Gorka Marquez has revealed he won’t be paired with a celebrity for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, hours after fellow pro Graziano Di Prima admitted he had been ‘demoted’ from the show’s main line-up.
The Spanish ballroom sensation, 28, who joined the show in 2016, made the shock announcement on his Instagram but declared he hopes to be back ‘fighting for the Glitterball’ in next year’s competition.
He wrote: ‘For everybody that’s been asking, I can let you know that this series, I sadly won’t be partnered with a celebrity for the main series of Strictly. However, I will still be heavily involved in all of the group numbers and all things Strictly!
Shock: Gorka Marquez has revealed he won’t be paired with a celebrity for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing (pictured at rehearsals on Tuesday)
2018 series: The Spanish ballroom sensation, 28, who joined the show in 2016, made the shock announcement on his Instagram (above with last year’s partner Katie Piper)
‘I’m excited to see this year’s celebs and my fellow professionals dance for the Glitter Ball and I hope to be back fighting for it next year.
‘As always, it’s gonna be a GREAT series.’
The dancer – who welcomed baby daughter Mia with partner and Strictly alum Gemma Atkinson last month – responded to a fan’s claim that he left the line-up to spend more time at home, saying it wasn’t his choice to be dropped from the main line-up.
Not to be: Gorka declared he hopes to be back ‘fighting for the Glitterball’ in next year’s competition in his emotional post
Clarified: Gorka also set the record straight, saying it was’t his choice to leave the line-up
When the fan asked: ‘I hope it’s your choice so you can spend more time with baby and mum?’ he wrote ‘not really, LOL. But I will.’
MailOnline has contacted a BBC spokesman for comment.
Gorka has made waves since joining the show three years ago, swiftly becoming one of the most popular pros.
Wow: Gorka has made waves since joining the show three years ago, swiftly becoming one of the most popular pros. He reached the 2017 final with partner Alexandra Burke
2016 debut: In his first year the Latin king made it to week three with EastEnders star Tameka Empson
In his first year he only made it to week three with EastEnders star Tameka Empson.
But Gorka’s luck changed in 2017, as he soared through to the final with partner Alexandra Burke.
Last year he made it to week four with charity campaigner Katie Piper.
Earlier this week The Sun claimed that Gorka had been dropped in favour of former background dancer Neil Jones, as the Spaniard wasn’t tall enough for many of this year’s female celebrities.
New addition? Earlier this week The Sun claimed that Gorka had been dropped in favour of former background dancer Neil Jones, as the Spaniard wasn’t tall enough for many of this year’s female celebrities
The announcement comes hours after ballroom pro Graziano Di Prima has revealed that he has been ‘demoted’ from the main Strictly Come Dancing line-up and won’t have a celebrity partner on the 2019 series.
The professional dancer, 25, took to his Instagram account on Wednesday to confirm the news as he shared a heartfelt statement.
He said: ‘Just letting the fans know that I will not have a celeb partner this series, but don’t worry… I am not going anywhere!
‘Demoted’: The announcement comes hours after ballroom pro Graziano Di Prima has revealed that he has been ‘demoted’ from the main Strictly Come Dancing line-up and won’t have a celebrity partner on the 2019 series
‘You will see me every Saturday/Sunday nights in all our amazing group dances, on It Takes Two and across the series. We have some amazing routines already and I can’t wait for you to see them all!
‘To my fellow pros, good luck for a magical series! Let’s do this and I love you all! Graz,’ followed by a heart emoji.
Graziano’s fellow dancers were quick to send their support and love with Kevin Clifton revealing the same happened to his sister, Joanne, who went on to win the show in 2016.
He said: ‘Mate my sister was the same in her 2nd series. In her 3rd series she won! You’re one of the best dancers i know so get ready to OWN 2020 ! ♥️.’
Announcement: The professional dancer, 25, took to his Instagram account on Wednesday to confirm the news as he shared a heartfelt statement
Former celeb partner: Graziano joined the show in 2018 and was paired with Vick Hope (pictured)
While Katya Jones put: ‘We love you !!!! ❤️’, and Dianne Buswell commented: ‘❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Love ya brother.’
Graziano’s news comes just hours after the 15 celebrities seeking to get their hands on the coveted Glitterball Trophy met with their professional dancers for the first time for a day of dancing and mingling on Tuesday.
The day saw the professionals introduce themselves to their possible partners before all the contestants put their moves to the test in a group dancing session.
Support: Graziano’s fellow dancers were quick to send their support and love with Kevin Clifton revealing the same happened to his sister, Joanne
In a series of clips posted to Instagram, professional dancers Dianne Buswell and AJ Pritchard were seen eagerly anticipating the moment at which they would get to meet their celebrity contestants.
