Strictly season is never without its controversies, and series 17 kicked off with Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing forced to withdraw from the main line-up after sustaining an injury – leaving pro partner Oti Mabuse without a celeb.
Luckily, Strictly had a back-up plan, with Kelvin Fletcher waiting in the wings to replace the injured reality star – and luckily, he’s really rather good…
Here’s everything you need to know about our new Strictly star….
Who is Kelvin Fletcher?
It’s quite a soap-heavy line-up for Strictly this year, with Fletcher best known for starring in Emmerdale as farmhand Andy Sugden.
While he had small parts as a child actor in Cracker and Heartbeat, Fletcher became a mainstay on our screens when he joined the Yorkshire-based soap in 1996, playing Andy for 20 years before quitting in 2016.
Fletcher sunk his teeth into a series of dramatic storylines as Andy; starting as a teen tearaway, setting fire to a barn and accidentally killing his adoptive mother, Andy soon faced other troubles – including his daughter Sarah being diagnosed with a rare disorder, starting a romantic relationship with his step-sister and his ongoing feud with his brother, Robert Sugden.
He won a British Soap Award in 1999 for Best Dramatic Performance, as well as being nominated for Best Actor in the same year.
Fletcher has focused on his career as a professional racing driver for the British GT Championships since quitting the Dales.
What did Kelvin Fletcher say about joining Strictly Come Dancing?
“Is this really happening?! It’s been the most surreal week of my life! I’m a massive fan of Strictly so it’s incredible,” he said of replacing Laing. “I’m so happy that I can be a part of it. But at the same time it’s quite bittersweet! I’m coming in on the back of Jamie’s injury – I keep thinking about him! I can’t imagine going through all this excitement and then having to pull out. My thoughts are with him – he seems like a fantastic guy and I hope he’s doing OK.”
What has Jamie Laing said about Kelvin?
While Laing has admitted he was “devastated” about having to quit the show, he has sent Fletcher a heart-warming message wishing him luck.
“Happy Sunday everyone. I just want to give a big congratulations and shout out to Kelvin Fletcher, who is taking my place on Strictly this year,” he said. “Buddy, thank you for your message. I just want to send one back because honestly, you are going to have the best time. You are going to rock the dancefloor, I can’t wait. Plus you have Oti [Mabuse] so kill it, good luck.”
Strictly Come Dancing concludes Saturday at 7.05pm on BBC One