Strictly Come Dancing legend confirms return to BBC show

Undated BBC handout photo of the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 logo.
-Credit: (Image: PA)

Strictly Come Dancing is set to welcome back a familiar face as a huge star is returning to the beloved BBC dance show.

Alijaz Skorjanec's comeback was revealed on The One Show, where he expressed his excitement about returning to the dance floor.

Speaking during Monday night's episode which was moved over to BBC Two, he said: "What haven't I missed. I got to look after my beautiful wife, my beautiful baby for two years. But I missed everything about Strictly."

The professional dancer had previously left the show in 2022 after a nine-year stint, with his last appearance being in 2021, the Mirror reports.

Aljaz Skorjanec
Aljaz Skorjanec's return to Strictly was confirmed on The One show -Credit:BBC

He had nothing but praise for his wife Janette Manrara, who also departed the show in 2021, in his social media statement at the time.

His post read: "On a beautiful sunny day in May 2013 one phone call changed my life forever! It went like this... we would like to offer you a position on @bbcstrictly as a professional dancer.

"A dream became a reality and it was the biggest opportunity for a 23 year old boy from Slovenia. It didn't matter how many beautiful ballrooms I performed in during my competitive career, stepping onto the sacred Strictly floor was the most nervous I had ever been.

"A little while ago I made the tough decision that Strictly 2021 would be my last. The show has given me an opportunity and freedom to create and express myself in front of millions of people every weekend for the last nine years.

"The love and support I got from the team of producers was second to none. Louise Rainbow, Sarah James, Kim Winston, Jack Gledhill are just a few of the unsung heroes behind the success of the show - I am forever grateful to them!

Undated BBC handout photo of Viscountess Emma Weymouth with her dance partner Aljaz Skorjanec who are appearing in this year's BBC1 dance contest, Strictly Come Dancing.
Viscountess Emma Weymouth with her dance partner Aljaz -Credit:Ray Burmiston/BBC/PA Wire

"Being a part of a group of professionals that inspire and push you to be better every step of the way is humbling and I will carry that inspiration with me forever. Every year the lineup of dancers would change but one thing stayed the same, WE WERE THE BEST! And this is one thing that I know will never change on Strictly!"

"Strictly also has the BEST backstage team - the hair and makeup team, costume department, lighting, sound, props and special effects, camera operators... THANK YOU! My beautiful partners - Abbey Clancy, Alison Hammond, Helen George, Daisy Lowe, Kate Silverton, Gemma Atkinson, Emma Weymouth, Clara Amfo and Sara Davies."

He added: "It's hard to put into words how many beautiful memories we have had. I LOVE YOU ALL! To my bucka.. from picking songs, creating stories and choreographing steps we always did it as a team. Your talent and selflessness knows no bounds.

"We were dating when we started together on the show and now we are husband and wife. We got to perform with Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, BBC Symphony Orchestra.. moments I will keep in my heart forever. I LOVE YOU!"

Aljaz's last appearance on the show was back in 2021
Aljaz's last appearance on the show was back in 2021 -Credit:PA

Aljaz concluded his message by saying: "And finally, thank YOU, the people that watch Strictly who have been so kind to me all these years. Every comment, vote, kind message never went unnoticed. You are the reason we all do it, thank you!

"I have lots of exciting stuff planned that I will fill you in on soon. I can't wait to see what the future holds! KEEEEEP DANCING! "

This revelation followed the unexpected collapse of plans for Strictly Come Dancing's 20th anniversary celebration at Buckingham Palace which fell through much to show bosses' surprise as it had already received Queen Camilla's approval.

The BBC executives were reportedly deep into negotiations with the palace to broadcast a special episode from within its stately confines, even considering which grand room would transform into the dance floor.

Yet, last month saw an abrupt end to these talks, coming shortly after the BBC's probe into Giovanni Pernice. The 33-year-old show favourite is currently embroiled in controversy, facing "abuse" accusations from not one but three former dance partners.

Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec at the 2023 Pride of Britain Awards on 8th October 2023
Aljaz Skorjanec and his wife Janette Manrara -Credit:Daily Mirror

Amidst the turmoil, a royal insider insisted that the event's cancellation was purely down to "diary commitments and logistical problems".

However, rumours are rife that the BBC's ongoing investigation may have influenced the decision.

A palace source revealed: "The Queen is, very famously, a huge fan of Strictly who has met many of the stars over the years and danced with them, too."

Her Majesty was reportedly delighted at the prospect of Strictly sashaying into Buckingham Palace for its landmark anniversary and was keen to join in the celebration.

Nevertheless, her longstanding dedication to the fight against violence towards women, a cause she has ardently supported for more than ten years, could not be ignored.

There were concerns that hosting the programme might overshadow the Palace's reputation in light of recent events.

As a result, the collaboration with the BBC for this year was reluctantly postponed.

Queen Camilla has previously expressed her love for the dance competition earlier this year, saying: "We all watch it. I'm one of Strictly's greatest fans."

Giovanni, who has since departed from the show, refutes all allegations and is fully cooperating with the inquiry. Representatives for both the Palace and Strictly declined to comment.

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