STRICTLY Come Dancing bosses are worried Michael Jackson’s tunes will now be more chiller than Thriller.
I have learned bosses are pulling the music icon’s back catalogue from the next series — the first primetime show to take action following the sex-abuse allegations in this week’s Leaving Neverland TV documentary.
Until now, MJ’s songs had featured regularly across the 16 seasons, with former England cricketer Graeme Swann and partner Oti Mabuse performing the cha-cha-cha to 1983 hit Thriller on the most recent series.
But show chiefs don’t want to gamble with the huge viewing figures after it smashed ratings with last series’ grand final pulling in almost 13million.
A source said: “Strictly is one of the BBC’s best-performing shows and one of the reasons for that is it’s a family show.
“In light of the recent allegations there is concern viewers might be deterred by any reference to Michael Jackson, which has caused a lot of distress for some viewers, and want to ensure their audience has an enjoyable time watching.
“It is also feared dancers performing to an MJ track could be at a voting disadvantage. It seems the safest decision.”
The move comes after explosive documentary Leaving Neverland had a massive impact on viewers around the globe.
The four-hour film explores allegations made by James Safechuck and Wade Robson that they suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the King of Pop.
And pressure mounted this week from those disgusted by the revelations to axe his songs from the radio — followed through by stations all round the world.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “We consider each piece of music on its merits and decisions on what we play on different networks are always made with relevant audiences and context in mind.”
She added that the decision was not reflected by the wider BBC and that his tunes could still be played on BBC radio and in other BBC TV programmes.
MJ’s estate have dismissed the documentary and said the King of Pop is “100 per cent innocent” and they are being “bombarded with lies” over Leaving Neverland.
Before he died in 2009 aged 50, Michael Jackson always denied allegations — and he was acquitted of ten charges of abuse after a high-profile trial in 2005.
His estate had settled out of court in 1994 over allegations of abuse relating to 13-year-old boy Jordan Chandler.
That’s definitely not Saturday night entertainment material.
The GC is off the LA and NYC
DANCING on Ice fave Gemma Collins is hoping to make it big in the US.
The reality queen tells me she’s doing pilot season in LA – where new shows are pitched – moving Stateside for two months later this year.
Gemma said: “There are exciting things happening.
“I’m going to New York and LA in the summer. I can’t say too much, but hopefully there’s some exciting things happening for the GC.”
Her desire to move comes as her romance with James “Arg” Argent, hits yet another rough patch.
The pair once again called time on their on-off, seven-year relationship before getting back together.
Giving insight into where she’s at, Gemma told Jonathan Ross on his show on Friday night: “They should set up a training school for young love.
“I’m sick of blokes. I’m sick of them. I’ve just had enough, to be honest.”
Eligible US bachelors, best brace yourselves.
Olivia win was big snooze
RICKY GERVAIS might have launched Olivia Colman’s acting career – but seeing her win Best Actress at last month’s Oscars, wasn’t worth him losing sleep over.
The comedian cast Olivia in her first big telly role, as journalist Helena in his cult comedy The Office.
But he confessed he still hasn’t watched her emotional winner’s speech as she lifted her gong in LA last month for her part in period drama The Favourite.
Ricky told me: “I haven’t seen it. It was like 3am – it was on at 3am!”
He has a good excuse though as he has been busy promoting his Netflix six-parter, After Life.
The show, which premiered on Friday, follows grieving widower Tony and features Ricky’s signature humour.
It is already being hailed his finest work, despite its dark subject matter and jokes about prostitution, paedophilia and violence.
Ricky says: “You don’t see people dying of chemotherapy in Mrs Brown’s Boys I guess. And there’s never been c*** in a trailer before.
“It’s crazy to be offended by a joke.”
I couldn’t listen to music during sex. I’d be thinking, ‘I wonder how they got that snare drum sound?
Mark Ronson is obviously the strong, silent type when it comes to intimate moments
Son rises on Jamie v David 2
JAMIE REDKNAPP and David Beckham’s longstanding soccer rivalry is being reinvented – through their 14-year-old sons.
Liverpool legend Jamie’s son Charley is set to take on wannabe pop star Cruz Beckham in a bid for the charts as he aims to be the next big UK rap star.
Jamie said: “He’s passionate about music and he’s got great taste – he loves NWA and Dr Dre. I know some of the lyrics are not ideal for a 14-year-old boy but it’s more the beats.
“I love the beats and certain sounds, so we have this common thing where we listen to it.”
Charley has also been inspired by his mum Louise’s pop career.
Jamie said: “My ex-wife is obviously into music and that’s probably where it comes from as well.”
