Kevin Clifton explained his reasons for leaving Strictly Come Dancing in a new episode of his popular podcast, The Kevin Clifton Show. The 37-year-old told fans that as he was getting older, he wanted to explore new projects and that he had been in "open dialogue" with BBC producers about the fact that he was considering moving on before he turned 40. The candid dancer said that what finally sealed his decision was the opportunity to star in a stage adaptation of Australian dance film Strictly Ballroom, which reflects his life in several ways.
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The Grimsby native revealed: "I saw Strictly Ballroom when I was ten years old and as a young wannabe dancer… I fell it love with it; I became obsessed by it. This character of Scott Hastings in the film became someone I really looked up to and wanted to be like him. The story is of a guy who grows up as a dance competitor and he has parents who used to be champions so I connected with it immediately…that's my story. He didn't want to dance how he was told to dance just so he could win a competition. Again, things I started to experience for myself in this bizarre case of life imitating art."
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Kevin joined the cast of Strictly Come Dancing in 2013
Kevin reflected more on the similarities between his life and the movie, saying: "Then he meets a beginner dancer called Fran and she inspires him into dancing exactly as he wants to and the two of them fall in love." He laughed, likely thinking of the fact that he met his girlfriend, broadcaster Stacey Dooley, on Strictly in 2018, adding: "Go figure." The star then revealed that when he was ten, he told his parents that there would one day be a stage show of the film and that he would star in it, saying, "It's been my dream for such a long time."
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He also shared that his first audition for the show, when it was in the West End, was unsuccessful. In response, he worked hard and got more performing experience before the opportunity came around to try out for the tour – and this time he had to impress director and Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood. "I always thought that Craig was never a hundred per cent convinced of me," Kevin laughed. Clearly he was wrong!
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