‘It’s great’ Saffron Barker addresses Strictly co-star’s decision to quit BBC series

Strictly: Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard eliminated from show

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YouTuber Saffron Barker is back on TV dancing up a storm as she appears in the E4 show The Real Dirty Dancing. Looking like a strong contender with two top performances under her belt, the star has opened up about dancing on TV again after her time on Strictly Come Dancing and has shown her support and love for the ITV show veteran Oti Mabuse.

Nobody puts Keith Lemon and Ashley Roberts in the corner as the presenting duo work together again to find the perfect Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) and Frances’ Baby’ Houseman (Jennifer Grey).

The pair are pitting ten celebrities against each other in a weekly talent competition as they perform iconic scenes and dance routines from the cult classic 1987 film Dirty Dancing.

Saffron was the first Baby selected after being week one’s stand out performer and was paired with Blue boyband member Lee Ryan.

With the semi-final looming, the star and Lee are reunited in their bid to be the best dirty dancers out there.

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Appearing on Strictly in 2019, Saffron is behind Oti’s decision to step away from the show; she said: “Oti is an amazing woman and performer, and whatever she decides to pursue will be a great decision for her; she’s a superstar.”

Partnered with AJ Pritchard, the TV personality was the ninth celebrity to leave the ITV show but wowed fans with her moves.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk about the two shows, she continued: “It was definitely different to Strictly, but equally as amazing.

“We didn’t have any professional dancers to partner with on The Real Dirty Dancing, so it’s just us celebrities and no one helping, which made it so much fun.”

Unlike the ITV show, the professional dancers on the E4 competition only assisted on specific episodes to help the celebrities achieve the whole Kellerman experience; the pressure of the dance fell solely on them.

Depending on how the pairing performed each week would impact their future partnerships with the strongest male and female partner getting to pick who they danced with next, the catch being they could not choose someone they had previously danced with.

This pushed Saffron out of her “comfort zone”, she added: “I got dropped a few times. We were trying to do a lift; there were falls every day, I got dropped on my head.”

The bruises paid off when the 21-year-old and Gogglebox Tom Malone Jr impressed their fellow celebrities with their partner work and lifts.

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In her short time on the show, she has blossomed into one to watch, but the TV personality revealed she felt a bit nervous at first.

“There isn’t a word for what I felt when the doors opened, and we saw the professional dancers,” she said, reminiscing on the first episode.

“I had no idea we would be dancing with each other [the celebrities] and not with professionals.

“We had literally just met and then had to dance together. I had never dirty danced with anyone before.”

The YouTuber also thanked her fans for their love and support.

She added: “My fans have been nothing but supportive. They know how much passion I have for dancing and performing; I’m loving seeing everyone tagging me in their social media about the show.”

Saffron has watched the film multiple times and has fond memories of: “Sitting down to watch it with my mum and saying ‘I’m going to be Baby, or I’m going to be Johnny’. “

Lee and Saffron matched when they both picked each other, meaning with them both hoping that their beginner’s luck would see them sail through the semi-final performance.

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