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25/06/2021 11:31 BST

Kevin Clifton Gets Real About Previous Tensions Between Strictly Come Dancing Professionals

He's admitted that rivalries used to form when new dancers were introduced into the fold.

Former Strictly Come Dancing star Kevin Clifton has opened up about the rivalries that can form between the show’s cast of professional dancers.

Kevin joined Strictly in 2013, and during his time with the BBC reality show, performed with stars like Susanna Reid, Louise Redknapp, Anneka Rice and eventual winner (not to mention his future girlfriend) Stacey Dooley.

However, reflecting on his early years at Strictly, he has admitted that there could be a bit of tension when new dancers were welcomed into the fold.

Karwai Tang via Getty Images
Kevin Clifton at the 2019 Strictly launch

Kevin told the Real Life Sports Show podcast: “If I’m honest, when I first joined there was a couple of them that had sort of been there a few years, that were probably on their last year or two... they could be a bit angsty in the room.

“[They especially] didn’t like it if us younger... the likes of me and Aljaž [Škorjanec] coming in, you know, like if us young whipper-snappers were getting put at the front [in group routines] or something...”

When host Sam Adams suggested “egos” were coming into play, Kevin agreed: “Yeah, a couple of egos in there, but then they left and it sort of quietened down.”

He added: “I think now it’s probably the best sort of group, more than ever, where everyone’s just working for the best result they can for the show. It’s very much a team.” 

Karwai Tang via Getty Images
Kevin posing with his fellow male Strictly pros in 2018

Kevin left Strictly in 2020 to pursue a career in musical theatre, although when the pandemic hit in March, that didn’t quite go to plan.

He told HuffPost UK at the end of last year: “I got offered the part [in a touring production of Strictly Ballroom], said I was leaving Strictly for a life in the theatre… and then there was no more theatre.”

Strictly is set to return to our screens later this year, although two regular professionals will not be returning to the dance floor.

Janette Manrara is moving on to spin-off show It Takes Two, where she’ll replace Zoe Ball as host, while Anton Du Beke will be taking over from Bruno Tonioli on the judging panel.