26/03/2020 15:11 GMT | Updated 26/03/2020 16:14 GMT

AJ Pritchard Quits Strictly Come Dancing After Four Years

The dancer joined the BBC ballroom show in 2016, but has decided not to stay for the upcoming series.

Strictly Come Dancing professional AJ Pritchard has announced he is stepping down from the show ahead of this year’s series.

The dancer has been with the hit BBC ballroom show since 2016, and had previously been paired up with athletes Claudia Fragapane and Lauren Steadman, singer Mollie King and YouTuber Saffron Barker.

However, on Thursday afternoon, AJ revealed on Twitter he’d quit with the intention of pursuing a career as a presenter, alongside his brother, fellow dancer and former Love Island star Curtis Pritchard.

“I have some news for you all,” he explained. “Please see the below statement from my team... also sending my love to everyone in this difficult time, please keep safe.”

AJ Pritchard

His spokesperson continued: “After four years on Strictly Come Dancing, AJ has decided the time is right to leave the show and follow his dreams to explore opportunities within the presenting world alongside his brother Curtis.

“AJ would like to thank the team at Strictly and everyone at the BBC for giving him such a brilliant opportunity.”

They added: “AJ would also like to extend his love and gratitude to all who have followed and supported his career. He is excited for you all to join him on the next chapter of his journey.”

A BBC rep later said: “We would like to thank AJ for four fantastic years on Strictly Come Dancing. He is a brilliant dancer who reached three semi-finals during his time on the show.

“He will be missed by fans and the Strictly family. We wish him all the best for the future.”

Interestingly, AJ had previously been confirmed for this year’s series of Strictly when the BBC revealed the professional line-up just two weeks ago.

His exit comes just three weeks after fellow professional Kevin Clifton also announced that he was leaving the show.

Earlier this month, AJ and Curtis embarked on a UK tour together, having also made a joint appearance during the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK last year.