Strictly speaking, Kevin Clifton WILL still be in Strictly. Here’s why…

From Strictly to Strictly Ballroom: Kevin Clifton in his dream role as Scott Hastings. Picture: Dave Hogan

KEVIN Clifton will still be in Strictly after all this year…and next year too.

Not the 2020 series of Strictly Come Dancing, but the 2020/2021 UK and Ireland tour of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical, directed by Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood, no less.

“Kevin from Grimsby”, 37, will play his dream role of Scott Hastings, with Yorkshire dates in York, Hull, Sheffield and Bradford, after the 2018 Strictly champion announced his exit last week from BBC One’s ballroom dance show, ending  seven seasons in annual pursuit of the glitter ball trophy.

“I really can’t wait to don the golden jacket ,” says Kevin Clifton

Clifton is making a full-time move into the world of musical theatre, kicking off with the musical version of the 1992 Australian film that so inspired him in childhood days in Grimsby.

“I’m beyond excited to be finally fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play Scott Hastings in Strictly Ballroom The Musical,” he says.  “When I was ten years old, I first watched the movie that would become my favourite film of all time. This is my dream role.

“Plus, I get to work with Craig Revel Horwood again.  I really can’t wait to don the golden jacket and waltz all over the UK from September this year in what’s set to be an incredible show.”

Craig Revel Horwood: directing Kevin Clifton in Strictly Ballroom. Picture: Ray Burmiston

On tour from September 26 to June 26 2021, Strictly Ballroom will visit the Grand Opera House, York, from November 23 to 28, as well as Hull New Theatre, October 12 to 17; Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, April 12 to 17 2021, and Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, May 31 to June 5 2021.

Clifton joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2013, performing in the final five times, missing out only in 2017 and 2019, and was crowned Strictly champion in 2018 with celebrity partner Stacey Dooley, the BBC documentary filmmaker, presenter and journalist.

A former youth world number one and four-time British Latin Champion, Clifton has won international open titles all over the world. After making his West End musical theatre debut in 2010 in Dirty Dancing, he starred as Robbie Hart in The Wedding Singer at Wembley Troubadour Park Theatre and as rock demigod Stacie Jaxx in the satirical Eighties’ poodle-rock musical Rock Of Ages in the West End, a role that also brought him to Leeds Grand Theatre last August.

Kevin Clifton as Stacee Jaxx in Rock Of Ages at Leeds Grand Theatre in 2019

Clifton last performed at the Grand Opera House, York, in the ballroom dance show Burn The Floor last May.

Strictly Ballroom The Musical tells the story of Scott Hastings, a talented, arrogant and rebellious young Aussie ballroom dancer. When his radical dance moves lead to him falling out of favour with the Australian Dance Federation, he finds himself dancing with Fran, a beginner with no moves at all.

Inspired by one another, this unlikely pair gathers the courage to defy both convention and family and discover that, to be winners, the steps don’t need to be strictly ballroom.

Sam Lips as Scott Hastings and Gemma Sutton as Fran in the British premiere of Strictly Ballroom The Musical at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, in 2016/2017. Picture: Alastair Muir

Featuring a book by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, the show features a cast of 20 and combines such familiar numbers as Love Is In The Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and Time After Time with songs by Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect.

Strictly Ballroom began as an uplifting, courageous stage play that Luhrmann devised with a group of classmates at Sydney’s National Institute of Dramatic Art in Australia in 1984. Eight years later, he made his screen directorial debut with Strictly Ballroom as the first instalment in his Red Curtain Trilogy.

The film won three 1993 BAFTA awards and received a 1994 Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture. Strictly Ballroom The Musical had its world premiere at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in 2014, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, staged the first British production in December 2016 to January 2017.

Joanne Clifton, Kevin’s sister, as Janet Weiss in The Rocky Horror Show at the Grand Opera House, York, last June

Kevin is not the only member of the Clifton dancing family of Grimsby to have graduated from Strictly champion into musicals. Sister Joanne, 36, appeared at the Grand Opera House, York, as demure flapper girl Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie in February 2017; combustible Pittsburgh welder and dancer Alex Owens in Flashdance in November that year and prim and proper but very corruptible Janet Weiss in The Rocky Horror Show in June 2019.

York tickets are on sale on 0844 871 3024 or at; Hull, 01482 300306 or Sheffield and Bradford tickets will be available soon.