Strictly Come Dancing pro Karen Hauer says late Dave Myers helped her 'fall back in love with show'

Strictly Come Dancing star Karen Hauer has credited Dave Myers for rekindling her love for the show after they were paired in 2013.

The TV chef, who toured the world with pal Si King on their cookery show the Hairy Bikers, passed away at 66 in February following a battle with cancer.

Reflecting on their friendship, Hauer said Myers' zest for life had a lasting impact on her, even after their week seven exit in the eleventh series of the popular BBC show.

During an appearance on Tuesday’s Good Morning Britain, she fondly recalled her favourite dance partner: “I love all my dance partners, but one that is very close to my heart is Dave Myers, who I absolutely adored.

“He was just everything, a bundle of joy. Because of him, I started to enjoy Strictly more and made sure I was being myself and not taking things too seriously.”

Hauer pictured with Dave Myers on 2013’s Strictly Come Dancing (BBC)
Hauer pictured with Dave Myers on 2013’s Strictly Come Dancing (BBC)

The 42-year-old appeared on the show with fellow Strictly professional Gorka Marquez to promote their current Speakeasy tour, and shared their bittersweet feelings returning to the BBC series following the departure of their close friend Giovanni Pernice.

Marquez said: “It's like when Aljaž Škorjanec left or when Anton Du Beke took the judging role. Everybody is a big part of the show.

“When someone decides to leave or change their careers, it's sad for everybody.”

Their appearance follows reports that the Strictly Come Dancing cast has been forbidden from discussing Pernice’s "bullying row."

Allegedly producers are eager to preserve the show's family-friendly image and want to avoid further controversy. The BBC initiated an investigation after Pernice, 33, faced accusations of "bullying behavior".

Gorka Marquez spoke about Pernice’s departure from the series (ITV)
Gorka Marquez spoke about Pernice’s departure from the series (ITV)

As the show celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, executives hope the focus will be on the milestone rather than the Pernice controversy.

The strict measures from executives follow head judge Shirley Ballas’s defence of Pernice on ITV’s Lorraine, where she described him as a “perfect gentleman.”

A source told The Sun: “We're just a few weeks away from the 2024 cast reveal, and bosses are worried that the scandal is dangerously close to overshadowing the new series.

“A lot of work has gone into this 20th anniversary season, but all anyone talks about is Giovanni.

“Shirley's passionate defense of him only added fuel to the fire. Bosses are hoping that silencing the cast will help shift the focus back to the show itself.”

In response to the report, a BBC spokesperson told The Standard: “We recently issued a statement urging the media not to indulge in speculation about complaints related to a high profile show; and as we made clear, anyone involved in a complaint has a right to both confidentiality and fair process.”