Kevin Clifton stunned fans of Strictly Come Dancing earlier this year when he announced he had quit the show, and now the pro dancer has explained his dramatic exit.
Speaking on his podcast, the professional dancer said he had kept an “open dialogue” with Strictly producers throughout, claiming his departure “wasn’t something that came completely out of the blue”.
“We were very open with each other,” he told listeners.
“They were aware a while back that I was starting to, at least, think about when was going to be the time [to leave].”
He added: “Me leaving, hopefully it gives younger dancers a chance to come through now.”
“No one’s bigger than the show,” he said.
Clifton joined the much-loved BBC dancing contest in 2011 and went on to enjoy seven series, winning the 16th iteration with his celebrity partner Stacey Dooley, with whom he is now in a relationship.
Earlier this month, Clifton announced his first role since quitting the competition; he is set to play the character of Scott Hastings in a forthcoming UK & Ireland tour of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom the Musical.
Strictly Come Dancing recently confirmed its professional line-up for 2020, with several familiar dancers set to be making a comeback.