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Strictly Come Dancing star AJ Pritchard reveals REAL reason he quit the competition

Strictly Come Dancing 2016 - AJ Pritchard
(Image credit: BBC/Jay Brooks/Matt Burlem)

Strictly Come Dancing favourite AJ has opened up about his decision to leave the show...

Strictly Come Dancing star AJ Pritchard has spoken about his decision to leave the dancing competition earlier this year.

The professional dancer announced his decision to quit Strictly Come Dancing back in March.

With Strictly Come Dancing 2020 well under way after the launch show this weekend, AJ will be missed from the celebrity dancer line up.

AJ is missing from this year's Strictly Come Dancing line up (Picture: BBC)

AJ is missing from this year's Strictly Come Dancing line up (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Four years of Strictly 

AJ had become a firm favourite with fans during his four years on the show, having been partnered with gymnast Claudia Fragapane, singer Mollie King, British Paralympic athlete Lauren Steadman, and most recently YouTube star Saffron Barker.

But while the first live show of Strictly Come Dancing kicks off on Saturday, AJ is busy planning a new project with his brother, Love Island favourite, Curtis Pritchard.

More: Tess Daly - thing you didn't know about the Strictly Come Dancing presenter 

AJ's new challenge 

The siblings will be going on tour in 2021 with AJ & Curtis' Big Night Out (opens in new tab), which will see the pair dancing and singing on stage.

AJ and Curtis Pritchard

AJ and Curtis Pritchard are going on tour next year (Picture: Getty) (Image credit: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

AJ told Digital Spy: "It's a really new format, obviously we are dancing, but it's like the podcast, it has lots of personality and our banter, and that stand-up comedy element.

"I was at Strictly for four years and I felt like I left on a real high.

"I feel there are other things I want to do with my career and other projects I want to push, and things I want to do with my brother.

AJ and Curtis Pritchard hold up pictures of rainbows for the NHS

Ballroom dancing brothers AJ and Curtis are excited to be working together (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: BBC/Mighty Productions)

"So I feel happy that I did the right thing. It's going to be fun to see it as a normal viewer, like how fun it was to hear the announcements as a normal person!

"I'll miss my friends on set and behind the scenes, but I'm really excited to watch it from home and not have the stress."

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday night at 7.25pm on BBC One. See our TV Guide for full listings. 

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.