Aljaz Skorjanec to make Strictly Come Dancing return

Aljaz Skorjanec to make Strictly Come Dancing return

It follows a two-year hiatus

Professional dancer Aljaz Skorjanec will return to Strictly Come Dancing following a two-year hiatus, it has been announced.

TV presenter Alex Jones revealed the news on the BBC’s The One Show on Monday evening by telling viewers that a “Strictly legend and former champion” would be coming back to the ballroom for the next series, which is celebrating 20 years on TV.

Skorjanec, 34, joins a list of previously announced professionals who will be guiding the celebrities this year, including Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima and Amy Dowden.

Speaking to Jones and her co-host Lauren Laverne, Skorjanec said: “It’s been a little while now since I’ve known and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone.”

He added: “I think Strictly, like we all know, gets bigger and better every single year.

“I think especially this year for the anniversary – 20 years – it’s incredible.

“It’s such an amazing show. And I think it’s a part of British culture now.

“And the reason why we (the dancers) all do it is for everyone at home watching. And it makes so many people happy.

“It brightens up so many people’s days.

“So I think that all of us do it for that reason. So that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”

Skorjanec announced he was leaving Strictly Come Dancing in 2022 after nine years.

The Slovenian dancer and choreographer, who won the BBC One series in his debut year in 2013 with model Abbey Clancy, is married to former professional dancer Janette Manrara, the co-host of Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two.

The couple, who married in 2017, have a daughter called Lyra, was born in 2023.

The BBC announced its line-up of professionals in June and includes Welsh dancer Dowden, who was unable to compete in 2023 while she underwent treatment for stage three breast cancer.

Italian dancer Giovanni Pernice, who has faced allegations about his teaching methods, was not included in this year’s line-up.

Speaking out in a social media post in June, Pernice said he is “co-operating fully” with an ongoing BBC investigation and is looking forward to “clearing my name and establishing the truth”.

Sarah James, executive producer of Strictly, said: “We are all so thrilled that Aljaz is back in the Strictly Ballroom, bringing his incredible choreography and passion for dance.

“During his nine series he was a firm favourite with viewers across the country, I’m sure everyone is in for a treat as he joins us to entertain the nation for a very special 20th year of the show.”

The entertainment show will return to BBC One and BBC iPlayer for its new series this autumn to celebrate two decades of dance.

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