“Unfortunately, I won’t be paired up this series,” Neil said in a video message posted to Twitter. “But do not worry, because I’m still going to be there every single week in all the group numbers, you’re going to see me in the music acts, in It Takes Two, which I love.
“I’m really really happy to be part of such a great show and I just wanted to say to everyone, thank you so much for all of your kind words and your support,” he added. “Thank you and I can’t wait for it to start.”
When RadioTimes.com asked Neil back in June about whether he’ll be taking to the ballroom with a celeb this year, Neil said: “I still don’t know! Between a few of us we’re still not sure. Of course Brendan [Cole] left, and we didn’t want him to go, but he’s six foot something.
“I’m a lot smaller than him, so it now all depends on the celebrities. Because Brendan danced with Charlotte [Hawkins] last year and there’s no way I would’ve been able to dance with her because she’s taller than me.”
This year, Strictly has cast two new male professional dancers, Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe, and Neil previously told us that they were “quite tall” and that the dancing partnerships on the show this year would be “all down to which celebrities they’ll be bringing on the show.”
“I’ve been around the show for so long now, if I have a partner – fantastic. If not, it doesn’t matter,” Neil said earlier this year. “You know what, I’m still part of the show so that’s good.”
Neil’s wife is fellow Strictly professional and reigning champion Katya Jones. She won the show with JoeMcFadden last year, but it remains to be seen whether she’ll get a celebrity partner this year, too.