Strictly can go on in September despite coronavirus, Craig says

The straight-talking judge says a new format could see dance partners kept apart with performing styles that involve no touching and a two-metre distancing rule. Aside from planning the show's new series, Craig is working to publicise the need to continue exercising during lockdown. The Royal Osteoporosis Society ambassador says weight-bearing exercise is essential for maintaining bone health whether you aim to take to the dancefloor or not. But he's at his flamboyant best and his enthusiasm gushes over when he talks about Strictly's excitingly different format.

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So can you really have a dance contest while social distancing? "Yes!," he cries. "The Charleston you can do separately, there's lots of dances that you do separately.

Jazz, ballet, you can do separate. Commercial dancing is something you can do separate, there's lots and lots.

"And we did it in Australia with Dancing With The Stars - we had no audience and people were isolated and couples remained isolated and then one couple danced on the rooftop of their hotel so they had loads of time to practise it together because they are in isolation together.

"They could film it at a safe distance on the rooftops and then we judged it from there, so it is possible."

Of Strictly, he says: "I think the audience will really want it by September, I really do. Some entertainment, some fun watching some celebs.

"There will have to be measures put in place - I judged the Australian final from the comfort of my own front room. It was amazing.

"We will perform! We have to get back to the public."

Dancing With The Stars, the Australian equivalent of the BBC show, saw one couple forced to isolate in a hotel when a relative tested positive for Covid -19.

Craig Revel HorwoodCraig Revel Horwood during the opening night of the Strictly Come Dancing Arena Tour 2020 (Image: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Speaking from his rural Hampshire home, Craig says he is coping with lockdown just like the rest of us - by decluttering and gardening. He lives with Jonathan Myring, a horticulturist. The couple became engaged last month. "Coping well! But because it's raining today it's drawers time, sorting out and doing the drawers - miscellaneous, darling. I'm doing the kitchen drawers and all sorts.

"Normally I'm so busy - I don't think I've ever stayed in my house longer than a two-week period, ever. The whole world is doing it, so there's not much you can do about it until the Government see fit that we can all be safe. There is just Jonathan and myself here so it's rather nice just to have some time together to sort things out around the house, do some gardening, plant the seeds that we've always wanted to plant.

"If you've got a pot you can just plant a seed in it and watch it grow. There is something really uplifting about that.

"I am learning how to fly my drone that's been in the cupboard for three years, so that's been really good fun."

One thing he's not doing at home is letting himself go. He says: "It's good to do your hair, have a shower and get changed into a shirt, a nice pair of trousers - I don't think that should stop.

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"I think the hair thing is the most difficult thing. I cut Jonathan's hair. I trained in Australia as a hairdresser whilst I was training to be a dancer so I have at least some skill there but I can't cut my own hair and I don't know that I'm willing to get Jonathan to try it.

"I think I am just

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