STRICTLY star Kevin Clifton has insisted he’s “very impressed” with celeb partner Anneka Rice after The Sun revealed he’s privately fuming about the pairing.
The ballroom pro, who’s been in the final of the BBC One show five times, believes he is being punished by bosses over his romance with Stacey Dooley, who split with her longterm boyfriend Sam Tucknott shortly after winning the Glitterball with Kevin in December.
But, appearing on Anneka’s Instagram Stories yesterday, Kevin revealed he’s been “very impressed” with the 60-year-old’s dancing ability.
He gushed: “I’m very impressed, very happy.”
A beaming Anneka then told him: “I love that so much. Honestly Kevin that’s almost the best day I’ve had in my whole life.”
Kevin retorted: “You were brilliant, you were amazing today.”
The long-time TV presenter then leaned in for a hug and told the pro dancer: “Oh Kevin, I love you. I’m really buzzing as they say on Love Island.”
The clip comes after sources told The Sun that Kevin feared being partnered with Anne quashed his dream of winning an unprecedented Strictly double.
A source said: “Kevin has told pals he would have preferred someone like Catherine Tyldesley or Alex Scott.
“He calls himself King Kevin and wanted to make Strictly history by winning back to back titles.
“But although Anneka is willing, her age and agility means he won’t be able to throw her around like he did previous partners.
“Kevin thinks Anneka is great on a personal level but believes people at the top are putting the boot in for the fallout from his relationship with Stacey.”
Viewers tuning into the launch show on Saturday were also stunned by the decision to pair Kevin with the ex Beeb presenter, famed for her Challenge Anneka series, because of their noticeable height difference.
And it didn’t pass Kevin by either, with him complaining Anneka was the least suitable partner as she towers over him.
The source added: “Kevin is used to being one of the show’s favourites and doesn’t want to become the joke act.”
Anneka has already admitted to struggling with her fitness – two weeks before the start of the competition.
She was forced to miss the group dance on the pre-recorded launch night because of a shoulder injury.
evin has previously been partnered with Louise Redknapp, 44, Susanna Reid, 48, and Frankie Bridge, 30.
MOST READ IN TV & SHOWBIZ
Anton Du Beke, 53, who’s known for being paired with the older female contestants, is now one of the favourites to win with EastEnders star Emma Barton, 42.
He joked about the possibility of making a final for the first time in the show’s 15-year history and said: “So this is what it feels like. Book me in till Christmas.”
Got a story? email [email protected] or call us direct on 02077824220.
We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.