Cameron Lombard leaves Strictly for ‘exciting future projects'

Professional dancers including reigning champion Jowita Przystal and Christmas Special winner Kai Widdrington will return to the BBC celebrity show.

Cameron Lombard will not be part of the line-up for Strictly Come Dancing 2023 as he pursues “exciting future projects”.

The South African dancer joined the BBC celebrity dancing show in 2021 and performed regularly in the ensembles over two series along with the tour and Christmas special.

On Friday, Lombard wrote on Instagram that “the last two years have been a blast” and thanked Strictly for “the life changing opportunity and for the best experience any one could wish for”.

He added: “I’ve loved every minute, danced on the worlds biggest stages, met the worlds best fans, performed for thousands of people as well as millions watching around the world and have made friends for life that I’ll cherish forever .

“I can’t wait to share with you some exciting future projects and plans (.) See you in the movies.”

A Strictly spokesperson said: “Cameron is a fantastic performer and we have loved working with him for the past two years on Strictly.

“He is currently pursuing other opportunities but will always be part of the family and our door will always be open to him in the future.”

The BBC announced that current reigning champion Jowita Przystal, who last year lifted the glitterball trophy with wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin, is returning along with 2022’s runner-ups Gorka Marquez, Carlos Gu and Vito Coppola.

Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones and Nikita Kuzmin have also been confirmed to be among the professionals in the line-up.

Those taking to the dancefloor also includes Luba Mushtuk, Giovanni Pernice, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington, Nancy Xu, Lauren Oakley and Michelle Tsiakkas.

Actress Alexandra Mardell and professional partner Widdrington were crowned the winners of Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas Special last year.

Sarah James, executive producer at BBC Studios, said: “Excitement is already building for the 21st series of Strictly and we are so lucky to have the best team in the business both on and off camera.

“Our amazing presenters, incredible panel of judges and world class professional dancers are ready to bring the sparkle back to your screens this autumn. We can’t wait.”

TV Choice Awards- London
Shirley Ballas is returning as head judge for Strictly (Yui Mok/PA)

English ballroom dancer Shirley Ballas, who has been dubbed the Queen of Latin, will be head judge again as Australian-born choreographer Craig Revel Horwood, South African dancer Motsi Mabuse, and ballroom and Latin dancer Anton Du Beke also return to the judging panel.

Tess Daly, who has presented the BBC One show since its first series in 2004, and Claudia Winkleman, who took over from Sir Bruce Forsyth as the main co-host in 2014, are also slated for another season.

The contestants joining the dancers later this year for the latest series of Strictly will be announced later this year.

Dave Arch and his band will once again provide the soundtrack to Strictly on Saturday and Sunday nights as competitors again head to the prestigious Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.

Last week, the BBC revealed that Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two presenter Rylan Clark would step down from the spin-off of the celebrity dance show after four years.

The corporation said the series will announce a new presenter in due course.