Strictly Come Dancing 2020 announces professional lineup as Kevin Clifton quits

Strictly Come Dancing has officially announced its professional lineup for this year’s competition, just days after Kevin Clifton walked away from the show.

But while the 2020 series will not be seeing the Grimsby boy prance around the ballroom, they’ll be welcoming back a number of familiar faces – and we’re too excited.

The returning male dancers include AJ Pritchard, Aljaz Skorjanec, Anton Du Beke, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe and Neil Jones.

It will be Anton’s 18th year on the show, following speculation that he might have called it quits and left on a high after his success with celeb partner Emma Barton.

As for the girls, Amy Dowden, Dianne Buswell, Janette Manrara, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nancy Xu, Nadiya Bychkova and Oti Mabuse will be making their Strictly comeback.

Executive producer of BBC Studios Sarah James said: ‘It’s wonderful to welcome back so many talented individuals within this year’s line-up of Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers.

‘They are each at the top of their game and as a cast are simply incredible. We can’t wait to see what magic they will bring to the ballroom this year.

‘Strictly 2020 promises to be an unforgettable series, with more exceptional choreography and world-class dancing.’

Controller of BBC Entertainment Kate Phillips added: ‘We are very proud of Strictly Come Dancing and our professional dancers.

‘They are undoubtedly in a class of their own and they’ll be back in force this autumn to put our class of 2020 through their paces, providing another series of unmissable TV!’

The news comes after Kevin announced his departure to his 375,000 Instagram followers.

In a statement, he wrote: ‘The past seven years have been some of the most wonderful years of my life. I am grateful to the BBC and Strictly Come Dancing for giving me the opportunity to have been a part of something truly special.

‘Since first being called Kevin From Grimsby by Sir Bruce Forsyth in 2013 I have experienced the highs of 5 finals, winning a Guinness World record on It Takes Two, the Strictly Arena tour glitterball and then the ultimate of winning the 2018 series with Stacey Dooley.

‘After finishing last series with the Children In Need trophy and the Christmas Special I want to leave on a high and have therefore decided the time has come to move on and focus on other areas of my life and career.’

Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One later this year.

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