Dianne said: ‘So we are moments away from meeting this year’s celebrities. How you feeling AJ?’ before AJ replied: ‘I think they’re going to be nervous. I am always chill.’
In another clip, YouTuber Saffron Barker stood alongside footballer Alex Scott and told fans: ‘We’re about to go meet the pros for the first time how do you feel?’ to which Alex replied: ‘I actually feel nervous I don’t know why.’
Hugs all round! Graziano’s news comes just hours after the 15 celebrities seeking to get their hands on the coveted Glitterball Trophy met with their professional dancers for the first time
Excited: In a series of clips posted to Instagram, professional dancers Dianne Buswell (left) and AJ Pritchard (right) were seen eagerly waiting to meet the celebrities
Nervous! In another clip, YouTuber Saffron Barker (right) stood alongside footballer Alex Scott (left) and told fans: ‘We’re about to go meet the pros for the first time how do you feel?’
The professional dancers were later seen excitedly running into the studio donning their dance gear before lining themselves on the opposite side of the hall to face their celebrities.
Following an explosion of glitter and confetti, the celebrities and professional dancers exchanged hugs and immersed themselves into conversation.
During one comical scene professional dancer Janette Manrara was seen measuring herself next to footballer David James and athlete James Cracknell before glancing over to the camera, suggesting the height difference might cause a few problems.
The professionals: The dancers were later seen excitedly running into the studio donning their dance gear before lining themselves on the opposite side of the hall to face their celebrities
Face on: The dancers lined themselves on the opposite sides of the hall to face each other
Good vibes: The professionals and the celebrities took part in a group dance session
Also present at the meet and greet were Strictly presenters Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daley who excitedly watched the celebrity contestants introduce themselves to the professionals.
Claudia told fans: ‘There’s a lot of chat. I can’t hear myself think and I’m 47!’
The group get together comes a day after the class of 2019 congregated in a London studio on Monday for their very first group rehearsal.
The snap, which was posted to Instagram by Coronation Street star Catherine Tyldesley, showed the hopeful contestants beaming at the camera next to the caption: ‘My fabulous new @bbcstrictly family.’
Look who it is! Also present at the meet and greet were Strictly presenters Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daley
Say cheese! The Strictly class of 2019 congregated in a London dance studio on Monday for their very first group rehearsal
STRICTLY COME DANCING 2019: WHO ARE THE STARS?
Doing the funny fandango: Chris is known for his career in comedy
Name: Chris Ramsey
Famous for? Comedian and TV presenter
About Chris: With two series of The Chris Ramsey Show under his belt, he is also a regular face on other entertainment shows such as Celebrity Juice, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Live at the Comedy Store. He has also appeared on TV hosting Stand Up Central, and I’m a Celebrity: Extra Camp. In addition to his television work, Chris has also completed sell-out tours across the UK. Chris finished touring the UK last year with his 106 date stand-up tour Chris Ramsay Live 2018: The Just Happy To Get Out of the House Tour.
Chris says: ‘I’m both excited and absolutely terrified to be doing the show. You will not find me on the dance floor at parties, you will find me at the buffet table. All night. At my wedding I danced with my wife; that one song took about 6 months practice, and I definitely stood on her feet a couple of times. So I’m looking forward to the possibility of making a fool of myself in front of millions of people… there better be a buffet after the live shows!’
Waltzing from Walford: Emma plays Honey Mitchell on EastEnders
Name: Emma Barton
Famous for? Playing Honey Mitchell in EastEnders from 2005 to 2008, then returning to the roll from 2014 to present.
About Emma: As well as many on screen roles, Emma is also an accomplished stage actress with theatre credits including: Roxie Hart in Chicago; Dolly in the National Theatre’s production of One Man Two Guvnors; Vera in Doctor in the House; Lily in Annie; Marty in Grease; Eileen in Over the Moon. She recently ran the London Marathon as one of Dame Barbara Windsor’s ‘Revolutionaries’, in aid of Dementia Revolution.
Emma says: ‘As possibly one of the biggest Strictly fans on the planet, I still can’t believe this is happening. I’m very much a dance around your handbag kinda girl, but now I’ve been given this wonderful opportunity to learn all the different styles of dancing from the very best in the business. So, I’m whipping off Honey’s Minute Mart tabard & diving right in to all the glitter & sparkle. From Albert Square to the Strictly dance floor – I just can’t wait!’
From football to foxtrot: David is a goalkeeper, artist and pundit
Name: David James MBE
Famous for? Former England No.1 goalkeeper.
About David: Starting his career at Watford, David went on to play for a number of clubs including Liverpool, where he lifted the League Cup in 1994-95, and Portsmouth, whom he helped to FA Cup success in 2007-08. He amassed 53 caps for his country over an international career spanning 13 years and was first choice at both Euro 2004 and the 2010 World Cup. David, who has worked as a football analyst for the BBC & BT Sport, was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to football and charity, and hung up his boots in 2013 after finishing his career at Icelandic club IBV. Aside from football James has also modelled for Giorgio Armani and H&M as well as being an avid artist, and was the illustrator on the book Harry’s Magic Pockets: The Circus.
