Strictly Come Dancing fans brand Amy Dowden ‘true winner’ as dancer makes surprise return to show

Welsh professional dancer missed out on competing in 2023 series after breast cancer diagnosis earlier this year

Nicole Vassell
Sunday 17 December 2023 12:42 GMT
Amy Dowden surprises Strictly viewers in dance fans call 'moment of the series'

Amy Dowden thrilled Strictly Come Dancing viewers during the live final as she made a surprise appearance during the opening group number.

The professional dancer, 33, has been a staple of the BBC dance competition since she joined in 2017, and is much-loved among fans of the show.

However, Dowden did not compete in 2023’s series due to undergoing treatment for breast cancer, which included chemotherapy and a mastectomy earlier this year.

On Saturday’s (16 December) final episode, which saw actor Ellie Leach become the show’s youngest-ever winner, Dowden delighted fans by joining in a routine with her professional colleagues.

The Welsh star was met with cheers from the studio audience as a spotlight revealed her face, before she and the cast performed some sharp tango moves with fans.

Amy Dowden (Getty)

In response, viewers were quick to share words of happiness at seeing Dowden back on screen.

“Amy Dowden, the woman that you are. I am sobbing,” wrote one fan on X/Twitter. “Seeing her on stage, dancing with the other pros again was everything. One of the bravest, strongest, most beautiful humans.”

Another X user branded her “the true winner this year”, while others shared how emotionally affected they were by her inclusion.

“I started [crying] when Amy Dowden appeared on the dancefloor in the opening dance,” one viewer said.

“I wasn’t expecting to cry a minute into the show but it was just wonderful to see her back on the dancefloor looking so happy.”

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Amy Dowden (Strictly Come Dancing, BBC)

Previously in the series, Dowden had appeared as a special guest to read out the terms and conditions for the voting audience, where she debuted her shaved head.

Though she mentioned the loss of her hair as the “hardest step” of her cancer treatment, she said that she decided to “brave the bald” as a way to show others that they’re not alone.

“[This is] why I use my platform to raise awareness and hopefully give others confidence #baldisbeautful,” she wrote of the positive messages she had received after her appearance on the show.

“Not saying it was easy and I still miss my long hair dearly but gosh did it feel liberating and it’s breast cancer awareness month which gave me that extra push to do it.”

Last month, Dowden revealed that watching Strictly had helped her during her cancer treatment as she enjoyed seeing her colleagues succeed.

“I’m my fellow professionals’ biggest cheerleader,” she told Women’s Health. “I know people are like, ‘Yeah, yeah...’ but we’re the best of friends.”

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