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Thursday 28th May 2020

Susanna Reid defends Kevin Clifton's decision to quit Strictly

Susanna was also called a 'traitor' for leaving the BBC

Susanna Reid has defended Kevin Clifton's decision to quit Strictly Come Dancing, comparing it to when she left the BBC to join Good Morning Britain.

Susanna, who danced with Kevin Clifton on Strictly in 2013, has defended his decision to leave the show. (Credit: BBC)

Read more: Kevin Clifton announces he's leaving Strictly after seven years

Kevin's decision to step away from the show to pursue other projects has been criticised by die-hard fans of the dance show.

Susanna, who presented BBC Breakfast from 2003 until 2014 when she moved over to ITV, threw her support behind her former dance partner Kevin in her Daily Mail column.

She wrote: "When I left the BBC, I was howled at for being a ‘traitor’. Now the same criticism is following Kevin Clifton as he hangs up his Strictly shoes.

Who can blame him for planning for the future? He has much he wants to achieve, and Strictly takes up six months of the year.

"I was his first dance partner back in 2013. After years of making it to the final, he eventually clinched the glitterball trophy — and love — with Stacey Dooley in 2018. Defying the odds, they are still together, and who can blame him for planning for the future? He has much he wants to achieve, and Strictly takes up six months of the year.

Kevin Clifton won the Glitterball trophy in 2018 with Stacey Dooley but has now decided to quit the show (Credit: BBC)

Read more: Strictly's Kevin Clifton sends message to former co-stars as 2020 pro dancers line-up is revealed

"As a talented singer as well as dancer, he has already proved himself in Rock Of Ages and The Wedding Singer. I’ve no doubt he will be a West End star — and, let’s face it, his earnings will rapidly dwarf his Strictly salary. People move on and Kevin will brush off the criticism and shine."

Kevin reportedly planned to quit Strictly in 2018 after his win with Stacey but was persuaded to stay by show bosses.

However, it was claimed that he regretted the decision when he was paired with Anneka Rice and exited the competition in week three.

Kevin has now announced a starring role in Strictly Ballroom The Musical, directed by Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood.

"The secret's out... I've swapped one ballroom for another," he revealed.

"From September 2020 I’ll be waltzing around the UK & Ireland as Scott Hastings in @strictlyballroomtouruk. I can’t wait for this next chapter to begin. Hope to see you all there!"

It's thought this will be the beginning of a lucrative theatre career for Kevin after his successful stints in Rock Of Ages and The Wedding Singer.

A source told The Sun on Sunday that Kevin was "flooded" with big money offers after securing victory with Stacey in 2018 and told show bosses then that he wanted to leave.

They are quoted as saying: "He only earns around £45,000 for the show and yet he could pick up £100,000 for a year-long theatre gig."

View this post on Instagram

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

Read more: Kevin Clifton 'encouraged to leave Strictly Come Dancing by Stacey Dooley'

Kevin announced his decision to leave Strictly Come Dancing on social media earlier this week.

He wrote: "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."

Stacey Dooley has thrown her support behind boyfriend Kevin (Credit: SpalshNews.com)

Kevin's girlfriend Stacey Dooley - who he met when they were partnered on the show in 2018 - took to Instagram to praise her boyfriend.

The TV presenter - who won the glitterball trophy with Kevin - wrote on social media: "I could burst with pride. Undeniably the most successful pro on Strictly.

"Won everything, treated everyone with respect and kindness, worked SO bloody hard and now leaving on a high. You will always be the King of Strictly."

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