COVID medical chief Chris Whitty is being lined up by Strictly Come Dancing bosses to become the unlikely star of this year’s series.
They are targeting a “hero of the pandemic” in an attempt to bring something different to the 2021 intake.
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We imagined Chris Whitty appearing on the next Strictly series alongside Oti Mabuse
The Chief Medical Officer is being eyed up as the show’s next starCredit: AFP
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam is also in the runningCredit: AFP
Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been mooted as a possible contestant — following previous appearances by MPs including Jacqui Smith, Ed Balls and Ann Widdecombe.
But ministerial aides have discreetly ruled him out due to his hectic Whitehall work schedule.
Attention has instead turned to England’s Chief Medical Officer Prof Whitty, who has been thrown into the coronavirus spotlight over the past year, along with his deputy Jonathan Van-Tam and vaccine supremo Kate Bingham.
Last night a show insider said: “Eighteen months ago Chris Whitty, Jonathan Van-Tam and Kate Bingham were utter unknowns.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been ruled out due to his busy scheduleCredit: Reuters
“Today they’re practically household names. After all the doom and gloom of Covid, it would be brilliant viewing to get one of these three out of their suits and into some sparkles.
“Chris is top of the list, and discreet enquiries will be made over the next few weeks.”
However any decisions would depend on the rate of Covid infections in the country.
The insider went on: “Obviously it’s all dependent on where we are on the R rate, but landing a star of the pandemic is the goal.
Strictly bosses also think vaccine supremo Kate Bingham would be great on the showCredit: Getty
“Unfortunately it’s been made clear Matt Hancock’s hectic schedule won’t allow for a weekly waltz — so he’s been ruled out.”
Bookers for the hit BBC1 programme, which secured record viewing figures last year despite filming under strict Covid regulations, will be approaching talent over the coming two months.
An insider says Prof Whitty is top of the list, but any decisions would depend on the rate of Covid infectionsCredit: EPA
Prof Whitty has become a cult figure on social media thanks to his love of graphs on his regular TV briefings, complete with “next slide please” catchphrase.
Epidemiologist Prof Van-Tam, 54, also has a growing online appreciation society, with “JVT” merchandise selling out.
A Strictly spokesman declined to comment last night.
The last Strictly series, which saw Bill Bailey win, secured record viewing figuresCredit: BBC