Oti Mabuse Confirms Strictly Come Dancing Exit: 'Never Easy To Say Goodbye'

The professional dancer said it had been a "difficult" decision to leave the BBC ballroom show.
Oti Mabuse is leaving Strictly Come Dancing
Oti Mabuse is leaving Strictly Come Dancing
SOPA Images via Getty Images

Oti Mabuse has announced she is leaving Strictly Come Dancing.

The dancer had been part of the professional line-up since 2015, but questions over her future on the show were raised when she was announced as a judge on ITV rival Dancing On Ice at the end of last year.

Having previously swerved answering if she would be returning to the BBC ballroom show, Oti has now revealed she has made the “difficult decision” to leave.

In a post on Instagram, Oti said she would “never forget my amazing Strictly experience” as she shared pictures with her dance partners over the years.

She wrote: “Never easy to say goodbye. I have been part of the most amazing TV show, Strictly Come Dancing for the past seven years and it has been an incredible time.

“Lifting the glitter ball twice and having the best journey with all my celebrities, but also meeting and working with the best team, crew, producers, celebs and incredible professional dancers! You are my family and I adore you all forever. Thank you @sarahjamesface @jack.will.g and @jasongilkison for truly believing in me.

“I’m honestly so grateful to The BBC and will always remember that Strictly and BBC brought me to the UK - which I now call home and I have learnt and grown so much. - Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

“I can’t put in to words how difficult this decision has been, but I have decided not to return for the next series,” she continued.

“Dance will always be my first love and to everyone, my family especially, friends, Strictly fans and judges who have been my support throughout my strictly journey, thank you for being incredible! You are irreplaceable in my heart and have made everyday unforgettable! I love you.”

Oti added: “I will always Keeeep Dancing! and I will never forget my amazing Strictly experience!”

Strictly’s executive producer Sarah James also paid tribute to Oti in a statement issued via the BBC.

She said: “Oti has been a truly wonderful part of Strictly for the past seven years. Her energy, creativity and talent have contributed to so many of the show’s most memorable moments and she will be hugely missed, not only by viewers, but the entire team.

“She leaves a dazzling legacy behind her, as the only professional dancer to lift the Glitterball Trophy in two consecutive years.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Oti and what she has achieved on the show. She will always be at the very heart of our Strictly family and we wish her every success in her already bright future.”

(Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
(Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Mike Marsland via Getty Images

During her time on the show, Oti became the only professional dancer to ever win two consecutive years, thanks to her performances with soap star Kelvin Fletcher and comic Bill Bailey.

As well as her judging role on Dancing On Ice, Oti has been trying her hand at presenting, with guest hosting roles on Morning Live and Steph’s Packed Lunch.

She has also been announced as the host of new ITV dating show Romeo & Duet, and is expected to return as a judge on the second series of The Masked Dancer later this year.

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