KEVIN Clifton believes his dream of a winning an unprecedented Strictly double has been crushed after being paired with Anneka Rice and is privately raging.
The ballroom pro, who’s been in the final of the BBC One show five times, believes he is being punished by bosses over his romance with Stacey Dooley, who split with her longterm boyfriend Sam Tucknott shortly after winning the Glitterball with Kevin in December.
A source said: “Kevin has told pals he would have preferred someone like Catherine Tyldesley or Alex Scott.
“He calls himself King Kevin and wanted to make Strictly history by winning back to back titles.
“But although Anneka is willing, her age and agility means he won’t be able to throw her around like he did previous partners.
“Kevin thinks Anneka is great on a personal level but believes people at the top are putting the boot in for the fallout from his relationship with Stacey.”
Viewers tuning into the launch show on Saturday were also stunned by the decision to pair Kevin with the ex Beeb presenter, famed for her Challenge Anneka series, because of their noticeable height difference.
And it didn’t pass Kevin by either, with him complaining Anneka was the least suitable partner as she towers over him.
The source added: “Kevin is used to being one of the show’s favourites and doesn’t want to become the joke act.”
Anneka has already admitted to struggling with her fitness – two weeks before the start of the competition.
She was forced to miss the group dance on the pre-recorded launch night because of a shoulder injury.
Kevin has previously been partnered with Louise Redknapp, 44, Susanna Reid, 48, and Frankie Bridge, 30.
Anton Du Beke, 53, who’s known for being paired with the older female contestants, is now one of the favourites to win with EastEnders star Emma Barton, 42.
He joked about the possibility of making a final for the first time in the show’s 15-year history and said: “So this is what it feels like. Book me in till Christmas.”
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