Brian Fortuna quits Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly Come Dancing‘s Brian Fortuna is leaving the television show after changes to the format, he said.

The BBC recruited three new male dancers to the show this year and some of its regulars – including Brian – were instead offered roles in a new professional group which would perform “show-stopping dance spectacles” each week.

The American professional dancer partnered The Bill star Ali Bastian in last year’s series and singer Heather Small in the 2008 show but the shake-up would have seen him removed from the mentoring role.

Brian said he has chosen to leave Strictly and will instead concentrate on the stage show Burn The Floor, where he will retain his partnership with Ali.

The couple, who have been dating since they were partnered on Strictly, join Burn The Floor when it opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre, in central London, from July 21 and are expected to perform until September 4.

The BBC’s Strictly shake-up this autumn will reduce the number of celebrity contestants from 16 to 14.

The move, plus the recruitment of new male professionals Artem Chigvintsev, Jared Murillo and Robin Windsor, has meant five of last year’s professional partners are no longer needed in their usual roles.

Brian, Ian Waite, Matthew Cutler and husband and wife Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova were all offered roles instead in the professional group, which the BBC said will perform routines “on a scale never before seen on Strictly”.

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