Kevin Clifton returned to Strictly Come Dancing last night – here’s why

kevin clifton strictly return
(Image credit: Getty)

Kevin Clifton returned to Strictly Come Dancing last night.

The professional dancer won Strictly Come Dancing last year with now-girlfriend Stacey Dooley, but this season was partnered with TV presenter and broadcaster Anneka Rice who he was eliminated with in the second week of the series.

But the Strictly favourite made a comeback last night when another professional dancer was taken ill and the former winner stepped in to replace him.

Dancer Neil Jones, who is partnered up with ex-footballer and sports pundit Alex Scott, was forced to pull out of last night’s live show due to an injury.

And to make sure contestant Alex could still compete in this week’s dance, Kevin stepped in to partner up with her.

A photo posted by on

Taking to his Instagram stories to share the sad news that he wouldn’t be competing, Neil Jones wrote a statement to his 206,000 followers, reading, ‘I’m gutted tonight I won’t be able to dance because I was injured earlier today but I know @alexscott2 will smash it tonight, she’s worked hard all week and she’s in safe hands with @kevinclifton.

And contestant Alex didn’t let the major change hamper her performance, managing to be awarded with impressive nine scores from across the board, giving her highest score yet.

And regular partner Neil took to his Instagram stories to congratulate the pair on their incredible performance.

‘Proud is not the word,’ he wrote. ‘alexscott2 just went out there under pressure and smashed that routine.

‘@kevinclifton thank you so much for what you have done tonight it means a lot to me’.

Taking to his Instagram page, Kevin also commented on the shake-up.

Sharing a snap of him and Alex in their get-up from last night’s performance with his 350,000 followers, Kevin wrote, ‘Unbelievable performance frim @alexscott2 last. @mr_njonesofficial and myself were so proud of her.

A photo posted by on

‘At the last minute her partner gets an injury. Has to pass the routine on to another professional in about 45mins. Then even when i made a mistake she carried on and got me through the routine.

Talk about calm under pressure.

‘Just shows how difficult it is to get to a performance on a Saturday that comes together. It also shows how far @alexscott2 has come in 6 weeks and what fantastic work @mr_njonesofficial has been doing.

‘They both deserve so much love.

‘Hopefully you’ll be back on your feet Neill. I want to see you 2 do that routine together in the final! ♥️’.

Aleesha Badkar
Digital Beauty Editor, woman&home

Aleesha is Digital Beauty Editor at woman&home, where she gets to share her expertise into all the best techniques, sharpest tools and newest products—with a particular savvy in skincare and fragrance.

Previously, she was Deputy Editor and Beauty & Fashion Editor for My Imperfect Life, where she headed up the beauty, fashion and eCommerce pages. In the past, she has worked as Shopping Writer at woman&home, gained an AOP awards nomination after working on their news team, contributed to Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto and earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London.