Strictly bosses 'WON'T increase testing'

EXCLUSIVE: ‘They believe measures in place are as good as they can be:’ Strictly bosses ‘say they aren’t bulletproof and WON’T increase testing’ despite Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden’s COVID fiasco

  • MailOnline understands Strictly bosses believe Tom and Amy came into contact with COVID outside of the show’s tightly enforced bubble
  • Amy, who had already received her COVID vaccination jab, has accompanied Tom during his band McFly’s UK tour 
  • But bosses remain ‘satisfied with the current measures in place’ despite having been left ‘dismayed by the unexpected Tom and Amy development’
  • Producers are also privately “disappointed” some stars will be appearing in pantomime over the coming months, further exposing them to the virus
  • Latest Strictly Come Dancing 2021 news on Series 30 judges, dancers and contestants here

Strictly Come Dancing bosses say they ‘aren’t bulletproof’ to COVID-19 in the wake of contestant Tom Fletcher and his professional dance partner Amy Dowden’s positive tests.  

It’s understood that show producers were quietly ‘dismayed’ after hearing of their shock diagnosis on Sunday, with the pair now ruled out of Saturday’s show while they recover from the contagious respiratory bug. 

Any, who received her COVID-19 vaccination prior to contracting the illness, had previously accompanied Tom and his McFly bandmates during their current UK tour. 

But the BBC tell MailOnline there are no plans to increase testing because they are ‘satisfied’ the measures they currently have in place are as good as they can be. 

Pandemic: Strictly Come Dancing bosses have said they ‘aren’t bulletproof’ to Covid in the wake of Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden’s positive test, according to a TV source 

‘Tom and Amy’s positive test was the worst possible news,’ an insider told MailOnline. 

‘After days of negative headlines about dancers not getting the jab, producers had hoped the start of the show would see them turn a corner and put this story to bed. 

‘So for Amy and Tom to go down with COVID was absolutely crushing news and left everyone dismayed.

‘But BBC bosses are refusing to panic. They believe the measures in place are as good as they can be. They’ve always been clear that nothing is going to be bulletproof and producers can only follow Government guidelines. 

‘They are now just hoping nobody else comes down with the virus because that would really put the show in danger of being cancelled.’

Spanner in the works: MailOnline understands producers were ‘dismayed’ at the news of the pair’s diagnosis yesterday which rules them out of Saturday’s show 

Strictly Come Dancing has been approached by MailOnline for a comment. 

MailOnline also understands Strictly bosses believe Tom and Amy came into contact with COVID outside of the show’s tightly enforced bubble.

‘Amy has been on tour with McFly and Tom’s schedule in the past month has been manic,’ our source added.

‘He’s been going here, there and everywhere so could have come into contact with COVID in various places. 

‘Amy has also been jabbed and is currently showing no symptoms. So producers are hoping this won’t be too serious and that they could both be back without any major issues. 

‘Asking Tom and Amy to leave wasn’t on the cards. Producers don’t believe there is any need for that. Last year, when Nicola and Kayta contracted the virus, rates of infection were much higher and vaccinations weren’t in place. So the context is totally different. 

‘There’s also a feeling among some on the show that producers feared that if they did ask them to leave then pressure could mount on the unvaccinated dancers to step aside too. Producers are just hoping and praying this is an isolated incident and the show can carry on as normal.’

One barrier to that happening, however, could be the fact many of those taking part are soon set to start mixing Strictly with Panto.

Plans: But the BBC are unlikely to increase their once a week testing because they are ‘satisfied’ the measures they currently have in place are as good as they can be (pictured is Amy’s post after the news) 

Judges Shirley, Anton and dancer Katya are all in panto this December and will start rehearsals soon.

‘They will be going from rehearsals to the studio and back again,’ our source added. ‘It creates more risk, but show bosses have already agreed to stars taking part in panto and they simply can’t change their mind now.

‘Everyone on the show is being reminded to be as careful as they can be, to undergo regular testing and to try to minimise taking any unnecessary risks.’ 

The new series of Strictly Come Dancing has been embroiled in controversy over reports that three of the professional dancers are unvaccinated, although there is no suggestion that either Fletcher or Dowden were among this number.

Hint: Tom promptly replied to Amy’s post with a firm indication that they will be back for week three

Dowden previously spoke of her excitement at getting the jab in an Instagram post in February.

The BBC announced on Sunday afternoon that Fletcher and Dowden had contracted the virus and will be self-isolating.

They said in a statement: ‘Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden have tested positive for Covid-19. The pair are now self-isolating separately following the latest Government guidelines. 

‘While they will both miss Saturday’s live show, Strictly Come Dancing protocols mean that, all being well, they will return the following week.

Too sick: Tom was forced to pull out of a McFly show in Glasgow because he was feeling too unwell with the illness

‘Strictly has and will continue to follow government guidelines in order to keep everyone safe.’

Dowden wrote on Instagram: ‘Unfortunately Tom and I have tested positive for Covid-19.

‘I’m not suffering any symptoms but am now isolating at home. 

‘I have no doubt that over the next 10 days my mind will be going crazy with choreography ideas ready to get back on the Strictly dancefloor for the live show in week 3!

Support: Many celebrities were quick to comment on Amy’s post, with fellow professional dancer Oti Mabuse writing: ‘We love you can’t wait to see you soon’

‘Thank you for all of the support and good luck to all of the couples this week. I will be cheering you all on!’

Fletcher re-posted the message on his own Instagram story.

The pair will not be able to rehearse together for 10 days, and Fletcher will miss McFly’s next tour performance on Sunday night. 

The singer said he is ‘so, so sorry’ to miss the gig and his band will perform without him at The SSE Hydro arena in Glasgow.

McFly said on Twitter: ‘Unfortunately Tom is unwell and won’t be onstage with us tonight in Glasgow.

‘He sends huge and heartfelt apologies to all the fans he won’t see tonight.

‘The show will still be going ahead, we’re looking forward to seeing you all and need you guys to sing extra loud for us tonight.’

The BBC has previously said it is ‘not the case’ that dancers or celebrity contestants have threatened to quit Strictly Come Dancing over the vaccination row, or raised concerns with the BBC or the show’s production team.

A show spokesperson said they could not comment on whether the BBC or the production team knows the vaccination status of the professional dancers.

Oh no: The pair will not be able to rehearse together for 10 days, and Fletcher will miss McFly’s next tour performance on Sunday night 

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