Kevin Clifton gave warning to Strictly bosses year before quitting ‘I’d done everything!’

Strictly: Kevin Clifton discusses ‘rules’ on series

Kevin Clifton, 38, has now shared how he felt it was “the right time” to leave Strictly Come Dancing back in 2018, after winning the series with dance partner and now girlfriend Stacey Dooley. The professional dancer explained that he had accomplished everything he “wanted” during his time in the dance contest, and had warned bosses that “unless” they partnered him with a man, he would be leaving.

I’d been talking about leaving for a year

Kevin Clifton

Despite the coronavirus pandemic causing theatre closures around the country, Kevin still does not regret his decision to leave the show to pursue a career on stage.

He said: “I still feel like it was the right time [to leave Strictly]. Strictly Ballroom was sort of the catalyst, but to be honest, I’d been talking to [Strictly] about leaving for about a year.

“On my last year of the show, I said to them, ‘I am thinking about when’s the right time to leave’, because I’d done seven years on the show, and I sort of felt like I’d done everything that I wanted to do on the show.”

The star did not want to carry on for the “sake of being on TV” and only wanted to stay if he could try other approaches, such as being placed with a male partner.

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Kevin continued to Huffington Post: “I said to them, ‘If I carry on for an eighth year unless you go down the route of partnering me with a man, it’s sort of going to be a repeat of something I’ve already done’.”

A part of the dancer’s motivation to leave Strictly was to explore other avenues, such as appearing in a theatre production.

He added: “I’ve just turned 38, I didn’t want to do it just for the sake of being on TV… and I wanted to try and chase some other things that I really wanted to do, like theatre, which I really love doing.”

The star is now seeking to step out of his “comfort zone” as he gets older, but it has been made difficult due to theatres keeping their doors closed amid government restrictions.

Kevin stepped down from Strictly in early March last year just before the first UK lockdown began.

The professional dancer announced his departure in a statement posted to his Instagram.

“The past seven years have been some of the most wonderful years of my life,” he wrote. 

“I am grateful to the BBC and Strictly Come Dancing for giving me the opportunity to have been a part of something truly special.

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“After finishing the last series with the Children In Need trophy and the Christmas Special I want to leave on a high and have therefore decided the time has come to move on and focus on other areas of my life and career.”(sic)

Kevin has been regularly recording his The Kevin Clifton Show podcast, where he has recalled various Strictly moments.

During a recent instalment, the dancer expressed his irritation at his girlfriend Stacey being able to continue working on TV while he remained at home.

He shared: “I’ve started to get an itching to get back to work, and my girlfriend is back at work. I’m getting jealous of that. I’m starting to get really fed up now.”

The dancer explained how social media could often put pressure on people to achieve goals during their free time, but he has found it a struggle being away from work.

Kevin shared: “You go on Instagram, and you start seeing all these quotes like, ‘Well it was in the lockdown situation that Shakespeare wrote three of his best things’.”

This morning he will be joining Alan Titchmarsh on Love Your Weekend that sees the famed gardener celebrating life in the countryside with celebrity guests.

Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh airs on ITV at 10am today.

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