David says: ‘I’m really excited to be on Strictly this year. Not just competing against this year’s stars, but being compared to previous sport stars from previous Strictly seasons. I have some big shoes to fill, #LetsGetLive.’
From the Tube to the twist: Saffron Barker is a YouTube star
Name: Saffron Barker
Famous for? Boasts over two million YouTube subscribers
About Saffron: Famous for her blend of make up, shopping and challenge videos on YouTube, the teen has made an estimated $1million since she started to make videos in 2015. The released her book My Perfectly Filtered Life in 2018. Before kick starting her solo YouTube career in 2015, Saffron was a part of a girl band called ‘Born2Blush’ with friends Libby Whitehouse, Jazmine Tiley and Georgia McNarmara. The teenager only turned 19 a week before her Strictly announcement and lives at home with her mum, dad and three brothers.
Saffron says: ‘Everyone keeps thinking I’m going to be really good. Sorry to disappoint everyone but I don’t think I’m going to be. I’d rate myself maybe a four, that’s not great!’
From the Rovers Return to the rumba: Former Corrie star Catherine Tyldesley
Name: Catherine Tyldesley
Famous for? Starring as Eva Price on Coronation Street from 2011-2018.
About Catherine: Hailing from Walkden, Greater Manchester, the stage and screen star’s acting credits include Holby City, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Sorted, Shameless and Trollied. She is best known for playing barmaid Eva Price on Corrie from 2011 until she left the role last summer to pursue different roles and spend more time with her young family. Catherine lives in Manchester with her personal trainer husband Tom Pitford and their son Alfie, four. Alongside acting, Catherine is a talented singer, releasing an album in 2016.
Catherine says: ‘I’m thrilled to be a part of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing. I’m a huge fan of the show. It’ll be my biggest challenge to date as I’m not much of a dancer, but I’ve always wanted to learn the skill and the time feels right! I’m nervous as hell but super excited to work with such talented professionals. Hold onto your jazz shoes… mine is sure to be a bumpy/clumsy/fun ride!’
Breakfast to ballroom: BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell
Name: Mike Bushell
Famous for? Presenting the sports coverage on BBC Breakfast.
About Mike: The sports presenter has been working for the BBC for nearly 30 years, after first starting out as a trainee reporter on BBC Radio Solent. He moved to BBC Breakfast after working for the 24-hour News channel. He also made headlines after a hilarious gaffe saw him tumble into a swimming pool during a live segment for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Mike also holds the world record for crossing one mile of water in a large inflatable ball in 1 hour 57 seconds. He married second wife Emily in May 2019, and has three daughters from his first marriage.
Mike says: ‘I am so excited to be joining this year’s Strictly Come Dancing. I’ve heard so many wonderful things from colleagues over the years so thrilled I’m now getting the chance. I know I will completely throw myself into the whole experience and I’m sure will love it from start to finish. I may have tried and profiled over 500 sports over the years in my Saturday morning BBC Breakfast slot but think the Strictly challenge could be the greatest. Bring on the glitter!’
From CBBC to cha cha cha: CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual
Name: Karim Zeroual
Famous for? Presenting CBBC and starring in The Sparticle Mystery.
About Karim: Karim is best known for his presenting duties on CBBC after joining the children’s television brand in 2014, he has also hosted BBC Young Dancer and Wimbledon Live. The talented 25-year-old is also currently filming a CBBC documentary, A Week to Beat the World. Karim rose to fame as a child in the West End, he has previously performed in the likes of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Far Pavillions and The Lion King. The presenter is also known for his acting credits after starring in EastEnders and as Sadiq in The Sparticle Mystery for three series from 2011 to 2015.
Karim says: ‘To be offered the chance to take part in Strictly is dumbfounding, I’m pinching myself! I’m so excited to be Strictlified. I want THE LOT. The skimpiest of clothes, the widest of flares, the brightest of colours and the tallest Cuban heel a guy can find! The more flamboyant the better… sequins galore please!’
From Longleat to the Lindy Hop: Viscountess Weymouth Emma Thynn
Name: Viscountess Weymouth Emma Thynn
Famous for? Businesswoman, chef, model and philanthropist.
About Emma: Raised in South Kensington where she was head girl at Queen’s Gate School. She later attended University College London where she studied History of Art. Following her marriage in 2013 to Ceawlin Thynn, Viscount Weymouth, Emma became the chatelaine of the Longleat Estate in Wiltshire. In 2015 Emma launched ‘Emma’s Kitchen’ at Longleat, a space for her to share her love of food and cooking using the backdrop of the original kitchens within Longleat House. In addition, Emma is a contributing editor for British Vogue.
