‘It’s a nightmare for the show’: Strictly pros Johannes Radebe and Neil Jones give BBC bosses another headache after ‘boozy’ night out… following Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden both test positive for COVID
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Strictly Come Dancing stars appeared to have given show bosses another potential headache as they enjoyed a ‘boozy’ night out together, reports The Sun.
The publication reports that dancers including Johannes Radebe, Neil Jones and newcomer Kai Widdrington indulged in a drinking session at the TV studios in West London, seemingly ignoring the show’s calls to keep their distance amid the recent covid-related dramas.
Their alleged close encounters come amid news that Strictly bosses are considering ditching the studio audience and re-introducing quarantine bubbles following late-night crisis meeting in the wake of Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden recent positive Covid diagnosis.
Uh oh: Strictly Come Dancing stars appeared to have given show bosses another potential headache as they enjoyed a ‘boozy’ night out together, reports The Sun (pictured Johannes Radebe and John Whaite)
Professional dancers Johannes, Neil and Kit were reportedly joined by celebrities AJ Ododu and John Whaite during the gathering, in which they were said to have drank and smoked together, while also greeting passing fans outside.
A source told The Sun ‘The rules are more relaxed this year but it hasn’t taken long for things to spiral out of control. This time around producers had just asked people to be sensible and do their best to reduce the risk of contracting Covid.
‘But clearly this lot weren’t too bothered and just wanted a good time. They were happily laughing, joking, cuddling up and meeting other people.’
Night out: Dancers including Johannes Radebe, Neil Jones (pictured) and Kai Widdrington indulged in a drinking session at the TV studios in West London, seemingly ignoring the show’s calls to keep their distance amid the recent covid-related dramas
The insider added: ‘It looked like a great night out but if more people start testing positive it’s going to be a nightmare for the show.’
Despite social distancing no longer being a legal requirement, Strictly have enforced their own measurements for cast and crew amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
MailOnline have contacted Strictly representatives for comment.
It comes amid reports Strictly bosses are reportedly considering ‘scrapping the show’s live audience and re-introducing quarantine bubbles for celebrities and their professional dancers’.
A crisis meeting is said to have been held after Tom Fletcher, 36, and his partner Amy Dowden, 31, tested positive for Covid despite having been double-jabbed.
A source has revealed ‘there is nothing they aren’t willing to consider’ in order to keep the show rolling full steam ahead.
Decisions: It comes as Strictly Come Dancing bosses are reportedly considering ‘scrapping the show’s live audience and re-introducing quarantine bubbles’
They told The Sun: ‘These would be radical steps to take to increase safety on the set, but given the difficulties producers have had over the past two weeks, there’s nothing they aren’t willing to consider.
‘But if they did have to go down this route, it would be a logistical nightmare and might leave some of the stars with a dilemma as many of them are juggling their dance training with their day jobs.’
Strictly’s live shows currently take place before a small audience with cast and crew adhering to social distancing measures.
MailOnline has reached out to BBC representatives for comment.
It follows the news that Strictly bosses admitted they ‘aren’t bulletproof’ to COVID-19 in the wake of Tom and Amy’s positive tests.
Crisis: A crisis meeting is said to have been held after Tom Fletcher, 36, and his partner Amy Dowden, 31, tested positive for Covid, despite having been double-jabbed
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.
Amy, 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 and Amy’s positive tests, 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
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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