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Stacey Dooley hails boyfriend Kevin Clifton after surprise Strictly return

Strictly Come Dancing 2018 winners Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley with the glitterball trophy (Levy/BBC/PA)
Strictly Come Dancing 2018 winners Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley with the glitterball trophy (Levy/BBC/PA)

Stacey Dooley has praised her boyfriend Kevin Clifton as “the damn king” after he stepped in to dance with Alex Scott on Strictly Come Dancing.

The football star’s regular partner Neil Jones injured himself during training on Saturday morning and was unable to perform.

But Clifton, 37, who was eliminated in the second week alongside his celebrity partner Anneka Rice, was able to take Jones’ place.

Despite having just 40 minutes to rehearse with Clifton, Scott earned praise from the judges and a total score of 34 out of a possible 40.

Documentary maker Dooley, 32, who split with her ex-partner during her time on the show, revealed on Twitter that Clifton had had less than an hour with Scott.

In a video, she said: “Yes Kev. That’s why you are the damn king. He had 40 minutes to learn that routine. I am so proud.”

Jones thanked Clifton in a tweet following their performance.

He said: “Proud is not the word. @AlexScott just went out their under pressure and smashed that routine. @keviclifton.

“Thank you so much for what you have done tonight it means a lot to me.”

He added the hashtags #strictly and #teamred.

They danced a couples’ choice street/commercial routine to Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr, dressed in the franchise’s famous boiler suits and brandishing plastic guns.

After the dance, Clifton admitted to the judges that he made a few mistakes, but credited Scott with keeping the performance on track.

Head judge Shirley Ballas praised her “mental ability” and said the performance was “completely on point”.

Bruno Tonioli said that, irrespective of her new partner, it had been her “best dance ever”.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One.

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