TRICKY routines are not new on Strictly Come Dancing – but Saturday’s launch show for the new series poses a very different challenge.
Last year’s champs, pro dancer Oti Mabuse and ex-Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher, will be back to show their moves.
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But they must somehow perform a socially distanced routine, so Oti does not catch the virus and pass it to her celebrity partner for the latest competition.
Like all couples on the new series, they have been isolating in their own bubble and the producers have been super-strict to ensure the Beeb’s biggest entertainment show goes ahead.
A show source said: “Kelvin and Oti can’t get anywhere near as close as they are used to because of the danger of infection, which would throw a huge spanner in the works.
"But viewers will be intrigued to see how it will work.
“The show’s creative team have all sorts of tricks up their sleeve.
“These include potentially using a perspex screen between the dancers, as on some of Strictly’s counterparts in other countries.”
Producers have gone to great lengths to keep the celebrities — including EastEnders actress Maisie Smith, former boyband singer Max George, actor Caroline Quentin and Made In Chelsea star Jamie Laing — and their pro dancers safe.
The show will also see judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse at socially distanced desks, with a much smaller audience sitting around tables.
There are fewer contestants this year and the series is shorter than usual, starting a month later and running for nine weeks rather than 13.
It suffered a setback when one of its stars, singer and social-media influencer HRVY, was diagnosed with Covid earlier this month.
But he has since been ruled free of the virus and is clear to join the launch show.
It is becoming obvious every-one will have to work harder than ever to pull off this series — but I feel confident they can do it.
POOR Spencer Matthews wasnicknamed “S**thead” because a bird pooed on him at school as he tried to chat-up model Petra Ecclestone. The star revealed all on podcast Spencer & Vogue with wife Vogue Williams.
- Listen to “Spencer & Vogue” now on Global Player or wherever you get your podcasts
Jake dares to dip
JAKE Quickenden even manages to look like a total poser as he emerges from the freezing North Atlantic.
Jake, who seems to have done every reality show going, climbed out of Portree Harbour on the Isle of Skye, close to where the new series of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins is being filmed.
He is taking part in the gruelling training course on the nearby island of Raasay along with ex-footballer Kieron Dyer, who is in the chilly water behind Jake.
Meanwhile, Olympic rower James Cracknell may also have gone for a dip . . . but at least he was smart enough to put on some boots, a beanie hat and grab a towel the minute he got on dry land.
Last week I revealed the full line-up being put through the military training by the show’s chief instructor Ant Middleton.
They also include presenters Saira Khan and Ore Oduba, Ulrika Jonsson and Vicky Pattison.
And, of course, the only man who can look just as good as Jake in shorts: Love Island’s Wes Nelson.
Danny in sex plot
DANNY Dyer will play his part in helping to tackle the issue of child sex abuse during a new storyline for his EastEnders character Mick Carter.
The soap sees the former pub landlord come to terms with his past after newcomer Frankie reveals he is her dad.
She was the result of 12-year-old Mick having sex with Katy Lewis, the woman who should have been looking after him while he was in care.
Mick finds himself unable to tell his family about what happened to him and suffers from denial.
To make the difficult storyline as accurate as possible, Danny was able to speak to sufferers of child sex abuse with the help of the NSPCC and Survivors UK.
A spokesman for the NSPCC said: “We hope this storyline will help to give those who find themselves in a similar position to Mick, and any other victims of abuse, the courage to speak up.”
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