Strictly Come Dancing will be just nine weeks long instead of 13 and won't start until end of October

STRICTLY Come Dancing is due to waltz on to TV more than a month later than normal this year — and last just nine weeks.

The show, which usually runs for 13 weeks, has been pushed back in BBC One’s autumn line-up due to coronavirus and is now scheduled to air from October 24.

And given the reduced number of shows, bosses plan on having fewer celebs.

The altered schedule also means two flagship shows — Halloween and Blackpool — will come much ­earlier in the run, at two and four weeks in.

A source said: “BBC bosses are doing everything in their power to give the public as much Strictly as they possibly can and safely.

“A heavily reduced schedule gives them a lot longer to pre-record certain segments to minimise risk. It does mean it will be starting much later in the year, and will finish very close to Christmas with the final currently scheduled for December 19.”

Last year’s contest, won by Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse, started on September 21.

One reason for this year’s delay is the plan to pre-record all professional group dances in September.

As we revealed last month, pros and their celeb partners may have to isolate together.

Bosses are confident the show will still get bumper ratings and are determined to lock in a solid line-up after ­previous criticism over bookings.

It comes after we told how judge Bruno Tonioli is a doubt due to possible travel restrictions as he films US version Dancing With The Stars. He tipped Cheryl Tweedy for the job.

A BBC spokesman declined to comment.

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