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Joanne Clifton Talks 'Strictly Come Dancing' Exit, And Prepares For Emotional Send-Off

'I don't think it'll hit me until I get back into that studio.'

05/09/2017 10:41 BST

Reigning ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ champion Joanne Clifton has opened up about leaving the show, admitting she’s expecting an emotional departure following her final performance at this year’s launch show.

Joanne announced earlier this year she was quitting the show after three years, following her victory in last year’s final, with celebrity partner Ore Oduba.

However, as the current victor, Joanne has one performance left, hitting the dance floor with Ore during the new series’ launch for their winner’s dance, which she’s said she’s expecting to be emotional.

Mike Marsland via Getty Images
Joanne Clifton

Speaking to HuffPost UK at the TV Choice Awards about her ‘Strictly’ departure, Joanne admitted: “Do you know what? It hasn’t hit me yet.

“Like, it was announced and everything, and I was a little bit sad, but I’m having the time of my life doing musical theatre and living a dream… I don’t think it’ll hit me until I get back into that studio, and I think then I’ll probably break down.

“The whole atmosphere… I mean, we’re in really early in the morning, the whole make-up team, getting the costumes ready, all my friends and my family are still in it as well. And I just think I’m gonna be like *sobs*.”

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Joanne Clifton and 'Strictly' partner Ore Oduba 

She did say she’d be open to coming back in the future “if they want me”, adding: “I’d love to go back.

“I just feel so grateful to have been a part of it anyway, and I’d like to think we’ve got such a good relationship that I could go back.”

She and Ore also told us about who they’re tipping for success in the new series, and if nothing else, we’re pleased to hear someone put a bit of faith in Ruth Langsford, after she was named the bookies’ bottom choice to win the show.

The new series of ‘Strictly’ kicks off on Saturday (9 September) on BBC One, during which time the 15 celebrity contestants will discover which professional dancers they’ve been partnered with.

The launch show will also feature a special tribute to former ‘Strictly’ host Sir Bruce Forsyth, who died last month at the age of 89.

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