Dare to Dance Amy Dowden

Amy Dowden returns to TV amid cancer battle: ‘I was never going to let my diagnosis get in the way of what I love most’

Nothing can stop Strictly star Amy

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Dare To Dance with Amy Dowden returns next month as the Strictly pro returns to work amid her cancer battle.

After spending much of 2023 battling cancer, Amy’s new series premieres in March. Fortunately, Amy’s Strictly Come Dancing buddies were on hand to help her through the difficult time…

Helping Amy with the coaching and choreography are Dianne Buswell, Graziano Di Prima and Oti Mabuse.

Here’s everything you need to know about Amy and the second series of her upcoming BBC One show.

Amy Dowden with her For Help For Heroes shirt on
The Strictly star is a proud ambassador for Help For Heroes and Crohn’s and Colitis UK (Credit: Matthew Horwood/PinPep/Cover Images)

Amy Bowden returns to BBC One in Dare to Dance

Dare To Dance sees Amy coach aspiring Welsh dancers to surprise their friends and family with a performance to remember.

Her would-be dancers in season 2 include a young woman who stopped dancing when she became visually impaired. There’s also a firefighter who secretly loves dancing, as well as two friends hoping to wow on stage at a Windrush Day celebration.

And finally, there’s a Wrexham FC-obsessed couple who want to make their wedding that bit more special. It might get even more special than they anticipated, though, as Wrexham FC co-owner and Hollywood star Rob McElhenney pops by for a cameo…

Fans of Amy will know that the first series of Dare to Dance aired in 2023, with four heart-warming episodes.

Amy Dowden’s health battles

Amy has suffered from inflammatory bowel condition Crohn’s disease since she was a child, which she’s spoken out about multiple times. The condition typically causes abdominal pain and extreme fatigue. The acclaimed BBC documentary, Strictly Amy: Crohn’s and Me, explored Amy’s experiences with the condition in 2020.

In May 2023, Amy announced she had stage 3 cancer, after discovering a lump on her breast in April. She underwent a mastectomy, but her problems sadly didn’t end there. In July, she revealed she had a second type of cancer elsewhere in the body and required chemotherapy. She then contracted sepsis after her first round of chemo and was rushed to A&E.

After seven rounds of chemotherapy, Dowden revealed that the finish line was in sight as were her hopes of returning to Strictly. Unfortunately, Amy suffered a further set back as she broke her foot in November 2023 – ending her chances of playing a significant role in the BBC dancing competition. Later that same month, she was hospitalised with a blood clot in her lung – a side of her cancer treatment.

Nonetheless, Amy ended her year on a high when she made a surprise appearance on Strictly Come Dancing’s final.

Dare To Dance star Amy Dowden in her 2023 Strictly Come Dancing promo shot
Amy stole the show in the Strictly Come Dancing 2023 final (Credit: BBC)

Does Amy still have cancer?

Amy has not revealed whether she has the all-clear from cancer. She recently admitted she has had to adjust to her changed body.

In November 2023, she told her fans that she had “rung the bell” – something a patient does when they complete their treatment. She said: “All though my journey isn’t over yet, this day of ringing the chemo bell felt like an endless distance away and at points I thought I’d never make it to. I’m so proud of myself.

“I now await an MRI to determine if I need more surgery but for now I’m celebrating my chemo journey coming to an end.”

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Amy Dowden ‘won’t let diagnosis get in the way’ as she hosts Dare to Dance

Speaking about her return to work on Dare to Dance, Amy said: “When I dance, I feel like I can overcome anything. It’s something I want more people to experience, I really believe it can change your life.

“I was never going to let my diagnosis get in the way of what I love most and I am thrilled that my wonderful dance family could step in to ensure my wonderful students blew their family and friends away with their performance.”

Meanwhile, BBC Wales boss Nick Andrews promised: “Grab a hanky, it’s emotional stuff! Amy has drawn together an incredible and brave bunch of people as well as some of her showbiz mates. This is foot-tappingly watchable telly with oodles of drama. It’s both terrifying and joyful and only the remarkable Amy Dowden could have pulled it off.”

Read more: Strictly star Amy Dowden admits she’s ‘got to learn to accept’ her ‘new body’ and ‘scars’ amid cancer

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Dare to Dance will premiere on BBC One Wales and BBC iPlayer in March 2024.

Will you be watching Amy Dowden on Dare To Dance? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think of this story.

Susan Brett
TV Writer