ENTERTAINMENT
06/03/2020 13:14 GMT | Updated 06/03/2020 16:12 GMT

Kevin Clifton Quits Strictly Come Dancing After Seven Years

The professional dancer is leaving the BBC ballroom show.

Kevin Clifton has quit Strictly Come Dancing

The professional dancer announced the news he is leaving the BBC ballroom show after seven years in a post on his Instagram Story and Twitter account on Friday. 

He wrote: “To the entire Strictly family, The past 7 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.

SIPA USA/PA Images
Kevin Clifton has quit Strictly Come Dancing

“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.”

He continued:  “I want to thank all of the pros for inspiring me every day as well as all of my celebrity partners. The whole team behind the scenes have made always made the Strictly family what it is and the loveliest show to work for.

“Thank you to anyone who has ever voted for me and my partners. It means the world. And a special thank you to Jason Gilkison for always believing in me.”

READ MORE: 9 Of Kevin Clifton’s Most Dazzling Strictly Come Dancing Routines

Kevin added: “To me Strictly always has been and always will be the best show on tv and has been an absolute dream and honour to be a part of.

“Pre 2013 I used to watch every week. Now I look forward to returning to being a fan and cheering on my friends who keep dancing.”

Kevin joined the show in 2013 with then-girlfriend Karen Hauer. The pair married in 2015, before announcing their split in 2018.

PA
Kevin joined the show with Karen Hauer in 2013

During his time on the show, Kevin was paired with Susanna Reid, Frankie Bridge, Kellie Bright, Louise Redknapp, Susan Calman, Stacey Dooley and Anneka Rice. 

He reached five Strictly finals before lifting the Glitterball trophy for the first time in 2018 with Stacey, who he is now in a relationship with. 

The BBC said Kevin would be “hugely missed” by his fans and colleagues. 

Paying tribute, a spokesperson for the show said: “Kevin has been such a brilliant part of Strictly for the past seven years.

“From reaching the final an impressive five times, to lifting the Glitterball with Stacey Dooley in 2018, he has provided the show with some fantastic moments, through his exceptional talent as a dancer and choreographer. He will be hugely missed by fans and by his Strictly family.  

“He will always be our Kevin from Grimsby.”

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One in the autumn. 

Photo gallery Strictly Come Dancing's Biggest Feuds And Fall-Outs See Gallery