Entertainment & Arts

Strictly Come Dancing dancer Natalie Lowe retires from the show

Natalie Lowe

Strictly Come Dancing is saying goodbye to professional dancer Natalie Lowe after she decided "with a very heavy heart" to leave the show.

Lowe, 36, whose partners have included Olympian Greg Rutherford and Hollyoaks star Ricky Whittle, said it was "a very difficult decision for me".

She joined BBC One's Strictly in 2009, having won Australia's Dancing With the Stars in 2006.

Strictly was "everything that I dreamed it would be and more", she said.

Image caption Lowe came ninth last year with Olympian Greg Rutherford

"I'll be forever grateful for the amazing time, opportunities and memories that Strictly has created for me.

"From the friendships I developed, the amazing dances I was able to perform in and the experiences that Strictly provided, it has been an incredible and extraordinary adventure."

The BBC said of her departure: "Everyone at Strictly wishes Natalie the best."

Lowe, who is an 11-time Australian ballroom dance champion, came second on Strictly in her first year dancing with Whittle. They were beaten by BBC presenter Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan.

She came fourth in 2010 with EastEnders actor Scott Maslen, and ninth last year with Rutherford.

The dancer said she will announce her next project in due course.

Strictly fans are still waiting to hear who will replacing head judge Len Goodman, who retired from the show last year.

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