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Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna

Brian

Snow, Santa and Brian Fortuna

Dozens of children enjoyed the switch on of thousands of lights on the biggest Christmas tree Northampton has ever seen. The crowd cheered as Strictly Come Dancing’s Brian Fortuna switched on the lights on the 60ft tree in the Market Square at the culmination of a festive launch event on Saturday.

A flurry of “snowfall” added to the atmosphere as lights went on across the town centre.

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Brian

Brian to turn on Northampton’s lights

Strictly Come Dancing star Brian Fortuna has been handed the honour of turning on Northampton’s Christmas lights, with the twinkle-toes performer headlining an all-star cast for the big switch-on.

Children will be able to speak to Father Christmas over a live satellite link to his North Pole grotto at the launch of the town’s seasonal celebrations on Saturday, November 26.

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Brian

Brian to be judge at Strictly Northampton

Strictly Come Dancing star Brian Fortuna has agreed to be a judge in the Chronicle & Echo’s own version of the hit BBC1 television show at Royal & Derngate next month, the Chron can reveal today.

The 29-year-old, from New Jersey, USA, will be in the town this Christmas to play the lead role in Aladdin at the theatre, and had no hesitation in agreeing to be on the panel of judges at Strictly Northampton on Saturday, November 26.

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Brian

Brian's Over the Rainbow

The award-winning musical play telling the poignant story of Eva Cassidy, Over the Rainbow, comes to The Courtyard in Hereford on October 2.

It features a talented cast of performers and musicians, including Sarah Jane Buckley of Hollyoaks as Eva Cassidy, with Maureen Nolan as her mother and Brian Fortuna (of Strictly Come Dancing) playing Danny, her brother.

The show has been enjoying sell-out performances throughout the UK and Ireland.

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Ali

Ali Bastian gives her Verdict

Following the huge success of previous productions such as The Hollow, Spider’s Web and most recently Witness for the Prosecution, The Agatha Christie Theatre Company is back with yet another gripping murder mystery from the woman who knew the genre best.

Richmond Theatre welcomes Agatha Christie’s Verdict to its stage between April 25 and 30.

Starring Ali Bastian, ex-Hollyoaks and Strictly Come Dancing favourite, the play is anything but a typical Agatha Christie whodunit.

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Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna

Brian and Ali remain friends

Brian Fortuna and Ali Bastian, who briefly found love on Strictly Come Dancing, avoid an awkward reunion.

It could have been a moment of toe-curling awkwardness, but when Brian Fortuna and Ali Bastian were nominated for a joint award at the whatsonstage.com awards, they couldn’t have handled it in a more civilised manner.

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Brian

Brian Fortuna quits Strictly

Strictly Come Dancing star Brian Fortuna quit the show last night after BBC chiefs demoted him and four other professional dancers and replaced them with younger stars.

Mr Fortuna, Ian Waite, Matthew Cutler, Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova - who are mostly in their 30s - were offered roles in a 'professional dance troupe', meaning they will no longer compete in the show or be paired with celebrities.

 

 

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Brian

Strictly Come Dancing Shake-Up Storm

A shake-up of Strictly Come Dancing has cut the number of celebrities to 14 and sidelined five of the regular professionals.

Brian Fortuna, who partnered actress Ali Bastian last year, announced he was quitting the show after the BBC offered him a role as a performer rather than a competitor following the recruitment of three new male professionals.

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Strictly's Brian Fortuna quits show

Strictly Come Dancing's Brian Fortuna has announced he is leaving the show after changes were made to the format.

The American said he had decided to quit after he and some colleagues were asked to concentrate on professional-only routines in this autumn's series, rather than dancing with celebrities.

The number of celebrity dancers is to be cut this year from 16 to 14.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We would like to thank [Brian] for all his hard work over the last two series."

'Dance spectacles'

The BBC has recruited three new male dancers for the 2010 series and asked five of its regular professionals - including 2009 semi-finalist Fortuna - to give up their usual mentoring role.

The show's producers wanted Fortuna, along with Ian Waite, Matthew Cutler and husband and wife Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova, to form a new professional group which would perform "show-stopping dance spectacles" each week.

But Fortuna said on Tuesday night that he had chosen to leave Strictly and concentrate instead on the West End stage show Burn The Floor, which will see him perform with his 2009 Strictly partner, actress Ali Bastian.

"I really enjoyed working on Strictly over the years - loved the fans and loved all the people I got work with - but there are changes planned for the next season so I've decided not to return to the show," he said.

"Both Ali and I are looking forward to seeing all our fans at the Shaftesbury Theatre."

Fortuna joined Strictly in 2008 when he partnered M People singer Heather Small.

He and Bastian began dating during their time on the show.

High School Musical

The BBC said the three new male professionals would each bring their own area of dance expertise.

Robin Windsor has been touring with Burn The Floor, a show he helped to choreograph.

Jared Murillo was a principal dancer in the first two High School Musical movies, while Artem Chigvintsev is a Latin champion and graduate of the US version of Strictly, So You Think You Can Dance.

BBC controller of entertainment commissioning Mark Linsey said: "I'm delighted to be welcoming three new, fantastic dancers to Strictly and am really excited about the introduction of a professional dance group, giving us even more opportunities to feature different areas of expertise and more genres of dance than in any other series."

The changes come a year after Strictly was embroiled in a row over alleged ageism when producers replaced veteran choreographer Arlene Phillips with former winner Alesha Dixon on the judging panel.

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Strictly 'anxious' Brian Fortuna

Strictly Come Dancing professional Brian Fortuna is anxious to learn whether or not bosses on the BBC One show will want him back next series.

The professional dancer - who is dating former 'Hollyoaks' and 'The Bill' actress Ali Bastian - is worried about meeting with BBC bosses about the upcoming series, where he will be told whether they want him back or not.

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