Strictly Come Dancing professionals spent 25 days in the same hotel ahead of the launch of the 18th series of the BBC show.

The dancers had to self-isolate together at The Manor Hotel in Elstree ahead of filming at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood.

Previously owned by Laura Ashley and known then as Edgwarebury Hotel, the 49-bed hotel off Barnet Lane with panoramic views over London, hosted the television stars as they learnt and pre-recorded group routines.

The luxury hotel, which stands on the site of an old Tudor house dating back to 1540, became the pros' exclusive new home for most of September with the manor off limits for anyone outside of the Strictly bubble.

Dancer Amy Dowden said: "Due to Covid-19 and the guidelines in place, we have had to create a bubble.'

"We usually spend the whole month learning all the group numbers and perform them throughout the series. However, this year, we have pre-recorded all of the group numbers to make it safer for us all."

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Saturday night fever 💃🏽🕺🏽 Who’s watching BBC Strictly Come Dancing tonight? Here they are in practice at The Manor 😍 #StrictlyComeDancing #StrictlyComeDancing2020

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The Manor hotel, set in ten acres of gardens, is not stranger to welcoming famous faces - Tom Cruise, Peter Sellers and John Cleese are among some of the acclaimed actors to have stopped by.

Watford Observer:

Credit: Instagram/The Manor

Watford Observer:

Credit: Instagram/The Manor Elstree

Meanwhile presenters Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly outlined how the show had adapted to the current climate and introduced safety measures.

They told the audience on opening night: "Earlier in the year out dedicated professional dancers isolated at home before moving into a hotel together and becoming a household.

"Because of this they were able to perform their group dances together. We will explain more about that later in the show."

"And there are some other changes too, Tess and I are two metres apart and we have a smaller audience in household groups and socially distanced from each other.

"And thankfully Dave Arch and his wonderful orchestra and singers are here and are able to perform safely too."

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Watford Observer:

Credit: Instagram/The Manor Elstree

Watford Observer:

Credit: Instagram/The Manor Elstree

Watford Observer:

Credit: Instagram/The Manor Elstree

The eighteenth series of Strictly is being filmed at George Lucas Stage 2 at Elstree Studios, with It Takes Two taking up residency for its live weekday shows in Stage 6, on the same site.

Watford Observer:

BBC Studioworks says it has worked closely with the Strictly production and health & safety teams to ensure the environment they are working in is Covid secure, including:

  • Additional air handling units have been hired to fill the stage with fresh air, and the fresh air system within the gallery suite has been upgraded.
  • Each gallery is limited to a specific number of people at any one time. Bespoke Perspex screens are in place across all the gallery suites and a number of gallery-based operatives and production staff have been relocated to cabins outside.
  • On the studio floor, some of the operated cameras have been replaced by remote heads and all other cameras are spaced more than two metres apart.
  • Perspex vocal booths have been created for the band’s singers, each with an air extraction system.
  • Microphones will not be shared across the series-run.
  • Electrostatic misting is sprayed overnight after each day on set, including communal areas and toilets.
  • Editors and producers for Strictly are working remotely at home

Meryl McLaren, commercial manager at BBC Studioworks, said: "As we collectively steer our way through the Covid-19 pandemic, entertainment shows such as Strictly are more important than ever, offering audiences a big dose of normality, fun and high energy content.

"Making the Strictly ballroom a Covid-secure environment has been a real collaborative effort between BBC Studioworks and BBC Studios, with months of planning and preparation."

Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight on BBC 1 at 7.10pm.