COVID chaos on the dancefloor: 5 things we learned about 'Strictly' this week

·Contributor
·5-min read
Janette Manrara Rylan Clark-Neal Tom Fletcher Amy Dowden Arlene Phillips
The week in 'Strictly' news has seen one couple test positive for COVID. (BBC/Getty)

We're just a week into the Strictly Come Dancing live shows and one couple have already had to take a week off after positive COVID tests.

But while Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden plot their week three return, the rest of the cast are set to impress again with Greg Wise and Karen Hauer opting for an ambitious Couple's Choice routine.

Read more: 7 times COVID caused chaos for reality TV

This week also saw ex-Strictly pro Janette Manrara take the reigns of spin-off show It Takes Two, while a judging panel alumni is rumoured for this year's I'm A Celebrity.

Here's the week in Strictly news.

Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden test positive for COVID

Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden kicked off 'Strictly' 2021 dancing the Cha Cha for the very first dance of the series. (BBC)
Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden are isolating with COVID. (BBC)

It's the news every Strictly fan had been dreading – one of the couples has already tested positive for COVID, just a week into the live shows.

Unlucky Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden are now self-isolating and will have to miss this weekend's show, but the good news is that this year a positive test doesn't mean an automatic drop out like it did for Nicola Adams and Katya Jones last year.

Read more: Who are the Strictly 2021 couples?

They will be back next week, and commenting on Dowden's Instagram post sharing the news, Fletcher wrote: "Rest up partner. We’ve got to pull something special out of the bag for week 3."

Dowden has also promised a triumphant return, posting on social media: "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 dance floor for the live show in week 3!"

Janette Manrara starts at It Takes Two

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 21/09/2021 - Programme Name: It Takes Two 2021 - TX: 27/09/2021 - Episode: Generics (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Janette Manrara - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
Janette Manrara has joined 'It Takes Two' as host. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

This week saw the return of Strictly companion show It Takes Two, but there was a new presenter in town after host Zoe Ball announced she would be leaving earlier this year.

Ball had completed 10 years on the spin-off ballroom gossip show, and is replaced by Janette Manrara who has hung up her dancing shoes this series in favour of fronting It Takes Two with Rylan Clark-Neal.

Manrara brings with her a wealth of dance experience as well as the boundless energy and enthusiasm she was known for on the main show.

Watch: Who's judging this year's Strictly?

Talking about her new role, Manrara said: “It’s a dream come true to become part of the It Takes Two team! Although it’s impossible to fill in the shoes of a legend like Zoe Ball, I hope to make her and all of the Strictly fans proud.

"I will miss dancing on that iconic dance floor weekly, but forever grateful to continue being a part of the Strictly Come Dancing family!”

No dancefloor duds in this year's cast

 AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington topped the leader board with their Jive. (BBC)
AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington topped the leader board with their Jive. (BBC)

Saturday's live show was our first chance to get a proper look at who the contenders for this year's Glitterball Trophy would be – and we were surprised to see that there are no contestants with two left feet.

Usually, the line-up includes at least a couple of celebs who struggle from day one and are earmarked for early elimination, but in possibly the first season this has ever happened, no one disgraced themselves on the dancefloor.

Adam Peaty surprised with his dance skills. (BBC)
Adam Peaty surprised with his dance skills. (BBC)

As predicted, AJ Odudu, Nina Wadia and Rhys Stephenson all presented polished routines, but John Whaite, Rose Ayling-Ellis, Ugo Monye, Judi Love and Adam Peaty showed off some skilled moves, too.

Of course, someone has to be at the bottom of the leaderboard, but even lower scorers Sara Davies and Robert Webb proved they had plenty to build on in their performances, with not an embarrassing dance in sight.

Greg Wise and Karen Hauer to dance first Couple's Choice this series

Greg Wise and Karen Hauer have made a bold choice for week two. (BBC)
Greg Wise and Karen Hauer have made a bold choice for week two. (BBC)

Pro dancer Karen Hauer has a strong history in the Couple's Choice category, with high scores and rave reviews for past routines with partners Jamie Laing and Chris Ramsey.

But in a brave move, she's decided to opt for the dance genre in just the second week of live shows with this year's partner Greg Wise.

As the judges were slightly underwhelmed by Wise's first dance, it's possible she's taking a risk to up their combined score ahead of the public vote, but it remains to be seen whether it will pay off.

Wise and Hauer will dance to Ultra Nate's If You Could Read My Mind.

Arlene Phillips to become oldest I'm A Celeb campmate?

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Arlene Phillips attends The Olivier Awards with Mastercard at Royal Albert Hall on April 8, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by John Phillips/John Phillips/Getty Images)
Is Arlene Phillips headed for the jungle? (John Phillips/John Phillips/Getty Images)

Reality TV season is certainly under way as the rumours for this year's I'm A Celebrity campmates have started rolling in and the first name to be mentioned is ex-Strictly judge Arlene Phillips.

Dance expert Phillips sat on the panel for the first six series, before she was controversially replaced by ex-contestant Alesha Dixon.

If she is headed for Gwrych Castle this winter (the series is back in Wales for the second year), Phillips would be the show's oldest ever contestant at 78.

Former campmate Stanley Johnson, father of PM Boris Johnson, was a year younger at 77 when he took part in 2017.

Watch: Craig Revel Horwood spills behind-the-scenes Strictly gossip

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