Janette Manrara and Anton Du Beke are taking on new roles for the 2021 series (Picture: BBC)
It may be several months away, but Strictly Come Dancing fans can’t wait for the 2021 series to commence on the BBC.
Last year’s competition saw comedian Bill Bailey and professional dancer Oti Mabuse lift the Glitterball Trophy, having wowed viewers with their incredible routines throughout the show.
There have already been several announcements about the upcoming series, including Anton Du Beke’s new appointment as a judge and Janette Manrara’s exciting new role.
There are also several rumours currently swirling around about the BBC programme, all of which will hopefully be addressed in the coming months.
From Anton’s new appointment to the potential of two same-sex couples competing, here are the biggest shake-ups for Strictly Come Dancing 2021.
Anton Du Beke joins as judge
Anton admitted he’s ‘bereft’ not to be dancing on the show (Picture: PA/Guy Levy/BBC)
During last year’s series, Anton stepped in as a guest judge on Strictly when Motsi Mabuse was temporarily absent from the show following an urgent trip to Germany.
The Strictly veteran was a natural in the role, so much so that he will be returning to judge again this year, as Bruno Tonioli is unable to take part.
Anton, will be joining Motsi, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas on the panel, said he was ‘thrilled to be stepping into Bruno’s brogues’ on the show.
‘It’s a dream come true to be judging alongside the best of the best and I promise to be kinder to all the couples than any of them have ever been to me,’ he said.
Nonetheless, the professional dancer added that he was ‘bereft’ not to compete on the dancefloor.
‘I feel a bit bereft thinking about it, and I’ll probably get a bit emotional. But I won’t miss getting voted off,’ he said.
‘It is the worst feeling in the world whilst watching everyone else have a great time. But at least I’m guaranteed to make the final.’
Janette Manrara takes on new role
Janette said that her new role is an ‘amazing honour’ (Picture: BBC/Ray Burmiston)
Janette has been a fan-favourite pro on Strictly ever since she made her debut in 2013.
However, despite the joy that she brings to the dancefloor, it was recently announced that she will be replacing Zoe Ball on the spin-off show It Takes Two, which she will present alongside Rylan Clark-Neal.
Janette, who made it to the final with HRVY in 2020, admitted that not being able to dance on Strictly was the ‘hardest part of accepting this amazing honour’.
‘It’s the realisation that I will not be on that legendary Strictly dancefloor any more. But I feel that this is [the] most beautiful and natural progression,’ she said.
‘I am still a part of the Strictly family, I am still going to be seeing my fellow pros all the time and I will keep dancing, as they say. I will find a way to keep dancing.’
Strictly’s ‘supposed age ban is to be lifted’
It’s been claimed that a supposed ‘age ban’ is being lifted for Strictly 2021 stars (Picture: BBC)
In 2020, it was alleged that Strictly enacted an ‘age ban’ in order to protect older age groups in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
It has since been reported that this supposed age ban is to be lifted for the new series, with a source telling The Sun: ‘Bosses now have everything in place if necessary, but they’re hoping a lot of the rules will have been relaxed and will be encouraging everyone to get the jab.’
The source said that ‘the seniors are being welcomed back with open arms’, remarking that viewers will be happy about the news as they enjoy ‘watching showbiz veterans have a go’.
Metro.co.uk reached out to Strictly for comment at the time of the report.
Two same-sex couples to compete?
Strictly fans loved Nicola and Katya’s partnership (Picture: BBC)
In 2020, Nicola Adams and Katya Jones made history as the first same-sex pairing ever to compete in the competition.
The pair unfortunately had to exit early after Katya tested positive for coronavirus, returning for the final to perform a sizzling Tango to Feeling Good.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Strictly was keen for two same-sex couples to compete in the 2021 series.
‘Bosses are still looking at all the options but given the positive feedback from last year, they’re seriously considering having two same-sex couples, one male and one female,’ an insider told The Sun.
‘The show has to move forward and viewers loved last year’s series,’ they added.
It has also been rumoured that the BBC is keen to sign up RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Baga Chipz or Drag Race UK winner The Vivienne for the show ‘to shake up perceptions’.
BBC declined to comment at the time when approached by Metro.co.uk.
Could a live audience return to the studio?
Oti Mabuse and Bill Bailey lifted the Glitterball Trophy in 2020 (Picture: BBC)
During last year’s competition, the professional dancers and their celebrity partners performed in the BBC studio without the usual live audience, in keeping with Covid-safe measures.
However, it’s been reported that the live studio audience could return this year, for a show that could also be extended to its typical 13-week run, after only taking place for nine weeks in 2020.
‘The rough plans for the series are starting to come together, and that includes getting the show’s most important ingredient back in — the audience,’ a source told The Sun.
‘Producers hope that by the last week of September, when the first live show is pencilled in, Covid restrictions will have been lifted and they’ll be able to get as many fans into Elstree as possible.’
They added: ‘There might be some social distancing, but it will give the show a lift, having had just cast and crew present in 2020.’
Of course, this likely heavily depends on how the next few months will pan out with the coronavirus pandemic.
Strictly Come Dancing will return later this year