Strictly fans thrilled as BBC show legend announces return

The dancer said he had missed 'everything' about the programme

Aljaz Skorjanec has quit Strictly Come Dancing. (BBC)
Aljaz Skorjanec is returning to Strictly Come Dancing. (BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing viewers said they were "so happy" after Aljaz Skorjanec revealed he is returning to the ballroom.

The Slovenian-born ballroom and Latin champion was a favourite with fans after winning his first series on the BBC show in 2013 with Abbey Clancy. He quit in 2022, saying he'd made the "tough decision" that the 2021 series would be his last.

But the pro is now going back to the ballroom contest. The news comes after it was confirmed that pro Giovanni Pernice is not returning to Strictly 2024.

Skorjanec made a surprise appearance on The One Show on Monday to share the news. "I am so thrilled," said. "It has been a little while now that I have known and I couldn't wait to tell everyone... I am probably more excited now that I was when I started!"

Host Alex Jones quizzed the star about how long he had known, but he quipped: "One hour!"

Aljaz Skorjanec said he was 'thrilled' to be back. (BBC screengrab)
Aljaz Skorjanec said he was 'thrilled' to be back. (BBC screengrab)

He also hinted that Strictly fans were in for a treat this year, saying: "I think Strictly, like we all know, gets bigger and better every single year. I think especially this year for the anniversary, 20 years, it's incredible.

"It's such an amazing show and I think it's a part of British culture now."

Since he was on Strictly last, Skorjanec and his wife Janette Manrara, also a star of the show, have welcomed a baby girl named Lyra. Talking about fatherhood, he said: "The one thing she has definitely taught me is how to stay up for three days at a time. So I am probably going to have more energy to train that I ever have before!"

The dancer also said he had missed "everything" about being on the dancefloor.

Strictly's executive producer Sarah James said: “We are all so thrilled that Aljaz is back in the Strictly ballroom, bringing his incredible choreography and passion for dance.

"During his nine series he was a firm favourite with viewers across the country, I’m sure everyone is in for a treat as he joins us to entertain the nation for a very special 20th year of the show.”

Viewers were delighted to hear about the dancer's return, with some saying it was the "best" news.

One said on X: "Aljaz returning to Strictly? Nature is healing." Another posted: "Just the BEST news that @AljazSkorjanec is coming back to Strictly this year, I’ve really missed him."

"Never mind cabinet appointments, Aljaz is back on Strictly!?!" quipped another.

352896,Picture shows: Aljaz Skorjanec, Sara Davies **LIVE SHOW**,Aljaz Skorjanec, Sara Davies,39,0 00:00:00
Aljaz Skorjanec with Sara Davies on Strictly. (BBC)

Someone else wrote: "I'm thrilled that lovely Aljaz is back on Strictly this year!! Him and Abbey are one of my favourite winning couples ever. He's a fabulous dancer and teacher."

One said: "Woo hoo! My Mum (92) will be so happy."

The Strictly pro line-up was announced in June, with many favourites coming back, including Graziano Di Prima, Kai Widdrington, Jowita Przystał, Gorka Márquez, Nancy Xu, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer and Katya Jones. Amy Dowden will also be back following her battle with cancer.

However, Pernice will not be taking part. His exit comes after his last celebrity partner Amanda Abbington quit the 2023 series early and later claimed his teaching methods were "militant". As the BBC looks into it, Pernice has denied any suggestion of "any suggestion of abusive or threatening behaviour" and exited the show after nine years.