Emma says: ‘I absolutely love watching Strictly every weekend and I can’t believe that I’m getting the chance to be on this series. I know it will be such an amazing experience from start to finish. I can’t wait for the dancing and the fabulous outfits!’
Not dragging her heels: Michelle Visage is a RuPaul’s Drag Race judge and former Celebrity Big Brother contestant
Name: Michelle Visage
Famous for? RuPaul’s Drag Race judge and Celebrity Big Brother contestant
About Michelle: Michelle is a member of the band Seduction and appears as a judge on American reality competition RuPaul’s Drag Race, which she has featured on since season three. She has also featured on all seasons of the spin-off show RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. Michelle will appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, which is set to air on BBC Three this October. Michelle was also on the fifteenth series of Celebrity Big Brother finishing in fifth place. Most recently, she has appeared as a judge on the first two seasons of Ireland’s Got Talent. This year, Michelle made her West End debut as Miss Hedge in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
Michelle says: ‘I’m very excited! I’m over the moon to be on the show! I’ve loved it for years! I can’t wait to be dramatic. I’m a woman who is 50-years-old and people of an age say I cant do it anymore but we can!’
Going for gold! Table tennis star Will Bayley will be competing in Strictly 2019
Name: Will Bayley
Famous for? Paralympic gold medal-winning table tennis player
About Will: In January 2017 Will was awarded an MBE for services for Table Tennis and is currently training to defend his Paralympic title at the Tokyo 2020 games. He recently won Gold at the Japan Open 2019. Will has suffered from arthrogryposis since birth, a rare condition which affects all four of his limbs. Will is classified as a Class 7 Paralympic athlete and was one of the stars of London 2012 and Rio 2016 games, winning consecutive silver and gold medals.
Will says: ‘I’m so proud to be on the show, it’s my family’s favourite show. I have no dance experience at all, but I hope I can do well. I want to inspire people with a disability – that would mean a lot to me. I want to prove to people I can do this.’
11th in line: Made In Chelsea’s Jamie Laing has joined the Strictly 2019 line-up
Name: Jamie Laing
Famous for? Long-running star of Made In Chelsea.
About Jamie: Jamie hosts the podcast Private Parts alongside actor-comedian Francis Boulle. Jamie has also appeared on Celebrity Hunted, The Great British Bakeoff and Famous and Fighting Crime. Jamie has appeared in the award-winning television series Made In Chelsea since 2011. As well as his media presence, Jamie is also a successful businessman, having founded the sweets brand Candy Kittens in 2012.
Jamie says: ‘I am beyond thrilled to be asked to be on Strictly, the only person potentially more thrilled is my mother. I have finally become the son she hoped for! I think I’ve got a little bit of rhythm but I went to Leeds University and I studied theatre and performance for the first year and I had to do contemporary dance. I spoke to a lot of people who had done it in the past and people said it’s the scariest thing they’ve ever done. But you have to challenge yourself. I’ve turned down other reality shows. I just want to make my mum proud.’
Challenge accepted! Anneka Rice will be back on Saturday night TV this autumn
Name: Anneka Rice
Famous for? TV shows Challenge Anneka and Treasure Hunt.
About Anneka: In 1982 Anneka became the jump-suited ‘skyrunner’ om Channel 4’s Treasure Hunt – leading to a BAFTA nomination and being bestowed with the Rear Of The Year award. Her next project, Challenge Anneka, was initially aired on BBC One and lasted from 1989-1995. It returned, on ITV, from 2006-2007. Prior to this, she adapted it in 2001 for US TV. It was branded Challenge America and hosted by Erin Brockovich. Anneka acted as a producer.
Anneka says: ‘I haven’t danced since I was 7 and Miss Beer sent me home from my ballet class because I was hopelessly uncoordinated. My family and friends haven’t seen me dance since, not at a wedding or round a handbag so it’s going to be a challenge for my partner. In fact I’ve asked for two, one on each side. I can’t see myself in a long frilly dress either. But I’m feeling recklessly excited. Strictly has always been my Autumn’s entertainment and now I’m part of it! My children will probably leave the country.’
DJ to Dance floor: Dev presents the Radio 1 Weekend Breakfast Show
Name: Dev Griffin
Famous for? Radio 1 DJ
About Dev: Dev presents the Radio 1 Weekend Breakfast Show having formerly fronted the Early Morning Show between September 2009- March 2014. He began his career as an actor, appearing in the likes of Emmerdale, The Bill and EastEnders. Dev was a contestant on Celebrity MasterChef in 2017.
Dev says: ‘I just can’t believe I’m doing Strictly, it just doesn’t feel real yet! It’s going to be so much fun, but just t