Strictly, Top Gear and Succession reveal how they’re filming during COVID

The cast and crew of TV shows Strictly Come Dancing, Top Gear and Succession have revealed how they plan to film during the coronavirus pandemic.

After a drop in coronavirus cases in the UK over the summer, many TV shows have restarted filming, but are having to make contingency plans for a second wave.

Strictly Come Dancing bosses say they are prepared to film the show with a normal audience, with a socially distanced one, or without one at all.

Top Gear hosts Freddie Flintoff (pictured), Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris filmed the new season solely in the UK
Image: Top Gear hosts Freddie Flintoff (pictured), Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris filmed the new season solely in the UK

The new series begins next month and will run for nine weeks – instead of the usual 13 – to allow more time for filming with restrictions in place.

Strictly executive producer Sarah James said: “We’ve made plans for no audience, we’ve made plans for a distanced audience, and we’ve made plans for a full audience, and… whatever happens, we’ll obviously just be following the government guidelines.”

On Top Gear, co-host Chris Harris says the crew are using the new series to “demonstrate how beautiful this country is” after COVID-19 scuppered any travel plans.

He said: “When we were filming, with the three of us since lockdown, it’s all been done in the UK – it feels like the right thing to do.

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“To re-centre, come back to the UK, demonstrate how beautiful this country is and what variety of places and locations we’ve got is a good thing.”

Harris said he hopes he, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff will be able to travel again in around a year’s time, when they hope a vaccine will be available.

Star of Succession Brian Cox is pictured centre with his HBO co-stars
Image: Star of Succession Brian Cox is pictured centre with his HBO co-stars

Over on HBO in the US, Succession star Brian Cox says the show might not begin filming a third series until next year amid concerns about virus numbers.

The programme, which stars Cox as media magnate Logan Roy, has its own testing unit, he said.

“We’ve got our own medical department dealing with the COVID thing. We’ll get going, but not until maybe November at the soonest, maybe even not until the beginning of next year,” he added.

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On Strictly, the band are unable to fit in the band “pit” with social distancing, so only key members will be filmed on the night – and others pre-recorded earlier in the week, she added.

BBC bosses have asked all the dancing couples to form support bubbles, which means one of the two will have to live alone for as long as they take part in the series.

Judge Bruno Tonioli will also be absent at the beginning of the season, as he is filming the US version of the show – Dancing With The Stars – but will be back later on.

Top Gear will return on BBC One on 4 October and Strictly on 17 October.

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