Saffron Barker: ‘We got close quickly’ AJ Pritchard's Strictly partner addresses 'romance'

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 contestant Saffron Barker, 19, will be dancing the Tango with AJ Pritchard, 24, in their first dance together tonight.

Since being partnered together on the show, the pair have been giving their social media fans an insight into their rehearsals and were also recently pictured visiting a restaurant during a break from training.

After being paired up on launch show, BBC viewers flocked to Twitter to insist their could be a romance between the pair, despite him having a girlfriend away from the show.

One user wrote: “So chemistry has been already mentioned aj and saffon r obviously this years hookups #Strictly.”(sic)

A second added: “Sense they’re gonna shuff a AJ & Saffron fake showmance on us #strictly.”(sic)

But despite speculation, Saffron laughed off romance rumours as she praised AJ’s girlfriend Abbie Quinnen, 23.

She said: “Honestly, I just look at AJ as such a good friend.

“We got close really quickly, but we have a personality that just bounces off each other and I don’t think we will be anymore than friends. He’s got a girlfriend.”

Praising Abbie, she added: “Yes I have [met her], she’s lovely.”

Discussing what AJ is really like in training, she continued: “He’s amazing and so much fun, and very calm which is nice.”

Speaking at the Big: The Musical Gala night, Saffron went on to reveal what has surprised her the most about the show so far.

“It’s a lot harder than I expected definitely,” she admitted.

“I’m already going through the emotions and it’s only week one, but it’s amazing and very exciting.

“Also, I didn’t expect all the cast to get so close like they have. Everyone has got so close which is nice.”

Yesterday, AJ shared a picture of himself and Saffron during training.

The pro praised his dance partner for her “hard work” and “dedication” in a gushing post on Instagram.

In view of his 554,000 followers, he wrote: “What a Day, What a Week.

“Thank you @saffronbarker for your hard work & dedication, I’m so excited for our first dance… @bbcstrictly.”

Elsewhere, AJ Pritchard confirmed his relationship with Abbie, also a dancer, back in July.

The dancer shared a picture of the pair putting on a loved-up display as they enjoyed a romantic getaway in Greece.

He previously said of the pair: “Things are very early days, but are great.

“I’m working constantly so I don’t get to see her too often, but I’m very happy,” he added to OK! Magazine.

The Strictly Come Dancing 2019 live shows start tonight at 7pm on BBC One.