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Dan Walker criticises Strictly bosses over reports Nadiya Bychkova is not paired with celebrity

It has been reported the Strictly pro dancer has not been given a partner in the competition this year.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 20:00:00 on 05/12/2021 - Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 05/12/2021 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ++RESULTS SHOW++
*NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 2000hrs, SUNDAY 5TH Â DECEMBER, 2021* Dan Walker, Nadiya Bychkova - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Dan Walker is 'gutted' Nadiya Bychova may not be competing in Strictly Come Dancing 223. (BBC)

Dan Walker has criticised Strictly Come Dancing bosses over reports that Nadiya Bychova does not have a celebrity partner this year.

The dance pairings for the latest series of the BBC dance show are yet to be confirmed. But the celebrities have already been matched with their professional partners for 2023 in a launch show pre-recorded on 6 September, and it has been claimed Bychova has missed out this year.

Walker, who was paired with the Ukrainian professional dancer in 2021, wrote on Instagram: "Strictly is such an amazing show and it’s almost time for the new series… what a great line-up this year.

"All the pros are great but gutted to hear that @nadiyabychkova hasn’t got a partner. I’m sure she’s still looking forward to being part of the biggest show on TV but it feels a bit like putting Messi on the bench for the World Cup final!

"She is so talented, the best teacher anyone could hope for, a top class lobster and… she’s the Yorkshire Barmaid!"

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The former BBC Breakfast host reached the 2022 quarter final with Bychkova after the pair proved a hit with viewers, despite his mediocre scores from the judges. This was the furthest Bychova, 34, has got in the dance contest since she joined Strictly in 2017.

Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychova performed a lobster dance for Strictly 2021 Halloween special.
Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychova performed a lobster dance for Strictly 2021 Halloween special. (BBC)

In 2022 Bychova was paired with Bros star Matt Goss and they were the third couple to be eliminated from the competition.

Her other celebrity partners have included EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami, Blue singer Lee Ryan and footballer David James.

She was previously left without a partner in 2018.

Matt Goss and Nadiya Bychkova are told by Tess Daly they have been elimnated from Strictly 2022. (BBC)
Matt Goss and Nadiya Bychkova were sad to leave in the third week in Strictly 2022. (BBC)

The show currently has 18 professional dancers signed up and 15 celebrities taking part. Every year some pros are left unpaired, but they still appear on the show and join in group dances. They are also on stand by in case of any illness or injury among the professionals during the series.

Before the series launches the celebrity contestants and pro dancers take part in a number of practice sessions so assess their compatibility and they are paired based on these sessions.

Producers also decide the partnerships based on height and other factors that need to be taken into consideration when matching a pair that will be able to dance together and attempt lifts and stunts.

Watch: Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychova made it to the Strictly quarter final in 2021