BBC refused No10 plea to delay Strictly Come Dancing for Boris Johnson's national lockdown broadcast

THE BBC refused to delay Strictly Come Dancing for Boris Johnson’s national lockdown broadcast.

The PM made a last-minute plea to address the nation after 7pm on Saturday.

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But his team was told the BBC1 dance show was the “priority”.

A source said: “Strictly is a ­ratings beast for the BBC so they were loath to change the scheduling.

"No one was afraid to have a showdown with them as Strictly is a priority for the channel.

“Boris’s team asked if the press conference could be moved past 7pm but was sternly told that if that was the case, it would be aired on the News Channel.

“His team relented and got on air closer to the scheduled time of 6.30pm.

"It was a win for the BBC as they had already taken Little Mix The Search off air and delaying the juggernaut that is Strictly would have been chaos.”

The conference did overrun and BBC coverage was switched to its News Channel — but Boris had finished his part.

Around 17 million viewers saw the PM’s Covid update on the BBC.

A peak of 10.7 million then watched the dance contest, featuring judge Craig Revel Horwood — some 600,000 more than last week.

EastEnders’ Maisie Smith, 19, topped the leaderboard with pro partner Gorka Marquez, 30.

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