Thursday 21 November 2019

BBC denies fixing Strictly result after judges opt to eliminate Vick Hope over Seann Walsh

Vick Hope and her dance partner Graziano Di Prima (Guy Levy/BBC)
Vick Hope and her dance partner Graziano Di Prima (Guy Levy/BBC)
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

The BBC has denied allegations that it fixed the result of Sunday night's episode of Strictly Come Dancing.

The four judges chose to send home DJ Vick Hope (29) and her professional partner Graziano Di Prima (24), therefore saving comedian Seann Walsh (32) and his dance partner Katya Jones (29).

Judges Shirley Ballas, Dame Darcey Bussell and guest Alfonso Ribeiro voted to save Seann and Katya. Craig Revel Horwood was the only judge to choose the Capital FM DJ, who had previously been one of the highest scoring contestants.

Last week, she secured a cumulative total of 29 points out of a possible 40 from the judges, placing her in joint second place.

Seann Walsh and Katya Jones were saved by the judges while Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima were ousted from the competition (Guy Levy/PA)

However, the judges opted to save Walsh and Jones, who have been at the centre of a media storm after they were photographed kissing two weeks ago.  Jones is married and Walsh had a long term girlfriend at the time.

Viewers took to social media to express their surprise and anger at the judges’ reasoning following the result, and speaking on Capital FM Vick Hope said that she saw the judging panel having a "very strange" conversation with producers before the result was announced.

“It was very strange, because after the dance-off the judges have to give their decisions, but there was a bit of a conflab with some producers and then they gave their decisions,” she said.

“It was just stunned silence in the studio, it was a really weird atmosphere.”

However, the BBC issued a statement denying the allegations.

“It is categorically untrue to imply that producers tell the judges how to score or who to save,” read the statement.

“Each judge votes on each dance independently, based on its merits and in their expert opinion alone. The judges use an electronic voting pad to transmit their score or choice of who to save to the production gallery, which is then locked in and cannot be changed.

“Only after this does a producer speak to the judges, advising them on how long they have to speak and reminding them to give a reason for their decisions. The process was exactly the same this weekend.”

The 11 remaining couples will return to the dancefloor next week for the Strictly Come Dancing Halloween special episode on BBC One at 6.50pm on Saturday.

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