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Strictly Come Dancing execs ‘worried stars will pull out to take up big money panto offers’

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As the BBC lines up celebrities to take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2020, execs are allegedly concerned some will drop out at the last minute.

The COVID-19 pandemic has distrupted many celebs’ ability to earn money, and a source speaking to The Sun seems to think the length of a Strictly contract will be off-putting to some. 

The source added that pantomime appearances are likely to seem more attractive, as they take up weeks rather than months.

Chasing the cash: Strictly Come Dancing execs are 'worried stars will pull out of 2020 series to take up big money panto offers' [pictured: Craig Revel Horwood in Cinderella in Woking, 2018]

Chasing the cash: Strictly Come Dancing execs are ‘worried stars will pull out of 2020 series to take up big money panto offers’ [pictured: Craig Revel Horwood in Cinderella in Woking, 2018]

The source said: ‘Lockdown has hit many celebrities very, very hard in the pocket. Like everyone else many of them haven’t been working at all. So, as lockdown lifts and work offers come in, they need to balance the opportunities with how much of their time it will take up.

‘On Strictly it’s months of rehearsals, shows and then a tour the following year. The fear among Strictly bosses is that it’s really putting some of the people off they are approaching.

‘Many are also holding out for the chance to do panto if the theatres are reopened.’

However, this theory is somewhat off-balance, given that Strictly has been confirmed for 2020 but theatres across the UK still remain closed amid the pandemic.

Balancing act: Some stars have managed to juggle appearances in both pantomimes and Strictly [pictured are pro dancers Katya Jones and Neil Jones]

Balancing act: Some stars have managed to juggle appearances in both pantomimes and Strictly [pictured are pro dancers Katya Jones and Neil Jones]

Best of both: Judge Shirley Ballas has been a panto fixture in recent years [pictured in Jack And The Beanstalk in Liverpool, 2018[

Best of both: Judge Shirley Ballas has been a panto fixture in recent years [pictured in Jack And The Beanstalk in Liverpool, 2018[

Neither pantomimes nor a potential Strictly stage tour are certain at this point, after Boris Johnson froze the reopening of theatres on August 1.

In addition, the theatre industry offers no-where near the high fees TV and film pay out.

As well as this, some stars have managed to juggle appearances in both pantomimes and Strictly.

Judges Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood have been panto fixtures in recent years, as have some of the pro dancers, such as AJ Pritchard, Katya Jones and Joanne Clifton who, last year, were in Peter Pan, The Wizard Of Oz and Cinderella respectively. 

Diminished earnings: The COVID-19 pandemic has distrupted many celebs' ability to earn money, and a source speaking to The Sun seems to think the length of a Strictly contract will be off-putting to some [pictured are the judges of the show]

Diminished earnings: The COVID-19 pandemic has distrupted many celebs’ ability to earn money, and a source speaking to The Sun seems to think the length of a Strictly contract will be off-putting to some [pictured are the judges of the show]

Learning to fly: AJ Pritchard made his acting debut at Christmastime two years ago, despite still being a Strictly pro full-time

Learning to fly: AJ Pritchard made his acting debut at Christmastime two years ago, despite still being a Strictly pro full-time

MailOnline has approached Strictly reps for comment on this theory.

Further rumours concerning the BBC’s stalwart weekend show suggest the powers that be will ditch live music performances this year due to coronavirus safety precautions.

Many superstars including Taylor Swift, Andrea Bocelli and Kylie Minogue have graced the famous ballroom to accompany the dancers.

But this year’s group dances are being pre-recorded, meaning the live performances could be a thing of the past.

No more: Strictly Come Dancing could ditch its live music performances this year due to coronavirus safety precautions

No more: Strictly Come Dancing could ditch its live music performances this year due to coronavirus safety precautions

Favourite moments: Many superstars including Taylor Swift, Andrea Bocelli and Kylie Minogue have graced the famous ballroom to accompany the dancers

Favourite moments: Many superstars including Taylor Swift, Andrea Bocelli and Kylie Minogue have graced the famous ballroom to accompany the dancers

An insider told The Sun: ‘Although live music from acts is still being considered, it’s unlikely to include any big international stars and could be filmed away from the studio because of safety concerns.

‘In early meetings about the show when the lockdown was nationwide, the idea of having live musicians performing was totally thrown out.

‘But now restrictions have lifted slightly, the Strictly team are trying to be inventive about how they could make it happen.’

Shame: This year's group dances are being pre-recorded, meaning the live performances could be a thing of the past

Shame: This year’s group dances are being pre-recorded, meaning the live performances could be a thing of the past

The source added that Dave Arch and his band will be returning but in a slightly different capacity to ensure everyone’s safety on set.

Rehearsals are starting next month for the band and producers hope they will be able to play live in the studio.

Earlier this month, it was reported that this year’s Strictly will only run for nine weeks, with the start date pushed back to October to allow bosses to pre-record elements during the current social distancing climate.  

New normal: Rehearsals are starting next month for the band and producers hope they will be able to play live in the studio 

Due to the reduced series run, it was claimed bosses will have fewer celebrities in the line-up, with the show’s Halloween and Blackpool specials coming up at two and four weeks into the schedule.

A source told The Sun: ‘BBC bosses are doing everything in their power to give the public as much Strictly as they possibly can and safely.

‘A heavily reduced schedule gives them a lot longer to pre-record certain segments to minimise risk. It does mean it will be starting much later in the year, and will finish very close to Christmas with the final currently scheduled for December 19.’ 

Strictly bosses also previously revealed that stars will be in ‘couple bubbles’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Delayed: Due to the reduced series run, it was claimed bosses will have fewer celebrities in the line-up, which is expected to be announced in late summer

Delayed: Due to the reduced series run, it was claimed bosses will have fewer celebrities in the line-up, which is expected to be announced in late summer

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