Strictly Come Dancing’s Janette Manrara addresses dramatic exit: ‘Saying goodbye was sad’

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Ahead of the coronavirus lockdown, Strictly Come Dancing announced the professionals would return to the dance floor later this year. Not all of last year’s stars would be returning and professional Janette has revealed it’s been hard to say goodbye to her fellow colleagues.

Kevin Clifton and AJ Pritchard revealed they had chosen to step back from the series to pursue over opportunities.

After winning two years ago with Stacey Dooley, Kevin is going to perform on stage while AJ is hoping to land presenting opportunities with his brother Curtis.

Speaking about the pair’s decision to leave the BBC series, Janette said it was “sad” to say goodbye to Kevin as she’d known him so long.

“I’ve known Kevin for over 10 years because we did Burn The Floor together and we’d been travelling together doing the show for many, many years before we even joined Strictly Come Dancing,” she explained on FUBAR Radio’s Access All Areas.

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“Kevin, myself and Aljaž came into Strictly on the same year, so we kind of had this journey the three of us together on the show.

“To say goodbye to Kev was sad but he’s such a good friend and I know that no matter what he puts his hands on, it’s always going to be amazing.”

But Janette explained Kevin is going to pursue another of his dreams after many successful years on Strictly.

She noted: “I know he really, really, really wants to focus on his musical theatre career and other projects and other opportunities.

“I mean the guy has won everything on Strictly. He was in every final, he has every Glitterball, I don’t think he can win anything else!

“I think he was ready to go and try other things but I’m gonna miss him. He’s amazing.”

Meanwhile, Janette only got to know AJ when he signed up as a professional dancer in 2016.

“I just think AJ was incredible,” Janette recalled. “He was such a good pro on the show, so popular.

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“He was in the semi-final almost every year that he was in the show! He’s incredible.

“So I’m going to miss him a lot because he was a lovely guy to work with and a brilliant dancer.”

Last year Janette was partnered with Will Bayley and due to an injury, the pair were not able to complete their Strictly journey.

Janette has yet to lift the Glitterball Trophy so if the show returns in the Autumn, could this be her year?

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Meanwhile, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman have revealed they have a secret signal on Strictly to wish each other luck.

“We have a little secret signal and we can’t share it otherwise won’t be secret anymore,” Tess said on the official Strictly Come Dancing podcast.

Claudia added: “But we have to do it and if we don’t do it, it will all go wrong and sometimes they’re like and in five, four, three… and I’m like Tess!”

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One later this year.

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