EXCLUSIVE: Furious Strictly bosses launch probe to uncover the elusive mole after celebrity partnerships are leaked ahead of next week’s launch
Just hours after this year’s stars were paired up in a pre-recorded show on Wednesday, the names were available to see online – prompting the show’s bosses to go into meltdown.
Strictly sources say they are ‘furious’ the surprise is ruined for the show’s viewers who will learn the dance duos in the special episode which airs next Saturday night.
The leak comes after the mole repeatedly revealed which contestant had been eliminated from Strictly during last year’s before the Sunday night results show.
Insiders say they are ‘at a loss’ as to know who is revealing the information, with some suspecting it could be a member of staff – either at the BBC, someone who works for an outside company involved with the production or they are connected to one of the cast – but bosses are determined to get to the bottom of it.
One source told the Mail: ‘Enough is enough, it isn’t fair on the fans, they look forward to tuning in to see who will be dancing together.
‘So now procedures are being put in place to see if the mole can be caught though it’s tricky because there are so many people involved with Strictly but the bosses are determined to nail he or she.’
Last October BBC bosses became angry after the mole struck weekly.
Before the Sunday night results show airs, they would leak the identity of the celebrity who is voted off meaning that it became increasingly impossible for fans to enjoy the results show without already knowing which two contestants are in the dance-off – and which one is sent home.
The names were being passed to Strictly superfan Dave Thorp, who discloses them on his website – and tweets the link to his 55,000 followers around 11.30pm on Saturdays.
Leaking is possible because Sunday’s show is filmed ‘as live’ after the Saturday show, with the audience sworn to secrecy.
The Strictly audience at Elstree Studios have their phones taken away during filming.
Tickets are given to friends and families of those taking part, and to members of the public drawn in a ballot.
As a result of the weekly leak pressure was put on the BBC to revert to broadcasting the results show live on a Sunday, as it was until 2008.
The scheduling was changed because the late Bruce Forsyth – then aged 80 – was struggling to host two nights in a row.
The current presenters, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, are 54 and 51.
Angela says: ‘Having been a fan of Strictly since day one, and as a former presenter of Come Dancing, this will be quite an adventure for me. A scary one, considering I’m about to be 79. But I’m looking forward to the challenge, and perhaps being able to learn to dance the Argentine Tango.’
Amanda says: ‘I’m thrilled to have been asked to do Strictly. I’m actually really shy and self-conscious so this will be a great opportunity for me to overcome those things.’
Layton says: ‘Absolutely buzzing to confirm that I will be taking part in THE most iconic dance competition in the UK! It’s time to bring it to the Ballroom. So excited to learn new skills from the best. Bring on the sequins… ALL the sequins!’
Krishnan says: ‘I’m surprised, delighted and slightly confused to find myself taking part in Strictly on the basis of ‘You only live once!’ I can’t wait to start learning to dance, but I am slightly worried about my general decrepitude.’
Profession: Comedian and radio presenter
Eddie says: ‘WOW. Anyone who knows me, understands that music and dance is so important and central to who I am. I’m so unbelievably proud and honoured that Strictly and the BBC have asked me to join the 2023 Team. I promise you, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. This is going to be a VIBE.
Profession: TV presenter
Angela says: ‘I’m not particularly fit, I’ve no idea how my pelvic floor is going to react to this dancing. I’ve never done any dances apart from drunken jiving at a wedding!’
Profession: Documentary maker and former Love Island star
Zara says: ‘I am so excited to be joining the world of Strictly! I grew up watching it every year with my nan and she was the biggest Strictly fan. We would dance around the house and I have such fond memories of that time in my life.’
Profession: Actor and presenter
Adam says: ‘I can’t dance to save my life but I’m buzzing to learn and have a good laugh with my pro. Get me on that dance floor…I can’t wait!’
Profession: Radio and TV presenter
Nikita says: ‘I can’t believe I’m going to be on Strictly. This is a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself. I don’t think it will properly sink in until I step onto the dancefloor. I can’t wait to get glammed up and get out there. Throw the glitter on me!’
Profession: Coronation Street star
Ellie says: ‘It still doesn’t feel real that I’m going to be doing Strictly!! It’s always been a dream of mine so I guess dreams really do come true!!!!’
Profession: Paralympic champion
Jody says: ‘I’m looking forward to the challenge and pushing myself way out of my comfort zone, especially as I’m always last onto the dance floor. Can’t wait to get stuck in, bring on the glitter and sequins.’
Profession: EastEnders star and model
Bobby says: ‘I’m so excited to be part of the Strictly line up, I can’t wait to start training like a professional dancer and adding a few moves to my locker. I’m looking forward to performing in-front of everyone.’
Nigel says: ‘I’m amazed, excited, and terrified to be doing Strictly. As an armchair fan of the show I have watched in awe as people have twirled and gyrated across the screen. And now it’s my turn…..gulp!’
Profession: Broadcaster and ex tennis player
Annabel says: ‘I have always loved watching Strictly and can’t quite believe I’m going to be part of this magical show – swapping tennis balls for glitter balls and looking forward to finding some joyfulness in the process.’
Profession: Actor and game show host
Les says: ‘I’m thrilled to be doing this iconic wonderful show as I approach my 70th birthday! In my career I’ve always gone for challenges outside my comfort zone and this is the ultimate one! Can’t wait.’