Strictly Come Dancing: Three professionals leaving the show

Strictly Come Dancing
Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly Come Dancing professionals Joanne Clifton and Oksana Platero are leaving the show, the BBC has announced.

The popular dancing series will welcome three new professional dancers to take the place of Clifton and Platero, as well as Natalie Lowe who announced her departure earlier this year.

The three departing dancers will be replaced by Dianne Buswell, from Australia, Nadiya Bychkova, from Ukraine, and Amy Dowden from Wales.

The professional female dancers returning to the show include Karen Clifton, Chloe Hewitt, Katya Jones, Oti Mabuse and Janette Manrara.

The male dancers returning are: Anton Du Beke, Brendan Cole, Kevin Clifton, Neil Jones, Pasha Kovalev, Gorka Marquez, Giovanni Pernice, AJ Pritchard and Aljaž Škorjanec.

New dancer Bychkova said: "I'm extremely happy to be joining the Strictly Come Dancing family this year. One of my biggest dreams is to be part of this great show and I can't wait to get started!"

Buswell, who is an Australian Open Champion and four-time Amateur Australian Open Finalist, said: "What an honour it is to be a part of Strictly Come Dancing. Words can't describe how excited I am to take on this amazing challenge and give it my everything. See you on the dance floor!"

Welsh dancer Dowden, from Caerphilly, said: "Becoming a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing has made my wildest dreams come true, it does not feel real! I have always been proud of my Welsh roots and feel so honoured to be the first Welsh professional dancer on the most loved show on TV."

Louise Rainbow, executive producer of Strictly Come Dancing, thanked the three departing dancers adding: "We're delighted with our line-up of pros for this year's series. They are all brilliant dancers and wonderful teachers and Strictly is so lucky to have them."

Strictly Come Dancing's current reigning champion, Joanne Clifton, said of her decision to leave: "Being part of the Strictly experience has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I will miss the show so much. It's been a tough decision, but I am looking forward to facing new challenges and focusing on my musical theatre career."

Departing professional Oksana Platero, who partnered TV judge Robert Rinder in last year's series of Strictly said: "I just want to say thank you to everyone involved with Strictly. Last year was my first season and I had an unforgettable time working alongside such amazing dancers and an even better time with Judge Rinder. It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I will never forget it. Thank you so much for the memories."