31/12/2018 09:18 GMT

Strictly Come Dancing's AJ Pritchard Says Brother Curtis 'Risked His Own Dance Career To Save My Life' In Nightclub Attack

Curtis was left needing surgery and forced to pull out of the Irish version of 'Strictly'.

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ pro AJ Pritchard has told how his brother “saved his life” and risked his own dancing career, when the pair were set upon in a nightclub recently

Over the weekend, the brothers — who are both professional dancers — were the victims of an “unprovoked” attack in a Cheshire nightclub and 22-year-old Curtis was left requiring emergency surgery on his knee. 

Meanwhile, AJ suffered bruising to his face, arms, body and legs, now telling the Sun that “Curtis risked his own dancing career to save mine as he threw himself in front of the attackers so they couldn’t get to me”.

“He was thinking of both my dancing career with my legs and my TV career with my face,” he said. “He tried to protect me and in doing so saved my life and my legs from danger.”

Curtis, who has been forced to pull out of Irish show ‘Dancing With The Stars’, added the incident “could have been fatal” and may spell the end of his career.

The brothers had been enjoying a family Christmas at home in Stoke-on-Trent, the paper said.

They headed out in Nantwich on 27 December with two friends and wound up at the nightclub, where they had been “lots” of times and knew the staff.

AJ said they felt it was a safe place for them to go and they took to the dance floor with a group of people.

He told the paper the pair were then set upon by “about eight blokes” and were punched and kicked “from all angles”.

Curtis said he saw four men go for his brother and tried to put himself between AJ and the blows.

After suffering several punches to the face Curtis fell to the floor unconscious, the ‘Strictly’ star told the paper.

AJ said he had to drag his younger brother away from danger as the nightclub’s security moved in to break up the melee.

His t-shirt was left covered in his brother’s blood – Curtis had suffered injuries to his shins, nose, lips and face – including an eye that was swollen shut.

Curtis said he knew something was wrong with his leg when he was unable to put pressure on it as he tried to walk.

The dancer told the paper he hopes an operation can correct any damage to his knee without complications, adding: “There’s a chance my dancing career is over.”

AJ said that his father had been left in tears by the incident, while a statement released by the Pritchard family on Sunday said statements about the “unprovoked attack” had been given to Cheshire Police.

The police have subsequently told the paper a 20-year-old man had been arrested and released under investigation.

Plenty of ‘Strictly’ stars posted messages in support of the brothers following the shock attack, with AJ’s 2018 partner Lauren Steadman wishing them “speedy recoveries” and writing on Instagram: “Hoping my dance partner will get his smile back soon.” 

“Wtf is wrong with people??” added AJ’s fellow pro Giovanni Pernice. “Disgusting.”