Former Strictly Come Dancing champion Lilia Kopylova says she cried for 40 minutes when she was told she wouldn’t partner a celebrity in the next series.

Lilia, 32, won Stricktly Come Dancing with England cricketer Darren Gough in 2005.

According to the Daily Mirror, Lilia was told that instead of partnering a celeb she would be relegated to the Strictly Come Dancing troupe which performed special routines.

The news shocked Lilia, who’s married to another former Strictly winner Darren Bennett: “I was inconsolable.

“When I rang the BBC and told them I didn’t want to take the new role on Strictly, I felt incredibly emotional. As soon as I put the phone down, I burst into tears and then carried on for around 40 minutes.

“It was one of the hardest decisions of my life, causing me lots of sleepless nights.”

But husband Darren, who was also axed from the celebrity side of Strictly, has taken up a position in the dance troupe.

“I respect his decision, as he respects mine. But it’s going to be hard not dancing together on the show,” said Lilia.

Lilia says she was stunned when producers offered her the new role. “It came as a total bolt out of the blue. I didn’t cry there and then in the meeting, because I am very professional, but I was very upset inside.

“Afterwards, Darren and I were in shock. You do think, ‘Why us?’ We’ve been the most successful couple. If you include Christmas specials, we’ve won the most trophies between us – seven in all.”