Kevin Clifton was one of the most popular dancers on Strictly – until he decided to walk away from the hit show that made him famous.
The dancer from Grimsby has an army of fans who were thrilled when he and Stacey Dooley revealed they were in a relationship after they lifted the Glitterball trophy in 2018.
Kevin and Stacey have been spending lockdown in their London love nest.
But four months ago Kevin announced he would not be returning to the hit BBC show in 2020 after nine years on the ballroom dance floor.
Announcing his decision to quit in March, Kevin said: “The past seven 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.”
He 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.”
Instead, he planned to launch a career on the stage – Kevin can also act and sing – starting with an epic tour with his sister.
However, the coronavirus lockdown has closed theatres around the UK and as yet, Kevin is unsure when he can pick up his dancing shoes once more.
When Boris Johnson closed theatres up and down the country in March, Kevin was already in rehearsals with his fellow dancer sister, Joanne, for their upcoming show.
Burn the Floor: Kevin vs Joanne was due to start in June – and the siblings couldn’t wait to perform together for the first time since they were teenagers.
There is still hope the show will be able to go ahead this autumn as the UK slowly starts to reopen – but there are no guarantees.
Kevin told The Guardian: “It was the show we’ve always dreamed of since we were kids. Now we don’t know what’s happening. We’re in talks about next year, but I don’t know if Joanne will be available then.”
Kevin was also due to take up a role in Craig Revel-Horwood’s Strictly Ballroom: The Musical, which should have been opening in a few weeks time.
Uncertainty about what the future will bring has prompted the 37-year-old to question his decision to quit Strictly in March.
He said: “I can’t leave my sister high and dry, and go back on Strictly. I don’t know. Never say never.
“I’ve made that decision [to leave Strictly]. And it would feel weird if I suddenly went back again.”
Kevin has also revealed he had a secret – and huge – international project in the planning for 2022, which he was banned from talking about.
But now Strictly Ballroom: The Musical has been pushed back because of coronavirus, that also looks to be under-threat.
Kevin said: “Hopefully, Covid-19 is going to go away at some point.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Strictly will be a lot shorter this year with an October start date and fewer celebrities hitting the dancefloor.
The series will be delayed by a fortnight as BBC bosses try to keep everyone safe while filming within the safety guidelines.
Extra time is needed to isolate the professionals between recording group dances in late August and starting rehearsals with their celeb partners.
The pros will live together in a hotel amid group session filming, then be quarantined for 14 days.