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Good Evans Chris quits Strictly again; STAR BREAKS BEEB DANCE PROMISE.

Byline: David Stephenson EXCLUSIVE

CHRIS Evans has stepped away from Strictly Come Dancing for a second time - despite boasting he would definitely take part this year.

The broadcaster first backed out of the BBC series four years ago as he prepared to become host of Top Gear - which then flopped.

But he seemed to be a dancing shoo-in this time after telling millions of viewers on The One Show last December: "I have said 'Yes.' "Everyone puts it off and tries to keep it a secret," said Evans. "No, announce now. We're doing it now."

He joked that he'd agreed to do Strictly "because my wife would like to go every week". Evans even revealed negotiations had gone so far he had met Strictly commissioning editor Jo Wallace face to face.

"We had a cup of tea and she said, 'Are you up for it?' It's not as easy as maybe you imagine.' But I know it isn't."

And in April, on his radio show, he told Strictly pro dancer Kevin Clifton, 36: "I've got my contract."

But he added: "I've got to go for a medical because I've got a dodgy left knee so I can run on it. I can go straight but I have an issue with my knee so that could be a problem."

Fuming Last night a source close to him said: "Chris had been thinking and talking about doing Strictly but in the end it won't happen in 2019."

His decision will be a huge headache for Strictly bosses with the new series just eight weeks away - and some believe it was always "unlikely to happen".

One TV insider said: "Back in 2015, he was sent a contract by the BBC to appear in Strictly.

"He was sitting there ready to sign it. It was right in front of him but he got a call offering the Top Gear gig. He immediately ditched Strictly. BBC bosses were fuming."

Evans quit BBC Radio 2's Breakfast Show last year for a new slot at Virgin Radio.

BBC chief news anchor 57-year-old Huw Edwards says he is considering a Strictly offer, but insisted: "I think in all honesty it's a difficult thing to do in my day-to-day job. That's the strongest hint I can give you."

But an insider said: "He's close to being confirmed in the line-up."

And pro-dancer Anton du Beke, 52, is said to be battling McFly drummer Harry Judd, 33, to replace ex-ballet dancer Darcey Bussell, 50, as judge.

feedback@people.co.uk | Strictly Curse: Pages 20 & 21

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jul 7, 2019
Words:425
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