Johannes Radebe pens heartfelt tribute to John Whaite as he gears up for Strictly 2022: ‘I can’t imagine a life without him in it’

John (L) and Johannes (R) appeared in the show’s all-male couple in 2021 (Picture: BBC/PA/Getty)

Strictly Come Dancing pro dancer Johannes Radebe has fondly looked back on his time in the competition with John Whaite, as he prepares to partner with a new contestant for 2022. 

The South African dancer, 35, has made history on the programme on several occasions since joining the line-up of professionals in 2018.

He performed the show’s first same-sex routine with Graziano Di Prima in 2019 before making it to the final of the competition with Great British Bake Off star John Whaite in the show’s first all-male couple last year.

The dynamic duo finished in second place behind Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice, who went on to become winners. 

However, despite missing out on the Glitterball Trophy, John and Johannes won the hearts of millions of viewers and have remained firm friends ever since. 

And as Johannes gets ready for another year of Strictly madness, he’s reminisced about his journey with John last year, with a very sweet post on Instagram.

For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only Undated BBC handout photo of Johannes Radebe and John Whaite during the final of Strictly Come Dancing 2021. Issue date: Saturday December 18, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SHOWBIZ Strictly. Photo credit should read: Guy Levy/BBC/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.
The pair wowed fans throughout the series (Picture: PA)

 He penned: ‘Now that Strictly rehearsals have started, I’ve been thinking back to last year when I had the pleasure of meeting @john_whaite. 

‘I can’t believe it’s been a year since John came into my life and what a fabulous and truly special Strictly journey we had. 

‘There were moments during the show which took my breath away, including the overwhelming support we received.’

He went on to thank fans for all the ‘kind comments’ and for voting for the pair throughout the competition, commenting: ‘It means so so much.’

Johannes started a selection of photos of the pair together, continuing: ‘Not only is John an amazing dancer, he is an incredible friend and I can’t imagine a life without him in it.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 24: John Whaite and Johannes Radebe attend the LGBT Awards 2022 at The Brewery on June 24, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
The pair have remained close friends ever since (Picture: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

‘Although my Strictly journey with John has come to a close, I’m feeling the energy and magic of the show again and I am looking forward to the next Strictly chapter and the excitement and challenges this will bring. 

‘I cannot wait, let the adventure begin! Xxx.’

The post moved many fans, as well as John himself, who replied: ‘You bugger – you’ve made me cry into my avocado on toast ❤️ love you MJR x.’

John shared his happiness over Richie Anderson being confirmed to be part of an all-male couple (Picture: Instagram/@john_whaite)
John shared his happiness over Richie Anderson being confirmed to be part of an all-male couple (Picture: Instagram/@john_whaite)

It comes as John reacted earlier on Saturday to the news Radio 2 and The One Show favourite Richie Anderson would be about to follow in his footsteps in an all-male couple.

John wrote on his Instagram stories: ‘I’m so bloody pleased that Strictly are doing a male-male couple again this year and hope it is the case every year from now on.

‘It has to be,’ the chef added. ‘Because queer-inclusion isn’t a box-ticking exercise for one series, it’s a fundamental shift in the narrative for life.’


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He went on to thank the team on Strictly for ‘continuing to include the outcasts’.

The 2021 finalist finished by throwing his support behind Richie, concluding: ‘All the love and luck to @richieanderson who is going to love every second.’

Strictly Come Dancing returns later this year to BBC One. 

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