Strictly Come Dancing will return for 2020 but with a shorter series

25 June 2020, 10:02 | Updated: 26 June 2020, 11:54

Strictly Come Dancing will be back on our TV screens later this year, but it will be a shorter series than usual.

The popular dance show normally begins in September and ends in mid-December, but the launch is going to be slightly delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The BBC says its team of professional dancers - including Oti Mabuse and Gorka Marquez - is ready to start rehearsing remotely at the end of July.

The dancers are likely to be isolated, with group numbers to be filmed in August in advance of the kick-off of the live shows.

The BBC said in a statement: "The Strictly Come Dancing team are doing everything they can to bring the nation plenty of Strictly magic later this year."

They said the "slightly shorter run" was a bid to "deliver the high standards audiences know and love".

It went on: "The safety of our cast and crew is of the utmost importance to us and further updates will be made in due course."

Last year, professional dancers Kevin Clifton and AJ Pritchard both left the show to pursue other things.

They will not be replaced in the line-up, but the pro dancing team will otherwise remain unchanged.

This would suggest there will also be fewer celebrity contestants on this year's show.

It is also likely that older celebrities, who would be considered more vulnerable to COVID-19, will not be selected to compete this year.

Professional male dancers Aljaz Skorjanec, Anton Du Beke, Giovanni Pernice, Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe and Neil Jones will all be back.

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Female professionals include Amy Dowden, Dianne Buswell, Janette Manrara, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nancy Xu and Nadiya Bychkova.

Judges Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli are also expected to return.

The line up of celebrity contestants is yet to be announced.

Other countries that have successfully gone ahead with their version of Strictly following the coronavirus pandemic include Germany's Let's Dance and Australia's Dancing With The Stars.