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Neil Jones praises ex Katya Jones ahead of new Strictly series

The former couple are close friends

Matthew Moore

Neil Jones is practically part of the furniture when it comes to Strictly Come Dancing having danced with Alex Scott in 2019, as well as appearing in numerous pro routines and Christmas specials.

MORE: Exclusive: Katya Jones makes rare comments about ex Neil Jones and lockdown dating

When Neil joined Strictly, he was married to fellow professional dancer Katya Jones, but the couple went their separate ways in 2019.

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WATCH: Neil Jones, Marlon "Swoosh" Wallen and Kieran Lai perform 48 Steps for 48 Steps

Speaking exclusively to HELLO! as he took part in the '48 Steps for 48 Steps', Neil described their current relationship as "amazing" and added that him and Katya were still "really good friends". The couple currently co-parent dogs Crumble and Chorizo, with Neil joking the two pooches were "inseparable".

He was also full of praise of how Katya made history on Strictly last year, competing in the first same-sex couple with boxer Nicola Adams. "I think she was great with what she did with Nicola last year," he said.

Nicola was forced to pull out of Strictly after Katya tested positive for COVID-19, and although some fans wanted the boxer to return to the show, she was not in the final line-up of celebrities announced.

But the 39-year-old felt this was good for Nicola as she left on a "belter of a performance" after she and Katya danced a phenomenal routine in the final.

And if he was paired with a man on the show, he joked: "I'd prefer if he was strong, so maybe he can lift me or something!"

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Neil is a proud owner of two pet pooches

Alongside the other professional dancers, Neil is currently rehearsing hard for the upcoming series, and he teased an exciting one ahead for viewers.

"They've got everything there," he explained. "They've got an extra new judge, Anton, we had a glimpse of him last year, he was really good and he brings a completely different side to it.

MORE: Neil Jones films inside modern home with ex-wife Katya

MORE: Strictly Come Dancing: Will Neil Jones have a celebrity partner for 2021 series?

"We've got some really fantastic group numbers again, I don't know how it's possible that they keep coming up with these ideas, they're just going to smash out of the park with these ones."

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Neil danced with Alex in the 2019 series

He added: "We start seeing all these personalities and everyone and we've got Janette now on the [It Takes Two] sofa as well, which is going to be incredible. There's a nice mixture of new little things going on, but we still keep the tradition of Strictly."

The series was incredibly different last year because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Neil explained that the crew were still going to be "careful" to make sure that Strictly can go on "for the full series and not end halfway through".

He went on: "Everything that production put together last year was incredible, and I didn't think the show lost anything whatsoever."

The star had an incredibly busy summer, as he, alongside TikTok stars Marlon "Swoosh" Wallen and Kieran Lai choreographed '48 Steps for 48 Steps' to mark the opening of Wembley Park, a new cultural space within London.

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Neil and Katya danced together professionally for years

On working with the pair, he said: "We've all known each other from Britain's Got Talent, I was on the same year with Kieran. It was a combined thing, we worked together on some concepts and ideas and different movements, and then we got in the studio together and started making it all up."

MORE: Dan Walker confirms launch date for Strictly Come Dancing

The professional dancer then shared his joy at the way dance continued to evolve as an artform, with many people creating TikTok dances that easily go viral.

"It's great to see that people can do really well on social media platforms," he enthused. "And it's not just about the face, they actually are dancing and showing their talent and teaching and spreading a bit of joy to everyone."

And although he remained tight-lipped about whether Strictly would be embracing a TikTok dance he teased: "I think there might be, but I'm not 100% sure."

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