Neil Jones has revealed that Kevin Clifton played a huge role in helping him land his job on Strictly Come Dancing – just one day after he announced he has quit the series after seven years. Sharing a photo of himself and Kevin on Instagram, Neil took a trip down memory lane to pay tribute to his childhood friend. He wrote: "Kev Kev super king @keviclifton.... now we’ve known each other since we were kids and I remember the day you called me up to ask if I was interested to come and help out during Strictly rehearsals which was basically my way on to the show."
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He added: "You are a great, talented and passionate guy who manages to watch football, WWE and listen to a podcast all at the same time while drinking a tea and holding a conversation (now if that’s not a talent). You have always been there for me when I needed you including last year when I got injured and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. The Strictly audience will miss you but we all know you will do great stuff." Fans were touched by Neil's message of support, with one commenting: "Arh Neil this is lovely, we will miss him but as you say new challenges await the future looks bright....." And another said: "Just beautiful words, Neil."
Neil Jones credits Kevin Clifton for helping him land his role on Strictly
Kevin broke the news of his departure on social media on Friday. Sharing a heartfelt statement on Twitter, he wrote: "The past seven years have been some of the most wonderful years of my life. I am grateful to the BBC and Strictly Come Dancing for giving me the opportunity to have been a part of something truly special. Since first being called 'Kevin From Grimsby' by Sir Bruce Forsyth in 2013 I have experienced the highs of 5 finals, winning a Guinness World record on It Takes Two, the Strictly Arena tour glitterball and then the ultimate of winning the 2018 series with Stacey Dooley…"
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Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley won Strictly in 2018
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He concluded: "To me Strictly always has been and always will be the best show on TV and has been an absolute dream and honour to be a part of. Pre 2013 I used to watch every week. Now I look forward to returning to being a fan and cheering on my friends who keep dancing. Kevin Clifton."
Following his announcement, Kevin's girlfriend Stacey Dooley shut down reports that she "pushed" his decision to quit the show. "Honestly, we knew this would happen. And so it starts, again…. Utter nonsense," she posted on Twitter on Saturday.
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