Strictly Come Dancing's Amy Dowden opens up about her battle with Crohn’s disease in BBC documentary 'Strictly Amy: Crohns and Me'

Amy Dowden partnered Karim Zeroual in Strictly Come Dancing 2019.
Amy Dowden partnered Karim Zeroual in Strictly Come Dancing 2019. (Image credit: BBC)

Like most top dancers, Strictly Come Dancing pro star Amy Dowden has faced a tough climb to the top of her profession. But while making her name in the dancing world and in particular as a pro in the hit BBC1 celebrity dance show, Amy kept secret a health condition that made her battle even more difficult.  Amy suffers from Crohn’s disease, a chronic and debilitating condition that affects her digestive system, and means she has been hospitalized more than 100 times since her symptoms first started at 11.  

Amy reveals more about Crohns and how it's affected her in BBC1 documentary Amy Dowden: Strictly Amy: Crohns and Me. Here's Amy on her condition and more about this revealing film which originally aired on BBCiPlayer...

Strictly Amy: Crohns and Me air date on BBC1

You can see Amy Dowden revealing many aspects of her condition in Strictly Amy: Crohns and Me on Friday August 27 on BBC1, at 7pm. The documentary was made by BBC Cymru and was first available on BBCiPlayer from October 2020. It still remains on the BBC's streaming service.

Amy Dowden on battling Crohns...

Amy Dowden says: "I thought if I was too open it would affect my career. I want people to get to know me for who I am, not for my condition.’

In her documentary Strictly Amy: Crohns and Me viewers will follow Amy as she struggles through one of the hardest years of her life. In 2020 she and her fiancé and pro dance partner Ben Jones were meant to be enjoying a solo tour and planning their wedding, but lockdown meant their plans were scuppered and Amy suffered a severe relapse which saw her hospitalized. 

"In lockdown I had one of the worst flare-ups I’ve ever experienced," Amy says. "For weeks I was in pain, unable to eat and in and out of consciousness. I remember begging the doctors to take my stomach out. I was in so much pain I was passing out. It was like a knife stabbing me."

As well as bravely allowing us to see her at her worst, Amy meets other sufferers to hear the severe impact Crohn’s has had on their lives. 

"I always say you’ve got to be tough to have Crohn’s,’ she says. ‘I used to think if people knew they’d see me as a weak person but I’m not weak. I’m actually quite strong and brave."

Amy Dowden and fiancé Ben Jones attending Sports Personality Of The Year in 2018.

Amy Dowden and fiancé Ben Jones attending Sports Personality Of The Year in 2018. (Image credit: Alamy)

All about Strictly pro dancer Amy Dowden

Strictly Come Dancing logo 2021

Amy is ready for Strictly 2021! (Image credit: BBC)

Amy Dowden is 31 and joined BBC1's hit show Strictly Come Dancing (the British equivalent of Dancing With The Stars) back in 2017. She was the first Welsh pro to be a part of the show. In her first year she was partnered with current EastEnders star Brian Conley and came 12th. In 2018 Amy was paired up with Death In Paradise star Danny John-Jules to come ninth. Amy's best Strictly year was 2019 partnering Karim Zeroual as they were runners up to former Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher. Last year, in the shortened pandemic hit season, Amy partnered JJ Chalmers and they came sixth.

Amy was born in 1990 in Caerphilly in the south Wales valleys. She began dancing aged 8.. Later in 2017, alongside her partner Ben Jones, she became British National Latin Dance Champion, and the couple were the first all-British pair to win the championships in over thirty years. Other successes include becoming British Dance Federation Champions, English Closed Champions and Welsh Closed and Open Champions.

Amy is engaged to her professional dance partner Ben Jones and they run the Art In Motion Dance School in Dudley.

Amy Dowden reveals her suffering.

Amy Dowden reveals her suffering in 'Strictly Amy: Crohns and Me'. (Image credit: BBC)

Crohn's disease — where to find help

* Help for those in the UK suffering with Crohn's disease is available here.

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.