Rylan Clark-Neal claims Cheryl should replace Strictly’s Bruno Tonioli for 2020 series amid claims he’ll ‘miss it due to COVID-19 travel concerns’
Earlier this month is was claimed Strictly Come Dancing star Bruno Tonioli would miss this year’s series due to travel concerns during the COVID-19 crisis.
But Rylan Clark-Neal has thought of a solution if the judge, 64, is unable to fly to the UK, as he claimed Cheryl, 37, would be a good person to take his place temporarily.
Speaking with OK! on Wednesday about his pick to replace Bruno temporarily, the presenter, 31, said: ‘If Bruno does have to stick with Dancing with the Stars, it’ll be really sad and he’ll be really missed.
Thoughts: On Wednesday, Rylan Clark-Neal claimed Cheryl should replace Strictly’s Bruno Tonioli amid claims he’ll ‘miss 2020 series due to COVID-19 travel concerns’
‘But Cheryl would be great and is lovely. I’ve met her a couple of times and she’s always so sweet, and talks to everyone.’
Rylan was quick to add: ‘But I am very low down in the Strictly chain, so my opinion won’t matter at all!’
Last week it was reported Bruno had decided to solely appear on the higher-paid US version Dancing With The Stars this autumn.
It was claimed he may be unable to take part in this year’s Strictly due to travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, with bookies hinting that singer Cheryl could replace him.
Good choice: Giving his opinion, Rylan said: ‘If Bruno does have to stick with Dancing with the Stars, it’ll be really sad… But Cheryl would be great and is lovely’ (pictured in 2018)
A year off: Last week it was reported Bruno would miss this year’s series due to travel concerns during the COVID-19 crisis
Sources told The Sun that Bruno finally decided to remain in the US as he spends a majority of the year living Stateside, and did not want to risk flying to the UK during the current crisis.
He usually travels between the UK and US to judge both series of Strictly during the autumn, though in recent years he has been given a week off to recuperate.
Bruno has reportedly told BBC bosses he won’t be available for the show, but they are not planning to replace him, meaning he could still make a guest appearance later in the series.
Taking a break: The judge has reportedly decided to solely appear on the higher-paid US version Dancing With The Stars this autumn
A source said: ‘There is no way to travel back and forth at the moment, so he’s told bosses in the UK that unfortunately he will be staying over there.
‘He spends a lot of his time in the States now, and the truth is he does earn a lot more from the US version.
‘Of course it will be a shame to lose him, but even if he can make it back for a couple of weeks later in the series, his seat will be waiting for him.’
MailOnline has contacted representatives for Bruno Tonioli and Strictly Come Dancing for comment.
Will he be back? It was claimed Bruno told BBC bosses he won’t be available, but they are not planning to replace him, meaning he could still make a guest appearance later in the series
It had been reported that Bruno may not be able to take part in this year’s Strictly, with bookies immediately tipping Cheryl as the favourite to replace him. A representative for the singer has since denied the claims.
With Bruno absent, it would mean the judging panel would solely consist of Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel-Horwood and Motsi Mabuse.
On Tuesday it was also reported that this year’s Strictly will only run for nine weeks, with the start date pushed back to October to allow bosses to pre-record elements during the current social distancing climate.
Due to the reduced series run, it was claimed bosses will have fewer celebrities in the line-up, with the show’s Halloween and Blackpool specials coming up at two and four weeks into the schedule.
Busy bee: Bruno has spent the last 15 years jetting between the US and the UK for Strictly and its American counterpart Dancing With The Stars (pictured in 2019)
A source told The Sun: ‘BBC bosses are doing everything in their power to give the public as much Strictly as they possibly can and safely.
‘A heavily reduced schedule gives them a lot longer to pre-record certain segments to minimise risk. It does mean it will be starting much later in the year, and will finish very close to Christmas with the final currently scheduled for December 19.’
Strictly bosses also previously revealed that stars will be in ‘couple bubbles’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delayed: On Tuesday it was also reported that this year’s Strictly will only run for nine weeks, with the start date pushed back to October to allow bosses to pre-record certain parts
A spokesman said: ‘The Strictly Come Dancing team are doing everything they can to bring the nation plenty of Strictly magic later this year.
‘To ensure we deliver the high standards audiences know and love, and in light of the ongoing considerations around COVID-19, this year’s series of Strictly will have a slightly shorter run than usual.
‘The safety of our cast and crew is of the utmost importance to us and further updates will be made in due course.
While the global crisis has caused the future of many British TV shows to hang in the balance, BBC executives are pulling out all the stops to ensure the series can return to screens later this year.
Delayed: Due to the reduced series run, it was claimed bosses will have fewer celebrities in the line-up, which is expected to be announced in late July
BBC Director of Content Charlotte Moore recently revealed producers are still assessing contingency plans such as enforcing a face mask rule, dancing two metres apart and even quarantining celebrities and professional dancers.
Charlotte told The Times: ‘We’re looking at how that would work. Could you quarantine people? Can we test everyone before filming? There’s a lot of work being done. It’s a big task.’
She also said fans could see the show go on-air without a live audience, with the BBC also looking into testing participants’ temperatures and installing glass divides inside the studio ‘so that people feel even more protected’.
The Strictly set-up has included a live audience since the show first aired back in 2004, when it was fronted by Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly.
The celebrities taking part are set to be announced at the end of July and it is believed they will rehearse on Zoom until lockdown rules are eased.
Apart: Strictly bosses also previously revealed that stars will be in ‘couple bubbles’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the programme can adhere to social distancing
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