Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas reveals why Bruno Tonioli might not be part of this year's series

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 20:40:00 on 07/09/2019 - Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2019 - TX: n/a - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing 2019 - Launch Show (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: **EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 20:40 HRS ON SATURDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER 2019** Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas, Bruno Tonioli - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron (Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron)

Bruno will do his best to be here, says Shirley

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has spoken out on rumours that her co-star Bruno Tonioli may not be a part of the 2020 series of the BBC dance contest.

The pro ballroom dancer, who sits alongside Bruno, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood on the judging panel, explained that the travel chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic could mean Bruno is stuck in the USA.

Bruno splits his time between the UK and America in order to judge both Dancing with the Stars and Strictly - but may be stuck across the pond for a while.

"It will be according to the flights," Shirley said. "If he can get backwards and forwards safely, but knowing Bruno and he's such an amazing man, he will do everything in his power not to let the British public down.

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"So let's keep our fingers crossed. It will all go down to guidelines and rules," she told talkRADIO.

This comes after BBC bosses were finally able to confirm that this year's series of Strictly will make it to our screens - but with fewer episodes than usual.

"The Strictly Come Dancing team are doing everything they can to bring the nation plenty of Strictly magic later this year," a statement said.

"To ensure we deliver the high standards audiences know and love, and in light of the ongoing considerations around Covid-19, this year’s series of Strictly will have a slightly shorter run than usual.

"The safety of our cast and crew is of the utmost importance to us and further updates will be made in due course."

It is thought that strict social distancing measures will be in place when Strictly's production gets into full swing, with rumours circulating recently that partners may even have to self-isolate together.

The idea of filming the live shows with no studio audience has also been mentioned by Strictly bosses in order to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 during the iconic series' run.

Caitlin Elliott

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