Brendan Cole, Aljaz and Janette and Oti Mabuse posing on Strictly

All the former Strictly pros the show desperately needs to bring back

Come back Brendan, all is forgiven!

The Strictly professionals are back in the rehearsal room ahead of the 2023 series, but I can’t help thinking that the show could benefit from bringing back some of the legends that have gone before to show the youngsters a thing or two.

I’ve watched the show since the very first episode – and don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it. But I reckon the BBC could add in a little more razzle dazzle by bringing a few of the old pros back.

After all, who wouldn’t want to see a return of Brendan Cole‘s epic tantrums or Vincent Simone’s sizzling salsa moves? I’m here for it – and I reckon viewers would be too.

Brendan Cole on the red carpet in a white shirt
Brendan Cole’s Strictly exit surprised everyone – including the man himself (Credit: Splash News)

Strictly professionals who need to make a comeback: Brendan Cole

It’s unlikely he’ll be asked back after his axing and subsequent interviews on the topic, but I really think Strictly is missing a strong pro dancer like Brendan Cole who’ll go toe-to-toe with the judges.

Brendan wasn’t afraid to stick up for himself and his celebrity partner, hitting back at the judges over every little thing that he thought was unjust. The pros these days, as much as I love them, seem to give the judges far too much power. Come on lads and lasses, they may have decades of experience and yes they deserve respect, but so do you! You are on the show for a reason – stand up for yourself and speak up. Although there’s no need to take it to James Jordan levels…

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Ola Jordan

On the subject of the Jordans, I’d love to see his wife Ola make a Strictly comeback. She’s gorgeous, fiery and a great dancer – plus having James in the audience each week showing support would certainly make the celebs and current crop of dancers up their game!

An Oti-shaped hole

If you ask me (and I’m well aware you didn’t!), the show has a great big Oti Mabuse-shaped hole.

Now I know it was her decision to leave the show, and on a total high I have to add, but her personality lit up the room and her skills on the dance floor were second to none.

I miss Oti – I miss her smile, her outfits, her hairstyles, her laugh… No other female pro on there comes close when it comes to choreography or personality – although I do have a soft spot for Nancy Xu (and no, not just because we have the same name!).

Oti Mabuse jumping in front of a glittery backdrop
Strictly has an Oti-shaped hole (Credit: BBC)

Janette and Aljaz

It was a sad, sad day when Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec announced their departures from the show. As well as being pretty easy on the eye, Aljaz was my pro partner pick if I ever made it to the dizzying heights of the Strictly dance floor. Without him as an option, it’s a no from me, BBC.

I can at least console myself with the fact that new mum Janette is still part of the on-screen Strictly family, even if she isn’t one of the professionals any more. Kudos to her for coming back to the show so soon after having baby Lyra, too. Your public thank you, Janette.

Strictly professionals who need to come back: Vincent Simone

This is purely because I met him at a party once many years ago. He gave me a very brief dance lesson and I commented on how nice his aftershave was. “Smell me, smell me,” came his reply.

Much like Janette, Vincent was a little pocket rocket on the show. He’s still dancing, too, 10 years after his exit. A little check on his socials reveal Vincent is touring with none other than Strictly legend Ian Waite.

Come back soon, Amy

News that Amy Dowden had been diagnosed with cancer was absolutely heartbreaking – and it was soon confirmed that she would need chemotherapy, meaning she couldn’t appear as planned on Strictly 2023.

I’ve never met her, but everyone who has tells me she’s the nicest woman you could ever meet. And it comes across on screen. Without her on the dance floor this year the show has lost a warm, gentle, caring soul, and a brilliant dancer.

Wishing you well Amy, and hoping you’re back and better than ever for Strictly 2024.

Read more: James Jordan issues warning for Strictly hopeful: ‘He’s going home’

So who would you like to see back? Tell us on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Nancy Brown
Associate Editor