Soap star to replace Jamie Laing on Strictly Come Dancing

Danny Thompson
Contributor
David James and Jamie Lang arriving at the red carpet launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2019, held at BBC TV Centre in London, UK. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)

Former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher has been announced as the replacement for injured star Jamie Laing for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The last minute addition happened after Made In Chelsea’s Laing picked up an injury during filming for the show’s pre-recorded launch, just two days before the series was set to kick-off.

Read more: Tess Daly opens up on Jamie Laing's Strictly replacement

But luckily for show organisers, a replacement has already been found to fill the void, in the shape of muscle-bound Fletcher.

Kelvin Fletcher attending the ITV Summer Party 2019 at Nobu Shoreditch in London. (Photo by Brett Cove/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The 35-year-old will be a familiar face to soap fans - he played Andy Sugden on ITV’s Emmerdale for 20 years.

Talking of the opportunity, Fletcher said: “It’s been the most surreal week of my life. I’m a massive fan of Strictly so it’s incredible. I’m so happy that I can be a part of it.

“But at the same time it’s quite bittersweet as I’m coming in on the back of Jamie’s injury.

“I can’t imagine going through all this excitement and then having to pull out. My thoughts are with him – he seems like a fantastic guy and I hope he’s doing OK.”

Taking to social media this morning, he couldn’t hide his excitement: “Is this really happening @bbcstrictly ?!!!! Absolutely BUZZING!”

The announcement came after celebrities had been paired with the professional dancers on last night’s launch show.

Former footballer and now TV pundit Alex Scott will dance with Neil Jones, and last year’s winner Kevin Clifton is with TV favourite Anneka Rice.

Read more: Defiant Alex Scott tells racist, sexist trolls she's 'still standing' after year of online abuse

The 60-year-old Challenge Anneka star admitted dancing is not her strong point, which may mean Clifton, who won last year’s show with Stacey Dooley, will have to relinquish his title as winner this year. She said: "I haven't got a rhythm gene, I can't even clap in time."

Good luck Kevin, you might need it.

The seventeenth series of Strictly Come Dancing launched on BBC One last night.

Anneka Rice at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)