Panicked ITV bosses have hatched a plan to create new episodes of Dancing On Ice to air in 2021 even if lockdown measures are still in place by the end of the year.
The popular ice skating contest usually unveils contestants for the following year at the end of the summer, with the hopefuls disappearing for weeks of intensive training before live shows begin in January.
However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has left ITV bosses worried plans for the 2021 season could be ruined by ongoing lockdown measures – which have already scuppered plans for Love Island 2020 and threaten to derail the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing.
ITV are acting early to avoid disaster come January and have enlisted judges Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, as well as popular past contestants like Joe Swash and Gemma Collins to create a spin-off series should a new series be unable to go ahead.
A show source told The Sun on Sunday: “Obviously no-one knows when lockdown measures and social distancing will be fully eased - but DOI has become a fixture in the winter TV schedules.
“It’s be a hammer blow for ITV to lose it. As such, they’ve filmed some lockdown episodes - working title: Dancing On Ice Specials - to fill that gap, should the live programmes become untenable,” the source continued.
They added: “Chris and Jane have been reflecting on their time on the show, and there will be loads of behind the scenes, never-before-scene clips.”
Show hosts Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield are also believed to be involved in the emergency project.
The television industry has been thrown into chaos since the UK went into lockdown in March – with production on dramas, soaps and sitcoms grinding to a halt as social distancing measures were introduced.
There are hopes that some shows may soon be able to get back to work – with Australian soap Neighbours setting a blueprint for how to get actors and camera crews back to work.
Cast on the Aussie soap are being left to sort their own hair and make-up, crew are being divided into controllable grids so members one one group can be quarantines should one member fall, but leaving other groups to carry on with work.
And cast are to observe social distancing measures, but camera tricks will be employed to make them look like they are closer than they really are.
Meanwhile shows in the UK including This Morning, The One Show and Loose Women have managed to continue filming with crew and hosts observing social distance measures to ensure everyone is kept safe during the ongoing health crisis.