Who are the Strictly It Takes Two presenters 2021 and why did Zoe Ball leave?

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  • The Strictly It Takes Two presenters 2021 are here to take fans through all the highs and lows of the contestants’ dancing journey ahead of each weekend’s main shows. 

    Ever since fans learnt who is on Strictly Come Dancing in 2021 and when it would start, the excitement for this year’s series has been building. And though things are slightly different, with Anton Du Beke making his debut on the judging panel and professional dancer Oti Mabuse announcing it’s her final series, there’s plenty of dancing talent to keep viewers eager for more this autumn. Though if two shows a week just isn’t enough, there’s always Strictly’s companion show, Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, to see you through ahead of the weekend performances. 

    But who are the Strictly It Takes Two presenters in 2021, why did Zoe Ball leave and is Ian Waite also leaving? We reveal all you need to know about the show’s presenting line-up…

    Who are the Strictly It Takes Two presenters 2021?

    The Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two presenters in 2021 are Rylan Clark-Neal and Janette Manrara. Fans of the Strictly companion show will already be familiar with Rylan, though the popular presenter is also known for his past appearances on ITV daytime show, This Morning. He hosted alongside former It Takes Two presenter Zoe Ball from 2019 onwards and is back again in 2021. 

    This will no doubt have delighted the presenter’s fans after Rylan sparked concern with his absence from hosting his Radio 2 show and from social media over the summer.

    Strictly It Takes Two presenter 2021 Rylan Clarke-Neal

    Credit: BBC

    Reports have recently claimed that he and his husband Dan Neal are “to divorce”. Despite the speculation, however, Rylan has now returned to his work commitments and is back on the Radio and on TV, with It Takes Two 2021 having started on 27th September. 

    This year Rylan is joined by professional dancer Janette, who has departed the main show after last year’s series, where she reached the final partnered with singer HRVY. Janette had danced on the show from 2013 and the news that she would be becoming one of the Strictly It Takes Two presenters in 2021 was confirmed in June. 

    As reported by the BBC at the time, she will be sharing presenting duties with Rylan across each week, with Janette sharing her joy at landing this exciting new role.

    Strictly It Takes Two presenter 2021 Janette Manrara

    Credit: BBC

    “It’s a dream come true to become part of the It Takes Two team!” she declared back then. “Although it’s impossible to fill in the shoes of a legend like Zoe Ball, I hope to make her and all of the Strictly fans proud.” 

    She continued, “I will miss dancing on that iconic dance floor weekly, but forever grateful to continue being a part of the Strictly Come Dancing family!”     

    And Janette certainly seems to have enjoyed her It Takes Two presenting debut and took to Twitter after her first show to share her excitement. 

    She posted, ‘What an incredible night hosting my first ever @bbcstrictly #ItTakesTwo w/ the gorgeous @Rylan! I’ll miss him on Wednesdays & Thursdays, but cannot wait to be back tomorrow! Such a special night! THANK YOU for all of the lovely messages of love & support. They mean the world!’

    With many weeks still to come until we see this year’s winner of Strictly Come Dancing crowned, Janette and Rylan will have plenty more dancing, laughs and insights to share until the final. 

    Why is there a new Strictly It Takes Two presenter? 

    Janette Manrara has stepped in alongside Rylan as the new It Takes Two presenter after his previous co-host Zoe Ball departed the show after 2020’s series. The popular TV and Radio presenter took over from Claudia Winkleman as host of the Strictly Come Dancing spin off show in 2011. Meanwhile Claudia went on to present the main show and has previously opened up about her imposter syndrome upon taking on this prestigious role. 

    Zoe Ball attends the National Television Awards held at The O2 Arena on January 22, 2019

    However, despite capturing the hearts of fans across the nation and following in Claudia’s brilliant footsteps, Zoe took to Instagram in May this year to announce the sad news that she would be leaving after a decade on It Takes Two.  

    Posting a selection of sweet snaps from her time on the show, Zoe explained in her caption, ‘Dance lovers, after 10 joyous years I am waltzing away from It Takes Two. As a massive @bbcstrictly fan I have loved spending my Autumn teatimes with the celebrity dancers, the gorgeous & awesome pro dancers, the judges, my girl Vicky Gill, Rylan, Gethin & of course my main man Ian Waite.

