Last week, The Sun reported that two of Strictly’s team of 18 professional dancers had made the decision not to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with the tabloid later claiming that a third has also turned down the offer to get jabbed.
This has apparently led to some feelings of “resentment” among members of the hit BBC show’s cast and crew.
Addressing the vaccine-related drama that is reportedly causing issues behind the scenes at the BBC dance show, the prime minister said he “does not mind lecturing” Strictly’s pros in urging them to get a Covid jab.
Speaking to reporters in Washington DC, Mr Johnson said: “I think that that’s a matter for the producers but I strongly believe that people should get vaccinated.
“I don’t want to bully people or to lecture them but, well I don’t mind lecturing them, I’ll lecture them: I think it is a great thing to do for yourself, your family, your community.
“I think people should get a jab and it is a wonderful thing to do.”
The first live show of the 2021 series of Strictly will go ahead as planned on Saturday night despite the behind-the-scenes drama.
The BBC has said it is following all government guidelines to ensure the show can be made safely.
A spokesperson for the show told the PA news agency they could not comment on whether the BBC or the production team knows the vaccination status of the professional dancers.
As was the practice last year, the professionals formed a bubble before the start of production so they could record the group routines.
Each dancer will then form a bubble with their celebrity partner so they can compete in the live shows.
Great British Bake Off star John Whaite, actor Greg Wise, Loose Women panellist Judi Love, soap star Katie McGlynn, and Olympian Adam Peaty are among the line-up for the 2021 series.
Former Strictly professional dancer James Jordan, who appeared on the show from 2006 to 2013, has spoken out about the drama, stating the unvaccinated pros should not be allowed to take part.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I definitely believe they don’t deserve their right on the show and the celebrities have every right to refuse to dance with them.”
He added on Twitter: “Just a quick one to all the anti-vaxxers out in force tonight.
“Thank your lucky stars for the 44 million people in this country that did get vaccinated – so you are now able to go back to work and get back to some kind of normal.
“We are all in this together.
“NO JAB NO JOB.”
A spokesperson for Strictly said: “We do not comment on speculation of somebody’s Covid vaccination status.
“Strictly Come Dancing production has, and will continue, to follow strict Government guidelines to ensure the safety of all on the show.”
The launch show, which aired on Saturday night, saw the celebrity contestants learn who their professional partners were.
The first live show will air on BBC One at 7pm on Saturday 25 September.