Cruz is a step ahead of Charley, having made a Christmas single after signing for Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun.
Mum Victoria is backing him on social media, with regular clips of him singing, and she’s tagged producer Darkchild – who has worked with Whitney Houston, Britney Spears and Beyonce.
Perhaps Cruz can give Charley a feature.
Reddy to forgive, Kylie?
Kylie Jenner goes Baywatch in her latest photoshoot[/caption]
SHE’s been named the world’s youngest “self-made” billionaire and lost her best mate all in the space of a few weeks. But it’s still business first for Kylie Jenner.
The reality star brushed aside her fall-out with former BFF Jordyn Woods as she posed in a Baywatch-style swimsuit for her latest megabucks campaign with fashion firm Ardene.
The shoot was released just hours before Kylie shared a sexy snap of herself wearing red PVC trousers on her Instagram page, which got a surprise “like” from Jordyn.
It is the first time Kylie’s ex-best friend has reached out since the news broke that Jordyn had hooked up with Tristan Thompson, then boyfriend of Kylie’s sister Khloe Kardashian, last month.
Since the family betrayal, Jordyn has moved out of Kylie’s home in Calabasas, California, where she lived for over a year.
I think it will take more than a “like” to repair that friendship.
Roger’s #metoo U-turn
ROGER DALTREY has made a U-turn over the #MeToo movement after branding it “obnoxious”.
The Who frontman last year slammed the global campaign against sexual misconduct but he and his band have now written a tune supporting it.
Discussing work on their first studio album in 13 years, Daltrey’s bandmate Pete Townshend said: “There’s a song called Detour.
The lyrics are about men needing to find new routes, new pathways, new ways to reach out, a decent but still honest way to approach women in our lives.
“It’s an acknowledgement that #MeToo has been one of the most exciting things to happen in our business for years.”
The nod to #MeToo comes after Roger argued rock stars weren’t sexual predators because they had no need to be.
In May last year, he said: “Why would any rock star need to push themselves on women? Usually, it’s the other way around. I’d like to have £1 for every woman that screws my ass.
“Mick Jagger would be a billionaire out of it.
“I find this whole thing so obnoxious.”
Since recording began, the band have worked fast. “We are managing a song every day,” Pete added.
With all that material, it sounds like fans won’t have to wait long for a follow-up to this forthcoming album.
- JUSTIN BIEBER can’t spell very well. He told fans to chill out after Canadian pop rival SHAWN MENDES liked a snap of his wife HAILEY, writing under the picture: “Their friends, relax!”.
- MICHAEL BALL and ALFIE BOE have been auditioning to sing the next Bond tune. “We’d love to do it,” Michael confirmed during Decca’s 90th anniversary celebrations at West London club White City House.
- HARRY STYLES has grown close to JACK WHITEHALL’s ex GEMMA CHAN. He and CARA DELEVINGNE double dated with the duo in 2013.
- NEW York trio of brothers AJR have dropped the video for alt anthem, 100 Bad Days. It has already clocked up more than 20million streams.
- BRIT actor BRAD MOORE is making waves in movies. He’s up for Best Actor at the National Film Awards for his role in boxing comedy Gloves Off. Good luck.
JESY NELSON and Chris Hughes are continuing their public lovefest.
The two confirmed their romance last week with a slew of smoochy videos at a London pop-up bar modelled on US jail Alcatraz.
On Friday they were back on live-cam Insta action, packing on the PDAs at Cirque le Soir nightclub in Soho, London.
It comes after Chris said he’s the “happiest he’s ever been” since making the Little Mix star his official GF, telling Kiss FM: “I’m so happy, she’s the nicest girl I’ve ever met, this is no exaggeration.
“She’s got a heart like she was your mother or something. She’s so caring. We get on like best mates, and that’s the beauty about it.”
Maybe likening Jesy to a mum isn’t the best of comparisons.
Holly’s tasty guest
HOLLY WILLOUGHBY is forgiven for getting flustered while meeting Dua Lipa’s man Isaac Carew on This Morning’s cookery segment.
After making the host go all hot under the collar with his delicious pasta dish on Thursday, the chef stripped off to raise the heat outside the kitchen, revealing his ripped torso.
While currently in Dua’s shadow, Isaac’s career has seen him go from working in kitchens and being shouted at by Gordon Ramsay to walking down runways for some of the world’s biggest fashion brands before returning to his culinary roots with his cooking brand The Dirty Dishes.
Dua and Isaac have been dating since 2015, and he supported her at the Brit Awards last month as she nabbed Best Single alongside Calvin Harris for their One Kiss duet.
Bet he served a mean fry-up the morning after.
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