Aliona Vilani in U-turn as she heads back to Strictly Come Dancing

Professional Strictly Come Dancing dancer Aliona Vilani has performed a U-turn on her decision to quit the BBC1 show.

At the end of the last series, which saw her partner singer Jay McGuiness to victory, she announced she was leaving the show in order to start a family.

If reports in the Daily Star Sunday are correct, however, Aliona is returning to the show, though not necessarily as a dancer.

She told the newspaper: “I won’t be dancing with a celebrity in the next series, but hopefully I’ll still be involved in the show in other ways.”

The mind boggles: an assistant choreographer? Special advisor? Or how about as a fifth judge?

Admitting that she was already missing the show and her fellow dance professionals, she admitted she might return as a mentor “If I was told I could have a couple of days off. That might change my mind.”

Aliona, 31, is hugely popular with Strictly viewers and has twice won the competition, first in 2010 with musician Harry Judd and then last year with Jay.