Amy Dowden made a surprise cameo in the first live event of the 2023 series, leaving spectators in tears.
Unfortunately, the Welsh pro, 33, will not be competing in Strictly this year since she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is presently through chemotherapy.
Amy, on the other hand, has remained upbeat about her future on the dancefloor, and fans were given reason to cheer when she appeared unexpectedly in the new opening titles.
Each live show begins with an introduction of the celebrities and their partners, with this year’s cast featuring Bobby Brazier, Zara McDermott, Amanda Abbington, Les Dennis, and Angela Rippon.
Professional dancers who do not have partners this year, such as Nadiya Bychkova, Neil Jones, and Michelle Tsiakkas, feature in the final shot with some of their greatest movements.
Last but not least, Amy gets her own limelight moment, grinning at the camera as she swishes her skirt.
Strictly Come Dancing viewers flocked to Twitter to convey how heartbreaking the surprise moment felt.
‘So glad they’ve included Amy in the opening titles’, one person wrote.
‘It’s lovely to see Amy included in the intro’, another penned.
Amy made it plain that she is pulling for her co-stars ahead of the inaugural Strictly Live programme.
Amy – who announced in June that she had undergone a mastectomy – posted photo of her dressed in Strictly glamour to her Instagram and wrote: ‘Happy live show day @bbcstrictly. Wishing the entire team a fabulous show and I know it’s going to be amazing!
— Béi 💫 (@WriterofQueen) September 23, 2023
Amy in the opening credits ❤️❤️ #Strictly
— Linda (@LindaABishh) September 23, 2023
— Scott 🏳️🌈 💙 (@Scotthopper1) September 23, 2023
Amy in the titles #Strictly
— Tom James Clark (@tomjamesclark) September 23, 2023
‘I’ve been kept up to date with the pros and a few sneaky FaceTimes! Literally can’t wait to watch and support you all.
‘Hopefully, I’ll be there in a few weeks.’
Her words of encouragement came after Amy disclosed she had reached the halfway mark in her chemotherapy treatment by posting a video of her loved ones helping her shave her head.
She admitted this was the ‘hardest step so far having previously attempted to save her hair with a cold cap, however, sadly, it continued to fall out.
The dancer added: ‘I’ve not been able to take control of this journey so far, but as you can see with some of my loved ones I took the courage and control.’
She said it would ‘take some time’ to get used to her new look, but now she’s focused on getting back to being the ‘happy, dancing tea lover who talks way too fast, rolling every R and who is still there inside, with our without hair.’
Amy has been in touch with the Strictly crew since her diagnosis, applauding them for their handling of the tough circumstance.
She also received a shout-out from broadcaster Tess Daly on the debut programme last Saturday.
The host said: ‘We are, of course, missing one of our professional dancers.
‘Our gorgeous Amy Dowden is unwell and she can’t be with us for the start of the series.
‘She’s our Welsh dragon and we know she’ll be back soon.’
Claudia Winkleman added: ‘Amy, from your entire Strictly family we are sending all our love and we can’t wait to have you back on the dancefloor.’
Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One and iPlayer each weekend.