Strictly star Neil Jones ‘devastated’ as BBC demote him to background dancer

Strictly pro Neil Jones has been dropped as a competitor in this year’s contest, we can reveal.

Bosses have decided not to pair the hunk, 38, with a celebrity on the new series.

Instead he will have a reduced role as a background dancer and a member of group routines.

Neil is said to be “devastated” by the decision.

It comes as his ex Katya Jones, 31, is tipped to get a plum role in the show’s first same-sex couple with Nicola Adams, 37.

A show insider said: “After a lot of discussion it was decided that Neil will be dropped from the line-up of professional dancers, so he won’t be partnered with a contestant.

"He will still be part of the show, but only in group ­routines. So viewers won’t see much of him any more.”

Neil joined Strictly in 2016 and was part of its ensemble of pro dancers for three years.

He finally got to be part of the competition last year when he was paired with former footballer Alex Scott, 35.

Our insider said: “It’s tough for Neil to take this news. He only had one year as a competing pro and now he’s a background dancer once again.

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“This year he will watch Katya be the centre of attention while he sits on the sidelines.”

It is likely Neil’s role has been reduced because this year’s ­contest will feature fewer ­couples than usual. The coronavirus ­pandemic has forced the BBC to slash the number of episodes and start a month later than planned, with just 12 pairings ­instead of 15.

The new series, which starts next month on BBC One, will see celebs including Caroline Quentin, 60, and Bill Bailey, 55, compete for the Glitterball trophy.

  • BBC
  • Strictly Come Dancing

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