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WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 01/09/2016 - Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2016 - TX: 01/09/2016 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Strictly Come Dancing 2016 LINE-UP
** UNDER STRICT EMBARGO UNTIL THURSDAY 1 SEPTEMBER @ 00.01 ** Melvin Odoom, Anastacia, Greg Rutherford, Laura Whitmore, Daisy Lowe, Ed Balls MP, Louise Redknapp, Danny Mac, Tameka Empson, Will Young, Ore Oduba, Claudia Fragapane, Judge Robert Rinder, Lesley Joseph, Naga Munchetty - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jay Brooks

Strictly snake scare! Dancers left frightened after serpent spotted at BBC studios ahead of Halloween

The Strictly contestants have been left looking over their shoulder in the run-up to tonight’s show after a snake was spotted slithering across the car park outside the BBC studios.

Professional dancer Janette Manrara arrived to rehearse a group number for the BBC show’s Halloween-themed special, but she got an early fright when she saw the snake outside the Elstree studios in Hertfordshire.

Speaking to the Daily Star, Janette said: “I saw the Elstree cat chasing a snake across the studio lot when I arrived for rehearsals.

“I hope it’s not the start of anything more serious.”

Contestant Ed Balls added: “Although my main phobia is rats, the idea of snakes all over the studio doesn’t fill me with pleasure. Everyone is being vigilant.”

It is believed that the snake may have been left over from Indiana Jones filming more than 30 years ago.

The 1981 Raiders Of The Lost Arc film was shot at the studios and thousands of garter snakes were brought in for one scary scene. Some are said to have escaped after filming finished.

Just 10 couples remain in the competition after Birds Of A Feather actress Lesley Joseph was eliminated when all four judges voted to save model Daisy Lowe in the dance-off on last week’s show.

The remaining celebrities will perform Halloween-themed dances tonight in keeping with the show’s spooky annual tradition.

Laura Whitmore will be returning to the show after an ankle injury prevented her from taking part last weekend, but Strictly bosses decided to allow the Irish TV presenter to dance tonight.

Long jumper Greg Rutherford and professional dancer Aljaz Skorjanec prepared for the show with a bloodcurdling display featuring a chainsaw and axe.

Earlier this week Ore Obuba, Claudia Fragapane and Judge Rinder all revealed what gives them the creeps.

Ore admitted he has a severe phobia of birds, while Claudia said she could never go on I’m a Celebrity because she is scared of bugs and rats.

Bookies Ladbrokes have singer Anastacia as their 5-4 favourite for the chop this weekend.

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