Strictly Come Dancing 2020 FINAL: Claudia Winkleman praises the show’s ‘extraordinary’ crew
It’s been a hint of normality during the coronavirus pandemic, providing dependable weekend escapism into the glittering world of ballroom.
And Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman made sure to pay tribute to the show’s ‘brilliant’ crew as she marked Saturday’s grand finale.
The star, 48, thanked the team as she emotionally opened the show and also praised them for keeping the series on the air ‘against all the odds’ in the pandemic as she shared backstage snaps in a gushing Instagram post.
Emotional: Claudia Winkleman made sure to thank the ”extraordinary’ Strictly Come Dancing crew as she opened the final on Saturday night
Showing her emotions as the finale kicked off, Claudia said: ‘Now earlier this year we didn’t know if Strictly could even happen, and tonight our audience is made up of the brilliant team that got us here. Thank you so much.’
Claudia’s co-host Tess Daly, 51, added: ‘Thank you, team. Thank you all. If ever people needed cheering up, it’s now.’
The star also shared six images of some of the crew who have been working on the show this series on Instagram, with all of the staff donning face masks of shields.
She penned: ‘A different Strictly post this week (not me leaning against a wall – apologies for those by the way) but this one is about our team.
Thank you! The star also took to Instagram to share a series of snaps of the show’s team working backstage during the series
‘Against all the odds they managed to get and keep us on air. So many made sacrifices and left their families.
‘They are the most extraordinary people I’ve ever been lucky enough to work with. Here are just a few of them. We’ll see you at 6.’
Saturday’s final sees Bill and Oti, HRVY and Janette, Jamie and Karen and Maisie and Gorka perform three times to win viewers’ votes, the Judges Pick, their Showdance and their favourite dance of the series.
The show introduced strict new measures to ensure filming could continue in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, including regular testing and placing the couples in separate ‘bubbles’ so they can train and perform together.
Kind words: Claudia said ‘they are the most extraordinary people I’ve ever been lucky enough to work with. Here are just a few of them. We’ll see you at 6’ in her gushing post
All important: The crew were all seen hard at work as they wore face covering during the series
All because of them: As she opened the show, Claudia revealed the live audience was made up of the crew who worked on the show
These ‘bubbles’ mean that any celebrity can openly mix, train and perform with their professional partner and vice versa, but they are prohibited from mixing with anyone from outside of their bubble during filming or training.
However despite the measures, MailOnline had previously revealed that boxer Nicola Adams and her pro partner Katya Jones were forced to pull out of Strictly after the Russian dancer contracted Covid and had to self-isolate for 14 days.
Talking on Strictly spin-off show, It Takes Two, via video from her home, Nicola revealed that the duo will make a final appearance during Saturday’s show.
She said: ‘Well, you know, as my saying goes: ‘I do like doing the most’. Me and Katya will be coming back!’
To which host Zoe Ball quickly clarified they would be dancing for one last time, rather than taking part in the competition again.
Nicola went on to explain to Zoe, 49, that it was ‘frustrating’ not being able to continue on this year’s series of Strictly, but said that she was ‘doing her part’.
She continued: ‘I’m doing okay, thanks. It was a little bit frustrating not being able to continue and I’d just got back into the swing of things.
‘I was enjoying the dancing and everything but the rules are in place to keep everybody safe so I’m doing my part.’
Nicola also sweetly praised Katya and said that she has got a ‘friend for life’ with the two ‘helping each other out’ during their isolation period.
The flyweight champion said: ‘Katya has been such an amazing dance partner, I can’t thank her enough. I definitely feel like I’ve got a friend for life.
‘We’ve been keeping in touch, making TikToks and doing FaceTimes, everything, so we’ve been helping each other out.’
Strictly bosses later confirmed in a statement that Nicola cannot return next series as she would have an ‘unfair advantage’ over the other celebrities.