Strictly Come Dancing pros ‘fear they’ll be axed’ in big shake shake up
The Strictly Come Dancing professionals are reportedly worried about their future on the show.
It follows the exit of long-term pro Pasha Kovalev, who announced his departure after eight years this week.
Pasha said he was leaving Strictly “to find a new challenge” as bosses determine which dancers will be signed up for 2019’s series.
It’s understood that the pro line up will be decided later this month (February) by the show’s new chief.
Sarah James will become Executive Producer for Strictly Come Dancing this year, taking over from Louise Rainbow who has been in charge for the past six years.
“Pasha’s surprise departure means a lot of the professionals are really worried,” a source claimed this week. “The dancers are wondering if the new show boss is going to start a mass cull and replace a lot of the current pros. They are messaging each other frantically as they try to work out what the plans are.”
The insider told The Sun newspaper: “Nobody saw Pasha leaving and the rumour mill has gone into overdrive, with everyone saying a few other names are going to be chopped — or at least announce it was their choice to leave the programme.
“Even Anton, who is almost part of the furniture, is worried he might not be asked back.”
A spokesperson for the show said: “The professional dancer line-up for 2019 will be announced in due course.”
Pasha announced his exit from Strictly earlier this week (Wednesday, February 13).
He said in a statement on social media: “After scoring 93 perfect tens, reaching 4 finals and lifting 1 glitter ball, it’s time for me to find a new challenge and so I’ve decided to make last year – my final season on Strictly.
“I’ve had 8 fantastic years, full of wonderful memories, thanks to the incredible partners, professionals and myriad of behind the scenes teams who all work to make Strictly the amazing production that it is.
“The biggest thanks go to all the members of the public who’ve supported me so much over these years – I look forward to seeing you on the Strictly Pro-Tour this spring, and for many future adventures to come!”
The official Strictly Twitter posted: “Sadly after eight incredible series, the brilliant @PashaKovalev has decided to leave #Strictly?. Pasha, from all of us, thank you for your amazing choreography and routines over the years. You’ll be sorely missed! ?”
Other pros currently on Strictly at the time of writing are AJ Pritchard, Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe, Janette Manrara, Karen Clifton, Katya Jones, Kevin Clifton, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Neil Jones and Oti Mabuse.
Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One in the autumn.