Strictly Come Dancing will return for its 18th season with a launch show on Saturday, October 17, judge Shirley Ballas has confirmed.
The hit series' first live show of 2020 will take place a week later, Saturday, October 24, the star said, speaking this evening (1 October) on The One Show.
"Our launch show is the 17th, and I believe our first live show is the 24th of October! We're all ready to go, everything's in place, we've got a great cast," Ballas told the BBC's Alex Jones and Chris Ramsey.
"It's very, very exciting and we'll be going into these cold winter months with baubles, bangles and beads and lots of joy," she added.
Earlier this week, it was announced that several Strictly professionals won't be given celebrity partners this year, in an effort to keep the show as COVID-19 safe as possible.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk and other media outlets, executive producer Sarah Jones explained that four of the show's pros – Nadiya Bychkova, Neil Jones, Graziano Di Prima and Nancy Xu – will be forming so-called 'close contact cohorts' (CCCs), and dancing with guest music acts instead.
As for the celebrity competitors themselves, each will be asked to take special social distancing measures, Sarah said.
"We are asking our celebrities and dancers to be part of an exclusive support bubble, which is a kind of wider term also available to everybody in the public, but that means that one half of the party has to live alone."
"So either the dancer or the celebrity will be living on their own in order to form the exclusive support bubble."
Elsewhere in the Strictly-sphere, veteran judge Craig Revel Horwood recently suggested that the show's infamous 'curse' will be "more intense" than usual this year – "because they're in a lockdown situation with each other".
Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One for an all-new series on Saturday, October 17.
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