    She also reflected upon how, despite her departure, she would continue to remain a fan of the show and cheer on this year’s line-up from home.

    Zoe Ball arrives for the Red Carpet Launch of 'Strictly Come Dancing 2016' at Elstree Studios on August 30

    I will continue to support the Strictly family on the Breakfast Show & can’t wait to watch the Class Of 2021 from my sofa’, she explained, before going on to add that she would miss everyone involved ‘immensely’. 

    Meanwhile, Janette Manrara also announced her decision to step down from her former role as professional dancer on Strictly earlier this year. During an interview with Hello! magazine, the talented dancer revealed that she and her husband and fellow pro dancer Aljaž Škorjanec are hoping to start a family.

    “Starting a family is something we have been talking about for a while now and dancing was something I really had to think about when it came to making any kind of decision,” she said.

    Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara attend the "Strictly Come Dancing" launch show red carpet

    “The level of pressure that comes with being a professional on Strictly has now been lifted from my life, so I feel like I can breathe now when it comes to starting a family.”

    Janette added, “We definitely want to be parents and this has given us an opportunity to really take a look at that part of our lives and see what we can do moving forward.”

    Why did Zoe Ball leave It Takes Two?

    For anyone who was wondering who the Strictly It Takes Two presenters are in 2021, the question of why Zoe Ball left It Takes Two might also have been on your minds. In her original Instagram announcement, Zoe’s caption mentioned that it was, ‘Time now for some new cha cha challenges’. And this was something that the star reportedly mentioned once again during her BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show. 

    As reported by Express.co.uk, Zoe told listeners that “walking away” from It Takes Two was “one of the hardest decisions” she’d ever had to make. She then reportedly went on to reveal more detail surrounding the reasons for her momentous decision. 

    Broadcaster Zoe Ball at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, on August 22, 2018

    “I love that show, you know how obsessed I am with Strictly,” she explained. “But after 10 years, sometimes you’ve got to give yourself some new challenges.”

    She added, “Also I don’t get to see my Nell in the morning. So to be able to see her in the evening is such a lovely thing because she’s growing up so fast.”

    Zoe’s co-parents daughter Nelly (11) and son Woody (20) with her former husband Norman Cook, AKA Fatboy Slim. With her work on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show meaning early starts, the evenings, when It Takes Two is filmed, will now be free for Zoe to spend with her children.

    Is Ian Waite leaving It Takes Two?

    Professional dancer Ian Waite is leaving It Takes Two. Long-time Strictly fans will likely have been excited when Ian Waite appeared on Strictly It Takes Two for the regular slot, Ian Waite’s Wednesday Warm-Up. The dancer partnered Zoe Ball, as well as Heptathlete Denise Lewis and model Jodie Kidd during his time on Strictly Come Dancing, so his expert take on each year’s contestants every Wednesday was incredibly valuable. 

    However, just like Zoe Ball, it seems Iain decided that the time had come to move on after 10 years. He took to Instagram in May to reveal that he would also not be returning in 2021.

    Jodie Kidd and dance partner Ian Waite attend the Strictly Come Dancing: The Live Tour! photocall

    He posted, ‘Wow! What a incredible journey. It is with great sadness but also a lot of pride that after ten years presenting Waites Warm Up on #ItTakesTwo the sister show to @bbcstrictly I will be putting away my wand to focus on my dance fitness brand Fitsteps and also my up and coming tour with Vincent Simone The Ballroom Boys’.

    Ian went on to thank everyone who made his It Takes Two experience so wonderful, adding, ‘I feel so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with Strictly since the first year in 2004 and I will continue to support all my supremely talented fellow pro dancers, judges, celebs and look forward to their performances in 2021.’

    Strictly Come Dancing partners from the show DJ Zoe Ball and Ian Waite attend the Rainbow Glass Slipper Ball 2005

    And his former Strictly dance partner and It Takes Two colleague Zoe also got a heartfelt mention in his emotional caption, as did the brilliant fans.

    This journey would not have been possible without the one and only Zoe Ball who has been the most loyal, loving, caring friend one could wish to have’, he wrote.

    I will miss you the most but know that we will still see each other a lot in the future. Lastly thank you to all our wonderful ITT fans you are the best! 😘😘😘

    Whilst Ian and Zoe might no longer be part of the It Takes Two team, they will no doubt be looking forward to watching Strictly It Takes Two this year.