The 2022 season of the BBC competition will see a couple of familiar faces missing from the line-up, after professional dancers Aljaž Škorjanec and Oti Mabuse announced that they had quit the programme.
While their absence will be sorely felt, Claudia – who co-hosts with Tess Daly – has revealed that there will be new replacements, while also sharing her deep hope that the studio audience can return amid the pandemic.
While speaking to Alex Jones and Gethin Jones on Thursday’s The One Show, Alex said that while it may only be June, they had to bring up the subject of Strictly.
‘It’s never too early,’ Claudia remarked, before explaining that she’s often not privy to information about the show before it’s shared with the press because she’s likely to leak it ahead of time.
‘You know I’m not allowed… not only am I not allowed to say anything, I’ll say anything – they don’t tell me anything. They literally don’t tell me. They tell me after they’ve told Tess and the press, because I’m leaky,’ she said, giving a cheeky, knowing glance at the camera.
Claudia is desperately hoping the studio audience will be back (Picture: BBC)
However, she didn’t come empty handed, as she addressed Oti and Aljaz leaving the pro cast, saying: ‘We’re going to miss them so much.’
She continued: ‘There are going to be… if I’m allowed to say that, maybe I won’t. Have I just been fired? My phone just buzzed. There might be new pro dancers.’
Dancing couple Janette Manrara and Aljaž Škorjanec are no longer in the pro line-up (Picture: David Fisher/Rex/Shutterstock)
Fans were devastated over Oti’s exit (Picture: ITV)
Alex then brought up the fact that last time, Claudia and Tess weren’t able to do their catchphrase ‘keep dancing’ properly, what with the Covid restrictions.
‘Hopefully, we’re really hoping that we’re allowed an audience,’ she said.
‘Because the audience are just so brilliant for the brilliant celebrities who have signed up who are terrified, that you can have that crowd. It’s lovely for the people who can come and watch, so fingers crossed.’
This year, Anton Du Beke is set to officially take Bruno Tonioli’s place on the judges’ panel, joining Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse.
Craig recently shared his delight over Anton’s new permanent role, saying: ‘It is great to have Anton with us again, darling. Love you. Love, love, love you.’
The One Show returns tomorrow at 7pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
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