Neil Jones wants to become a full time pro on Strictly Come Dancing this year

Strictly Come Dancing 2016 - Professional Dancers

Neil Jones is hoping to become a full time pro on Strictly Come Dancing this year.

Neil, husband of fellow Strictly pro Katya Jones, has been on the show since 2016 but has yet to get a celebrity partner.

Instead, he's been performing in the pro group routines as well as the show's one-off specials and live tour.

But now Neil is hoping 2018 will be his year.

He told OK! magazine: "I would love it. Last year I had Konnie Huq for Children in Need and Judy Murray for the Christmas special. I had so much fun.

Judy Murray, Neil Jones
Judy Murray, Neil Jones

"Konnie appeared and said she was the worst dancer I would ever meet. I was laughing. I have taught dancing since I was 15, so I told her she was safe with me. At the end of the first day, I looked at her and said: 'You are the worst dancer!'"

Neil could well be in luck after long time Strictly pro Brendan Cole announced his departure last week.

Brendan had been a pro dancer on the show for the past 14 years but announced his exit on ITV's Lorraine.

"They've made an editorial decision not to have me back on the show," he said. "I'm in shock. I got a phone call. I've had 15 incredible series."

Brendan admitted: "I'm disappointed. I've always known this day would come. I'm a very strong character, some don't like that.

"I've never been contracted for more than one year. I still wanted to be part of it. My passion is still very much there."

The BBC said in a statement: "We'd like to thank Brendan Cole for being part of the show since the beginning - winner of the first series - and for the contribution he has made to its success.

"We wish him all the very best for the future."

However, in a blow to Neil's hopes, according to The Sun, dancer Marius Iepure is being lined up to take over from Brendan on Strictly.

strictly brendan 1

He's the husband of current pro performer Oti Mabuse.

A source told the paper: "Marius was involved in Strictly last year as a backing dancer and has proved very popular with both the other dancers and production staff alike."

Strictly will air its new series in the autumn on BBC One.

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