The British dancer joined Strictly in 2016 alongside his then-wife Katya Jones, but while she has been part of some of the show’s most memorable pairings ever in her seven-year tenure, Neil has notably only ever competed on the main show on a handful of occasions.
Speaking to Radio Times ahead of this year’s Strictly launch, Neil insisted he had no problem with his experience.
“I think this is going to be my eighth series, and I’ve had two partners on the main show,” Neil explained.
“I would honestly say to you, I love when I have a partner, and I love when I don’t have a partner.”
Defending his role within the Strictly team, he added: “When you don’t have a partner, a lot of people think you just sit at home. But you really don’t.
“On Strictly, they make sure you’ve got plenty to do. We’re doing group numbers and music acts, we help out other pros.”
Neil received a Strictly partner for the first time in 2019, when he was paired up with former Lioness Alex Scott.
He and Alex eventually made it to the quarter-finals, and two years later he received his second partner in actor Nina Wadia, although they were eliminated first in their series.
Throughout his time on Strictly, Neil has also danced with stars including Rosie Ramsey, Mel Giedroyc, Konnie Huq and Judy Murray on various Christmas and charity specials.
It’s yet to be revealed whether Neil will receive a partner on the upcoming series of Strictly. This year’s pairings will be unveiled during the pre-recorded launch show which airs on Saturday at 6.35pm on BBC One.