU & KAI WIDDRINGTON
Celebrity’s Age: 33
Profession: TV presenter
AJ says: ‘I think it’s going to be really challenging. I can’t wait for the sequins, the wigs, the glitz and the glamour.’
Fun Fact: Apocalypse Wow hosts AJ has featured on a whopping 14 TV shows this year, competing in the likes oF Cooking With The Stars and Celebrity Karaoke Club. She has appeared as a panelist on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two in the past, too.
JOHN WHAITE & JOHANNES RADEBE
Celebrity’s Age: 33
Profession: Great British Bake Off Winner and TV chef
John says: ‘I’m so grateful, excited, and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family… I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth’
Fun Fact: The duo are the first ever all-male partnering – the first in 17 years of the show.
SARA DAVIES & ALJAZ SKORJANEC
Celebrity’s Age: 37
Sara says: ‘I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance… Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.’
Fun fact: Sara was the youngest ever dragon on BBC show Dragons’ Den.
DAN WALKER & NADIYA BYCHKOVA
Celebrity’s Age: 44
Dan says: ‘I’m enjoying the experience when it starts of learning to dance. I’ll be honest I’m not making room on any shelves in my house for the glitterball.’
Fun fact: Dan recently quit Football Focus after 12 years at the helm and has been covering Tokyo Olympics.
GREG WISE & KAREN HAUER
Celebrity’s Age: 55
Greg says: ‘It’s about being out there and exposing yourself as someone who can’t dance, and learning.’
Fun fact: Greg is married to the actress Emma Thompson who he met while filming Sense and Sensibility.
ROSE AYLING-ELLIS & GIOVANNI PERNICE
Celebrity’s Age: 30
Rose says: ‘I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill.’
Fun fact: Rose will make history as Strictly’s first deaf contestant.
JUDI LOVE & GRAZIANO DI PRIMA
Celebrity’s Age: 41
Judi says: ‘I’m truly looking forward to pushing myself in something that I could have only dreamed of doing and now it’s actually coming true!’
Fun fact: Judi began comedy when she performed a set in front of her class for a degree module.