'Strictly Come Dancing' fans thrilled by return of live shows - with a few differences

Katie Archer
·Contributor
·3 min read
Picture Shows:  Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Picture Shows: Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

Strictly Come Dancing has begun a series like no other, with fans delighted to see it back on screens despite some big changes.

The BBC One show has started around a month later than usual this year, with a smaller number of celebrities taking part, after filming was postponed and affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

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In the first live show of the 2020 series, viewers saw things open with a pre-recorded group pro dance before hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly abandoned their usual hugs on the dancefloor to stand at opposite ends of the stage from each other.

Judges Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood have forgone their usual introductory dance to sit straight down at their individual desks, while Bruno Tonioli will only be dialling in for the Sunday results show for the moment.

Even with the changes to the TV favourite, viewers were excited to see it back for a new series.

People were big fans of the see-through masks many of the audience had been given to wear, which allowed us to see their reactions.

Strictly has made some great efforts to keep the sparkle this year (as Winkleman kept reminding us by pointing us towards their rundown of precautions taken at bbc.co.uk/strictly) but it was inevitable that the social distancing was always going to lead to some loss of atmosphere.

They’ve sadly had to drop the usual chaos on the mezzanine after every dance as Winkleman talks them through their performance and the other dancers cheer them on, instead replacing it with a slow motion replay of parts of their routine.

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Although the usual packed in audience of superfans was sorely missed too, the ballroom welcomed tables of NHS frontline workers in thanks for their roles during the pandemic.

It was an emotional series for the contestants, too - Jamie Laing finally made it out to dance a year after his foot injury, Caroline Quentin was in tears over how much she loved being a part of it, and Nicola Adams took part with Katya Jones as the show’s first ever same-sex couple.

It might not be Strictly as we know it, but it’s certainly welcome back on our screens in a year when so much favourite TV has been cancelled.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 7.15pm on BBC One.