STRICTLY’S first live show of the new series gained its lowest ratings in over five years at the end of a week when it became embroiled in an anti-vax crisis.
The couples’ first performances in the BBC1 contest took place on Saturday when a peak of 8.39m people tuned in compared to 10.1m last year – a drop of over 1.7m viewers.
It comes as the show’s launch was overshadowed by the revelation that three mystery pros hadn’t received their Covid jab and the celebrities were unaware they were dancing with them.
A TV insider said: “The surprisingly low viewing figures couldn’t have come at a worse time for bosses at Strictly who are already reeling from the anti-vax crisis that’s developed over the past ten days.
“They will also feel disappointed with the dipping ratings as they’ve gone to such great lengths to deliver a full series of the Saturday night favourite as safely as possible.
“It was still the most watched show of Saturday night, but with Strictly the expectations are incredibly high.”
Last week’s launch show saw the celeb and pro couples meeting for the first time but didn’t feature any of the competitors dancing in duos or being scored by the judges.
Just like this year’s live show, it suffered a disappointing drop of 1.6m viewers, with just 7.3million tuning in this year compared to 8.9million in 2020.
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Despite calls to identify who the trio of unjabbed pros are and have them removed from the competition, the BBC have maintained they’re unable to ask who has refused to be vaccinated, or ask them to reverse that decision.
And two days before the show they issued a statement where they said: “The BBC has never commented nor confirmed the vaccination status of anyone on the show. It’s not our place to.”
Loro hanno detto: “The cast, crew and everyone working on rigorosamente are focused on this weekend’s first live show and delivering another brilliant series.”
Instead they insisted they were just determined to deliver an entertaining new series as safely as possible.
The BBC were contacted on the ratings dip but declined to comment.