Neil Jones branded 'amazing' by BBC Strictly Xmas partner after yet another main series snub

Neil Jones branded 'amazing' by BBC Strictly Xmas partner after yet another main series snub

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Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 25/12/2023

- 07:00

The Strictly pro is joining forces with Tillie Amartey for the festive edition

Neil Jones has been applauded by his Strictly Come Dancing Christmas partner ahead of the festive special.

Jones has been part of the Strictly furniture for seven years now but during that time has only been paired with two celebs in the flagship series.

He finished in fifth place with Alex Scott during the 17th series and was part of the first pairing eliminated in series 19 alongside Nina Wadia.

However, when the festive period rolls around, Jones tends to come into his own and gets the chance to show his skills on the floor.

This year, he and Tillie Amartey, an 18-year-old actress, will be hoping to bag the festive Glitterball.

To do so, Amartey and Jones will have to impress over the likes of historian Dan Snow, EastEnders star Jamie Borthwick, Sugababes singer Keisha Buchanan, rugby player Danny Cipriani and newsreader Sally Nugent.

Tillie Amartey and Neil Jones

Tillie Amartey and Neil Jones have been paired for the Christmas special


While the special has already been recorded - with the results leaking online weeks prior - Amartey and Jones have both spoken to the media about their performance.

And it sounds like Jones' snub from the main series isn't down to his training technique as Amartey had nothing but praise for the dancer following their rehearsals..

"Neil is amazing," Amartey said of Jones. "He’s so patient, it’s never a problem if I don’t get something straight away, because he will just remix it for me."

Jones was similarly full of praise for the teenager: "Tillie has been brilliant. At the beginning, I thought she was a dancer.

"When she told me she wasn’t, I didn’t believe her, and then I realised when we started she really didn’t have any experience.

"But she picks everything up really quick, and she has her own way and style of dancing which is great."

Jones will undoubtedly be hoping he'll be paired with a celeb in the 2024 series, although he has addressed how it feels to be snubbed from the line-up before.

He told Radio Times ahead of this year's series: "I think this is going to be my eighth series, and I’ve had two partners on the main show.

Neil Jones and Tillie Amartey

Neil Jones and Tillie Amartey perform their festive routine


"I would honestly say to you, I love when I have a partner, and I love when I don’t have a partner.

"When you don’t have a partner, a lot of people think you just sit at home.

"But you really don’t. On Strictly, they make sure you’ve got plenty to do. We’re doing group numbers and music acts, we help out other pros."

Jones wasn't the only big name among the pros who missed out on a celebrity partner as Nadiya Bychkova was also left out of the line-up.

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