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21/08/2019 19:27 BST | Updated 21/08/2019 19:39 BST

Strictly Come Dancing Pro Gorka Marquez Announces Reduced Role On New Series

The dancer, who has just become a father with girlfriend Gemma Atkinson, won't receive a celebrity partner this year.

Gorka Marquez has announced he will not be receiving a celebrity partner on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing

The Spanish dancer is the second regular professional to be relegated to the subs bench this year, after Graziano Di Prima also revealed he will only feature in group routines

Gorka - who has just become a father for the first time - confirmed previous reports about his Strictly future on Instagram on Wednesday. 

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Gorka Marquez will not be paired up on the new series of Strictly

He wrote: “For everybody that’s been asking, I can let you know that this series, I sadly won’t be partnered with a celebrity for the main series of Strictly. 

“However, I will still be heavily involved in all of the group numbers and all things Strictly!”

“I’m excited to see this year’s celebs and my fellow professionals dance for the Glitter Ball and I hope to be back fighting for it next year. As always, it’s gonna be a GREAT series.”

Gorka joined Strictly in 2016 and has previously partnered Tameka Empson, Alexandra Burke and Katie Piper. 

The star and his girlfriend, former Strictly contestant Gemma Atkinson, welcomed daughter Mia last month, after the couple met on the show in 2017. 

When asked by a follower if it was his decision to reduce his role in order to spend more time with his family, Gorka replied: “Not really, LOL. But I will.”

Mike Marsland via Getty Images

Tabloid reports also claimed he was not the right height to be paired with any of this year’s female contestants, who include RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage and Coronation Street star Catherine Tyldesley. 

In a statement on Instagram, Graziano also revealed he wouldn’t be paired up this year, writing: “Just letting all the fans know that I will not have a celeb partner this series, but don’t worry…I am not going anywhere.

“You will see my every Saturday/Sunday nights in all out amazing group dances, on It Takes Two and across the series.”

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Graziano Di Prima will also not have a celebrity partner this year

Speculation had been mounting as to which professionals would end up without a partner this year, amid reports Neil Jones has been promoted.

Neil - who split from wife and fellow Strictly pro Katya Jones last week - has been on the show for three years and has not received a celebrity partner for the main series, but has been paired up for Christmas and Children In Need specials. 

Last year, newcomers Johannes Radebe and Luba Mushtuk were also left without partners. 

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Neil Jones, here with ex-wife Katya, is rumoured to have been promoted this year

Graziano’s first series was not without controversy, as there were rumours he and partner Vick Hope failed to hit it off. 

After they were voted out in the fifth week of the competition, Vick ‘liked’ a tweet which said she would have gone further with Neil Jones as her partner. 

Graziano also spoke out to distance himself from comments Vick made about judge Shirley Ballas, after she claimed the head panellist had “relished” in criticising her. 

The new batch of 15 celebrities taking part in this year’s series will discover who their dance partner is during a special launch show next month, which will also feature a performance from Kylie Minogue.

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One next month.

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