Kevin Clifton announces Strictly Come Dancing departure

Kevin Clifton leaving Strictly Come Dancing

Kevin Clifton has announced he is leaving Strictly Come Dancing, saying "the time has come to move on and focus on other areas of my life and career".

The professional dancer, 37, won the 16th series of the show with partner Stacey Dooley.

He joined the line-up in 2013.

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Kevin Clifton
File photo dated 27/8/2018 of Kevin Clifton who has announced that he is leaving Strictly Come Dancing.
Zoe Ball, Kevin Clifton and Anneka Rice attend The Wedding Singer press night at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in London. (Photo by Phil Lewis / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Kevin Clifton and Rhiannon Chesterman perform during The Wedding Singer press night at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in London. (Photo by Phil Lewis / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Kevin Clifton and Debbie McGee attend The Wedding Singer press night at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in London. (Photo by Phil Lewis / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Kevin Clifton arrives at Blackpool Tower Ballroom ahead of the Blackpool Strictly Come Dancing show this weekend.
Strictly Come Dancing finalists Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton leave BBC Broadcasting House in London after appearing on the Chris Evans radio show.
Joanne Clifton and Kevin Clifton attending the Laurence Olivier Awards, Royal Albert Hall, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
File photo dated 29/08/19 of Kevin Clifton, who says he is not yet thinking about whether he can lift the glitterball again.
Kevin Clifton arrives at a studio in London during rehearsals for BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.
Kevin Clifton and Karen Clifton arriving at the red carpet launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2018, BBC Broadcasting House, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Kevin Clifton attending the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards 2018 held at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London.
Susan Calman and Kevin Clifton posing during photocall before the opening night of Strictly Come Dancing Tour 2018 at Arena Birmingham in Birmingham, UK. Picture date: Thursday 18 January, 2018. Photo credit: Katja Ogrin/ EMPICS Entertainment.
Karen Clifton and Kevin Clifton at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2017 at Broadcasting House in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 28th, 2017
Strictly Come Dancing's Kevin Clifton arriving at the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool, ahead of Saturday's live show for the BBC1 dancing programme.
Lesley Joseph, Kevin Clifton and Joanne Clifton attending the 2017 Television and Radio Industries Club Awards, Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London.
Karen Clifton and Kevin Clifton at a reception during the opening night of Fire in the Ballroom by dance company Burn the Floor at The Peacock in London.
Kevin Clifton attending the 2017 TRIC Awards, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. Picture date Tuesday March 14, 2017. Picture credit should read Doug Peters/ EMPICS Entertainment
Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton during a photocall for the launch of Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour held at Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham.
Karen and Kevin Clifton at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. Picture date: Tuesday August 30, 2016. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Frankie Bridge and Kevin Clifton posing during Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour photocall at the Barclaycard Arena before the opening night on Thursday 21st January in Birmingham, United Kingdom
Karen Clifton and Kevin Clifton arriving at the Strictly Come Dancing Red Carpet Launch held at Elstree Film Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire
Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer attend Northern Ballet's Great Gatsby Opening night at Sadler's Wells in London.
Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer attending the Tric Awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel London.
Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton during a press call for the UK Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour 2014 starting in Birmingham on Friday at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham.
Rachel Stevens and partner Kevin Clifton during a press call for the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour 2015 at the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham.
Embargoed to 0001 Monday December 16. Susanna Reid wearing her favourite dress from the current series of Strictly Come Dancing, with her dance partner Kevin Clifton at Elstree Studios, London.
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Clifton wrote on Instagram: "The past 7 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.

To the entire Strictly family, The past 7 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. After finishing last series with the Children In Need trophy and the Christmas Special I want to leave on a high and have therefore decided the time has come to move on and focus on other areas of my life and career. I want to thank all of the pros for inspiring me every day as well as all of my celebrity partners. The whole team behind the scenes have made always made the Strictly family what it is and the loveliest show to work for. Thank you to anyone who has ever voted for me and my partners. It means the world. And a special thank you to Jason Gilkison for always believing in me. 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

A post shared by Kevin Clifton (@keviclifton) on

"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.

"After finishing last series with the Children In Need trophy and the Christmas Special I want to leave on a high and have therefore decided the time has come to move on and focus on other areas of my life and career."

He added: "I want to thank all of the pros for inspiring me every day as well as all of my celebrity partners.

"The whole team behind the scenes have made always made the Strictly family what it is and the loveliest show to work for.

"Thank you to anyone who has ever voted for me and my partners. It means the world."

Clifton wrote Strictly "has been and always will be the best show on tv and has been an absolute dream and honour to be a part of".

He added: "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."

Clifton was a choreographer on the show before he hit the dance floor with his first professional partner Susanna Reid.

His other partners have been singer Frankie Bridge, actress Kellie Bright, singer Louise Redknapp, comedian Susan Calman, documentary-maker Dooley and TV veteran Anneka Rice.

Clifton was previously married to fellow Strictly professional Karen Hauer but the pair announced their split in 2018.

In 2019, it was confirmed he was in a relationship with Dooley.

A message shared on the Strictly Come Dancing Twitter account said: "Kevin has been such a brilliant part of Strictly for the past seven years.

"From reaching the final an impressive five times, to lifting the Glitterball with Stacey Dooley in 2018, he has provided the show with some fantastic moments, through his exceptional talent as a dancer and choreographer.

"He will be hugely missed by fans and by his Strictly Family. He will always be our Kevin from Grimsby."

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