Lithuanian dancer stands in for Strictly's Aliona

Lithuanian dancer stands in for Strictly's Aliona
Lithuanian dancer stands in for Strictly's Aliona

Lithuanian dance champion Iveta Lukosiute has been drafted in to Strictly Come Dancing as a temporary partner for Johnny Ball after Aliona Vilani fractured her ankle during rehearsals. The 32-year-old - who is the current world champion in ten styles of ballroom, and who also appeared on the US version of So You Think You Can Dance - will take to the floor with the veteran TV presenter when the series kicks off next weekend. And Iveta said she was thrilled when approached by the BBC to join the show on a temporary basis. "I am super excited to come to the UK and join the Strictly Come Dancing team," she said. "Dance is my life and there is no greater pleasure than sharing that passion with the rest of the world." She added that she had been in New York on a rainy day when the request from the BBC came, adding, "I only saw the sunshine after I got the phone call from the BBC." Aliona could be out of action for up to a month as a result of her injury, which reportedly occurred while she and Johnny became entangled while practising a tango move. The 28-year-old Kazakh dancer - who is the reigning professional champion after her 2011 victory with Harry Judd - has been keeping her Twitter followers updated on her progress, regularly posting photos of her injury on the site including one of her leg strapped into a boot to help it mend.

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 


An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.