| 10.7°C Dublin

'I'm so sad', says Jen as RTE dance show shelved until 2022

Close

This year’s winners Lottie Ryan and Pasquale La Rocca

This year’s winners Lottie Ryan and Pasquale La Rocca

This year’s winners Lottie Ryan and Pasquale La Rocca

Dancing With The Stars will not be returning next year as the "health risks are too high".

Producer Larry Bass had said they would make no decision on the programme until they saw how the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing worked out the logistics of filming in a post-Covid environment.

It has now been deemed too risky to stage, given the close contact required of the professional dancers and their celebrity partners.

RTE's head of entertainment John McHugh said they were "extremely disappointed" not to be in a position to produce series five of the show next year, and said the broadcaster plans to bring it back in 2022 instead.

"After much discussion, we feel the risks are too high with a production of this scale to proceed with the series in 2021 and we hope to revisit the show in 2022," he said.

"We understand that the many fans of the series will be disappointed with this decision.

"However, given the unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19 and our duty of care, we believe this decision is the right one.

"We will continue to work with Larry Bass and Shinawil on other projects and will be conducting ongoing discuss- ions with them and the BBC to try and bring back Dancing With The Stars in 2022."

Co-host Jennifer Zamparelli said she was "so sad" at the news and would miss "the laughs and the buzz and the sheer delight this show brings into the homes of so many".

Love

"It's a beast of a show and I'm sending big love to all the crew and dancers who are now out of a job in January," she added.

Close

Dancing With The Stars co-presenter Jennifer Zamparelli

Dancing With The Stars co-presenter Jennifer Zamparelli

Dancing With The Stars co-presenter Jennifer Zamparelli

RTE will announce its autumn schedule of programming and content across television, radio and online services in the coming weeks.

One of the cornerstones of the schedule is expected to be Ireland's Fittest Families, fronted by Mairead Ronan and due to start filming within the next month.

Given that most of the activities and challenges take place outdoors, the show, which sees super-fit families competing against each other, is one of the few that has been green-lighted to resume this year.

Most of the new series will be filmed in the grounds of Kilruddery House, Co Wicklow, where all the crew will have to keep in their designated groups and stringent temperature testing will be in operation throughout the production.

The large outdoor area also allows for as much social-distancing as necessary between cast and crew.