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28/03/2020 09:05 GMT | Updated 28/03/2020 09:20 GMT

‘It Kills You’: AJ Pritchard Says It Was A ‘Relief’ To Quit Strictly Come Dancing

The professional dancer announced he was leaving the BBC dance show earlier this week.

AJ Pritchard has said it was a “relief” to quit Strictly Come Dancing.

Earlier this week, the 25-year-old announced he was leaving the BBC dance show after five years.

The professional dancer had previously been confirmed for this year’s series of Strictly when the BBC revealed the professional line-up just two weeks ago.

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AJ Pritchard

But now AJ has admitted he won’t be missing the gruelling hours and pressure involved in being a part of the biggest show on TV.

“It took up six months of my life,” he told The Sun. “Some days I would work 18-hour days because I was dancing and choreographing.

“I didn’t have a life and I wanted to be able to do more. I want to show people what I’m about — not just, ‘Here’s my celebrity partner this year that I’m going to showcase’.”

“Every single year I thought, ‘How the hell am I going to get out of bed to keep going?’ — because of the sheer energy levels.

“You would do 18-hour days, mentally there is a lot of stress on you and you’re on TV every day. It kills you.

“I won’t miss Monday morning rehearsals in a freezing studio at 8am. I will happily never do that again. There’s a lot of strain, both physically and mentally.”

He added: “I did have to turn down things in the past, which I was upset about sometimes, but I understood I was part of Strictly Come Dancing. Now I am going to pursue things I didn’t have the time for. It’s the right move.

“It’s a relief to finally quit. If I didn’t further my development now, while at my peak mental well-being, I would regret it.”

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AJ is planning on launching a TV career with his brother Curtis

AJ now plans to embark on a TV presenting career with his brother Curtis, who found fame on Love Island last year.

He has said the pair have been inspired by Ant and Dec’s on-screen double-act.

He said: “We would love to be that presenting duo, like them. We want to bring our brand — that all-singing, all-dancing Saturday night style of family entertainment, a bit like Bruce Forsyth.”

AJ’s exit from Strictly comes just three weeks after fellow professional Kevin Clifton also announced that he was leaving the show.

Earlier this month, AJ and Curtis embarked on a UK tour together, having also made a joint appearance during the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK last year.

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