Ex-Strictly Come Dancing star pays tribute to legend

Former Strictly Come Dancing star Natalie Lowe broke down in tears onstage as she remembered her years working alongside Sir Bruce Forsyth.

She took a moment to pay tribute to the late presenter as she performed her current show, Rip It Up, at London’s Richmond Theatre on Sunday night.

A number of her ex-Strictly colleagues, including Janette Manrara, Aljaz Scorjanec and AJ Pritchard supported her from the audience as she danced to hits from the 1950s alongside previous Strictly celebrities Jay McGuiness and Louis Smith.

Sir Bruce hosted the BBC dance contest for more than a decade before he died at the age of 89 in August. Natalie stepped down from the show after starring in her final series with Olympic athlete dance partner Greg Rutherford last year.

Natalie Lowe (Ian West/PA)
Natalie Lowe (Ian West/PA)

 

Asked about her time working with the British television legend, her voice cracked and she paused before saying: “You knew it was show time when Brucey walked in the door.”

She told how the dancers would practically “shove him out the door” as he showered them with encouragement before each show and joked: “He always said I was his favourite.”

The world-famous dancer performs a stunning piece to the romantic movie hit Unchained Melody in Rip It Up.

Describing it as an emotional moment for her every time, Natalie said: “I’m really glad I get to do it every night because I do it in dedication to him.”

Also reminiscing over his time working with Sir Bruce, Aljaz said after Sunday’s show: “I was really, genuinely lucky that my first year was his last year, so I had the opportunity to work with him for one season.

“I have never seen – and probably won’t ever again – see so much respect for someone and what they do.

“Whatever he was doing in the studio – whether it was recording the live show, reading through the script, going to the practices – it was the amount of respect everybody had.

“Being from Slovenia I wouldn’t necessarily have had Bruce Forsyth as a lead person on TV, but it only took me about five seconds to learn how big of a personality he was and how much he still means to people.”

This year’s Strictly stars performed a heartfelt tribute to the entertainer in the opening episode of the current series, which began less than a month after his death.

Aljaz continued: “It was very sad news, but he has done incredible things and had an amazing career. Paying tribute to him and remembering him was lovely. That’s what he would want, I think.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC1 at 6.35pm on Saturday, following the departure of third couple Charlotte Hawkins and Brendan Cole this weekend.