Strictly Come Dancing star Natalie Lowe quitting BBC One show
The jig is up for the long-running Strictly dancer.
Strictly Come Dancing professional Natalie Lowe has announced she is retiring from the BBC One show.
The 36-year-old has been partnered with celebrities such as Hollyoaks star Ricky Whittle and Olympian Greg Rutherford since joining the series in 2009.
She told Press Association: “This was a very difficult decision for me not to accept the invitation to appear on this season of Strictly Come Dancing.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I have arrived at this decision.
“I’ll be forever grateful for the amazing time, opportunities and memories that Strictly has created for me. My time on the programme has been everything that I dreamed it would be and more.
“From the friendships I developed, the amazing dances I was able to perform in and the experiences that Strictly provided, it has been an incredible and extraordinary adventure.”
Prior to performing on Strictly, Natalie competed in Australia’s Dancing With The Stars and went on to win the 2006 series of the TV show.
She is also an 11-time Australian ballroom dance champion.
During her first year on Strictly in 2009, she partnered Ricky and the pair came second after being beaten by BBC presenter Chris Hollins and his professional partner Ola Jordan.
She partnered EastEnders actor Scott Maslen in 2010 and the pair ended in fourth position.
Last year, she and Greg became the ninth couple to leave the show after the judges opted to save gymnast Claudia Fragapane and her partner AJ Pritchard.
Natalie will not be hanging up her dancing shoes and is working on a project that she will announce in due course.
She also plans to spend more time promoting her dance-based fitness programme called FitSteps alongside friend and former Strictly professional Ian Waite and former Olympic swimmer Mark Foster.
The show’s head judge, Len Goodman, stepped down last year and his replacement on the judging panel has yet to be announced.