KEVIN Clifton and Stacey Dooley’s return to Strictly as reigning champions began with a ‘lovers’ tiff’ before they wowed the audience with a pasa doble.
The pair bickered in their VT after Stacey, 31, asked how the Strictly experience was for Kevin, 36.
Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley’s return to Strictly as reigning champions began with a ‘lovers’ tiff’[/caption]
Rolling his eyes, he said: “I’ve done it six times.”
Stacey fired back: “But you’ve never won.”
With tongue firmly in cheek, Kevin laughed: “We’re having a lovers’ tiff here.”
Things were more friendly as they reflected on their win in last year’s final.
But the pair were soon laughing[/caption]
Stacey said to camera: “Strictly as an entire experience was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done.”
Kevin added: “When Tess said Stacey and Kevin, suddenly it was chaos.”
And to Stacey, he smiled: “I love how much you loved it.”
Viewers were then given a peek at the pair in rehearsals, and Stacey revealed her feisty side, prompting Kevin to say: “Three minutes in she’s already questioning my choreography.”
They performed a pasa doble on their comeback[/caption]
Kevin has been partnered with TV presenter Anneka, 60, Rice for this year’s series.
Last week it was revealed Craig Revel Horwood issued a grovelling apology after suggesting celebs should sleep with their pro partners like Stacey.
The acid-tongued judge, 54, admitted he had made a “huge error” and he deeply regretted his “hurtful” jibe, made during the filming of last night’s show.
Last year’s champ Stacey – now dating Kevin – was sitting in the audience with her family at the time.
Filming was halted as aides rushed over to them, but her mum Di fled the Strictly studio.
BBC sources said Craig was savaged by bosses for the “totally unacceptable” remark — and ordered to apologise.
Craig said: “I’m deeply sorry for the offence caused to Kevin and Stacey and everyone who works on the show.
“I recognise that what I said was hurtful, cruel and incredibly disrespectful. It was a huge error of judgment that I very much regret.”
It came after reigning champions Stacey and Kevin took to the ballroom floor during filming for the pre-recorded launch show.
Following their performance, host Tess Daly asked the panel – Craig, Bruno Tonioli, Shirley Ballas and newcomer Motsi Mabuse – for their advice to this year’s cast.
Craig initially told her the contestants should be inspired by documentary-maker Stacey.
He said she had been “dragged up from the dance gutter” before winning the show.
But he then added spitefully: “Of course, if you sleep with your dance partner that helps…”
Sources said the snide remark sent shockwaves around the studio, and horrified bosses immediately called for filming to be halted. Worried aides flocked to Stacey and her family while executive producers immediately decided to scrap the footage.
The hosts, panel and audience were then asked to return to their places to re-film the sequence.
One source said: “It was an awful moment. Craig was obviously trying to be funny, but realised as soon as he said it that he had gone too far.
“The audience was visibly shocked, as was Tess Daly and the other judges.
“Immediately after he made the comment, ‘cut’ was called, and chaos broke out.
“Several aides rushed over to Stacey and her family to check if they were OK. They were all stunned, and Stacey’s mum obviously wasn’t OK at all.
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“She looked very upset, and soon after that she left the studio.
“The bosses were absolutely furious with Craig and wasted no time in taking him to one side afterwards and telling him the remark was totally unacceptable.
“They encouraged him to make a full apology to Stacey and Kevin, which he was happy to do.
“He knows that what he said was completely out of line.”