Kevin Clifton has confessed he asked to be Stacey Dooley’s dance partner before the pair took the title on the 2018 series of Strictly Come Dancing.
The star made the revelation while talking to BBC documentary maker Dooley, who he is now in a relationship with, while she appeared as a guest on his latest podcast.
The 37-year-old told how he called in a favour from Strictly choreographer Jason Gilkison, who he said owed him one after the pair met while working on West End dance show Burn The Floor.
Clifton told Dooley he had heard she was taking part, saying: “I was a fan of your documentaries and for the last couple of years I’d tweeted you a few times, going ‘I really liked your documentary’, and you were like, ‘Oh cheers Kev!’
“So yeah, I was like ‘Stacey Dooley’s wicked. She’ll be really interesting... great just to talk to about her experiences.
Clifton went on to explain how he performed in a Gilkison show on painkillers as a favour.
He continued: “Once I heard you were doing it, I said to Jason, ‘Remember that time when I had broken shins and me performing was the difference between Burn The Floor going bust or going to Broadway? And you [Jason] were like ‘I need you to give a big performance tonight’ and I was, ‘Yes I’ll do it. I’ll take lots of ibuprofen and go on stage’.”
Upon hearing Dooley might be involved, reminding Gilkison of the favour says he asked his friend ‘Do you remember that time and what I did for you?’.
Clifton then added: “Jason was like ‘What do you want?’ and I said, ‘Well I’ve heard Stacey Dooley may be doing Strictly. If there’s any chance’ and then I really pushed for you to be my partner - which I don’t usually do.”
Despite BBC bosses claiming they do not allow dancers or celerities to pick their partners, it would appear Clifton got his way.
It appears to have worked out well, with the couple going on to win the series and now being in a relationship.
Clifton announced he was leaving Strictly in March after seven years as one of the show’s pro dancers. His podcast is available online now.