Strictly’s Claudia Winkleman speaks out after pros quit show before 2022 series

Claudia Winkleman has spoken out about the Strictly Come Dancing professionals who have quit ahead of the new series of the show.

Appearing on The One Show with Alex Jones and Gethin Jones, Claudia teased her excitement for the next run of the hit BBC dance competition – but admitted there is one sour point.

Claudia, 50, confessed that departing pros Oti Mabuse and Aljaž Škorjanec's absences would be felt as the season gets underway next month.

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As Alex and Gethin tried to probe her for any gossip surrounding the upcoming series, she admitted she can't be trusted not to leak the show secrets, so is always the last to know.

She explained: “Not only am I not allowed to say anything, I’ll say anything, they don’t tell me anything! They literally don’t tell me. They tell me after they’ve told Tess and the press because I’m leaky.”

Claudia then addressed Oti and Aljaž leaving after Gethin raised the subject, responding: “I know, we’re going to miss them so much.”

Oti, 32, announced her departure after seven years and two wins earlier this year in a heartfelt Instagram post.

Oti's sister, Motsi Mabuse, will return to the judging panel this season, alongside Bruno Tonioli's replacement Anton Du Beke, and Strictly veterans Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas.

Aljaž Škorjanec announced his departure shortly after Oti, confirming that after nine years on the show he had made the “tough decision” that 2021 was his last series.

Fans will now see four new professional dancers join the cast – Vito Coppola, Carlos Gu, Lauren Oakley and Michelle Tsiakka.

They will star alongside returning professionals Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Gorka Marquez, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington and Nancy Xu.

Last year's winner Giovanni Pernice – who grabbed the Glitterball Trophy alongside EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis – will also return to the line-up this year.

Strictly Come Dancing returns Saturday, September 17 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.


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