Kevin Clifton addresses ‘very awkward’ time with Strictly co-stars after double rejection

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Strictly Come Dancing professional Kevin Clifton, 37, left the BBC show earlier this year to concentrate on other work projects, but he has been reminiscing about his time on the show in recent weeks. Last month, Kevin caught up with former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Debbie McGee, 61, who he won the Christmas version of the show with last year.

Ahead of going on to have a successful stint on the show, Kevin recalled the time he was rejected from the show twice by producers.

Kevin said he auditioned for the show for a second time with current show professionals Janette Manrara and Aljaž Škorjanec, who got the job but he didn’t.

“I thought the audition had gone really well,” the dancer explained to Debbie on her podcast Spill The Tea with Debbie McGee.

“But, then I got rejected again, I got a phone call, we got our phone calls on the same day, we were all working together on Burn the floor at the time with Aljaz and Janette.

“They both got a, ‘Yes’ from Strictly and I got a ‘No’.”

Explaining the awkward reaction to his rejection, he went on to say: “We all went into work and they were being, sort of, not wanting to talk about it too much because they didn’t want to upset me, it was all very awkward.”

Despite being rejected from the show for a second time, Kevin got a last minute call from producers ahead of the 2013 series, who asked him if he wanted to join.

He added: “Literally a few days before the Strictly series started, I had been told it was a no, but another potential place might open up because they were maybe going to go up to 15 celebs that year instead of 14.

“They had a shortlist of people and I was on the shortlist, I just thought there is no way this is going to happen, it’s the second time I’ve been rejected, there’s other people that they’re looking at.

“And about three days before the series, I got a call saying, ‘We’ve hired an extra celeb, it’s a female celeb, do you want the job?’”

Thankfully, Kevin signed up to the show with no hesitation and made it to the final of his first series with Good Morning Britain star Susanna Reid.

Despite the pair’s best efforts at winning the Glitterball trophy, they missed out on the victory to Abbey Clancy and Aljaž.

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Kevin won the main show for the first time with his now-girlfriend Stacey Dooley in 2018.

The pair struck up a romance after her split from personal trainer Sam Tucknott.

That year, Kevin had also split from his third wife Karen Clifton, who is also a Strictly pro.

Kevin and Karen were married for three years.

Back in March, Kevin announced he had left the show.

In a statement on social media, he wrote: “The past seven years have been some of the most wonderful of my life.

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

A shorter version of Strictly Come Dancing will air later this year.

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