Helen Skelton Strictly tour: why isn’t star dancing with Gorka Marquez - who is she paired up with instead?

Helen Skelton will not be joined by her Strictly Come Dancing professional partner Gorka Marquez for the 2023 live tour. The pair reached the final this year.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 came to a close on Saturday 17 December, with celebrity finalists Fleur East, Hamza Yassin, Helen Skelton and Molly Rainford competing for the crown. BBC cameraman Hamza and professional partner Jowita Przystał were the winners - but all four celebrity finalists are slated to return to the dancefloor in the Strictly Come Dancing Live tour next year.

Helen announced that she would join fellow celebs Fleur East, Will Mellor, Molly Rainford, Ellie Simmonds, Tyler West, and Hamza Yassin on the 2023 tour. However, she will be the only celebrity not to be joined by the professional dancer she was paired with on the show.

Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez made it to the final
Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez made it to the final
Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez made it to the final

Why isn’t Helen Skelton dancing with Gorka Marquez on the Strictly live tour?

Blue Peter and Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton, 39, was paired with 32 year old professional dancer Gorka Marquez during the Strictly Come Dancing show. The pair did well over the series, scoring 39 points out of 40 on weeks nine and 11, and gaining a full 40 for their couple’s choice dance in the final.

Helen and Gorka did not do enough to win the glitterball trophy - Gorka has never won the series, though he has been a runner-up twice before, with Alexandra Burke in 2017 and Maisie Smith in 2020. Gorka was also absent from the rescheduled 2022 Strictly Live tour which saw competitors from the 2020 series reunite on the dancefloor. Maisie Smith, who had been partnered with Gorka on the show, was paired with 27 year old professional dancer Kai Widdrington for the live tour.

No reason has been given for the switch, and all the other celebrities who have been confirmed for the tour will be reunited with their professional partners from the series. However, as Gorka has previously missed the live tours, it doesn’t seem to be due to a personal issue between himself and Helen.

Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington were the first to be eliminated
Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington were the first to be eliminated
Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington were the first to be eliminated

Who will Helen Skelton be paired with on the Strictly live tour?

Helen will be partnered with Kai Widdrington who was paired with TV presenter and journalist Kaye Adams, 59, in the latest series. Kai and Kaye were the first to be eliminated from the show having scored just 21 points in week one and 22 points in week two.

As Kaye is not taking part in the live tour, Kai will join Helen instead. Gorka seemed to show support for the pairing, commencing with three clapping emojis on Strictly Come Dancing Live’s Instagram post announcing the full tour lineup.

Helen said: “Strictly has been the adventure of a lifetime and I’m so happy that it will continue next year on the live tour. I’m really looking forward to seeing the fans across the country and performing my favourite dances from the series. I can’t wait!"

Gorka will also be back dancing on the stage with fellow Strictly professional Karen Hauer in their Firedance shows taking place across the UK from February to April 2023. The dances are inspired by Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Carmen, West Side Story.

When is the Strictly Come Dancing Live tour?

The Strictly Come Dancing Live tour will feature 33 performances across the UK. The tour will begin in Birmingham on 20 January and end in Glasgow on 12 February 2023.