Professional dancer Natalie Lowe retires from Strictly Come Dancing

Professional dancer Natalie Lowe has announced that she’s retiring from the show after eight years on our screens.

Natalie joined the team in 2009, having won Australia’s Dancing With the Stars three years prior, and says that her time with the BBC has been ‘everything that I dreamed it would be and more’.

The 36-year-old said: ‘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 released a statement on the news which read: ‘Everyone at Strictly wishes Natalie the best.’

Natalie pictured with fellow dancers Joanne Clifton, Otlile Mabuse, Janette Manrara, and Karen Clifton in 2016

Natalie has been paired up with some of Strictly Come Dancing biggest names, including chef Ainsley Harriott and Olympian Greg Rutherford. She has never won the show with a partner, but came second when she worked with soap star Ricky Whittle in 2009.

The four-time Australian ballroom dance Champion has not yet announced her next project.

‘This was a very difficult decision for me not to accept the invitation to appear on this season of Strictly Come Dancing,’ she told Press Association. ‘It is with a very heavy heart that I have arrived at this decision.’

In 2015, Natalie confirmed her engagement to company director James Knibbs, whom she met by chance on a train in 2013, when she had to pull out of that year’s series of Strictly due to injury. At the time, she revealed to HELLO! magazine that she had initially been ‘gutted’ over not participating, but after bumping into James said that it had been a ‘blessing in disguise’.

James, who had only managed to catch the train because it was delayed, agreed: ‘I have to thank East Coast for being late. Getting that train was the best decision I ever made.’