After the joy of their journey to lift the glitterball trophy — and a flirtation conducted in the weeks since — are these the pictures that will raise yet again the fear of the Strictly Curse?
Kelvin Fletcher, former Emmerdale soap star, guides Oti Mabuse, his professional dance partner, with a solicitous hand in the small of the back to the door of a hotel.
It is late at night and this is the first of two separate late-night drinks rendezvous on two consecutive nights.
Of course, there’s nothing unusual about Strictly colleagues meeting up sociably after hours. Indeed, the Strictly dancers are a notoriously boozy, fun-loving bunch, and late-night drinks are common when they are on the tour.
However, it is worth noting that Kelvin and Oti are currently not working together.
Strictly Come Dancing Stars Oti Mabuse and Kelvin Fletcher seen sneaking into The Soho Sanctum Hotel in London at 3.35am following boozy night out with their co stars and the rest of the Strictly Crew
Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse seen meeting up again on Saturday Night at a different hotel in Canary Wharf following their night cap at The Soho Sanctum 48 hours before
Kelvin had been performing on one of the final London dates of the Strictly tour — where he was partnered with another Strictly professional, Janette Manrara — and Oti had been recording The Greatest Dancer for the BBC. I’m told ‘plenty’ of other dancers and celebrities were present
The two of them met up last week at the Karma Sanctum Hotel, Soho, for drinks at 3.35am on Saturday.
Kelvin had been performing on one of the final London dates of the Strictly tour — where he was partnered with another Strictly professional, Janette Manrara — and Oti had been recording The Greatest Dancer for the BBC. I’m told ‘plenty’ of other dancers and celebrities were present.
‘Oti wanted to be there to support Kelvin, and why shouldn’t she?’ says a friend.
However, married Oti, 29, certainly seems closer to married Kelvin, 36, than any of her previous celebrity partners. The two then met up the following night at another London hotel, the Lincoln Plaza.
Kelvin arrived alone at 11.15pm and Oti at 11.40pm. They left after midnight, according to a friend.
On this occasion, it was just the two of them. ‘They were just meeting up as friends for an hour,’ a pal of Kelvin’s says.
Another friend declares: ‘Kelvin is a happily married man and Oti is a happily married woman, there is zero going on.’
When pictures of the liaisons came to light, though, there was an instant reaction which suggested that not everyone was convinced the meeting was innocent.
Kelvin’s wife Liz Marsland unfollowed him on Instagram. She also appeared at their home in Oldham, Lancashire, conspicuously not wearing her wedding or diamond engagement rings.
Friends said that she ‘felt like a fool’ and was ‘humiliated’ after seeing the pictures of her husband out late at night.
Those in Kelvin’s camp said that he had sworn to her that she had nothing to be jealous about and was ‘desperately trying to salvage’ the relationship.
Kelvin Fletcher's wife Eliza Marsland seen out without her wedding ring this morning. Kelvin’s wife Liz Marsland unfollowed him on Instagram. She also appeared at their home in Oldham, Lancashire, conspicuously not wearing her wedding or diamond engagement rings
He and Liz first got to know each other as seven-year-old schoolchildren and shared a kiss in a playground aged eight. They met again in a nightclub over a decade later and have been together ever since, barring a kerfuffle in 2008 when it was reported Liz dumped Kelvin after finding a photo of a naked fan on his computer ‘along with a steamy email’.
Oti, meanwhile, was apparently ‘mortified’ by the fuss.
Yesterday, with Kelvin back home, wife Liz decided that her anger had been hasty and refollowed him on the app.
She then said in an Instagram story: ‘That ring is heavy and it only comes out on special occasions. Oh, and it was a fake tan day #nodramahere.’
Friends of Kelvin insist, somewhat surprisingly, that Liz — married to him since 2015 — isn’t actually jealous or suspicious of Oti at all.
‘Liz is not concerned by that aspect of it,’ said a pal. ‘She and Oti are good friends. Kelvin and Oti are hoping to work together again in the future.’
Instead, she was apparently just cross because she had been at home looking after their two young children while he was out on the razzle.
A friend said: ‘There is no split between Kelvin and Liz, and no question of it. It’s just that Liz was cross about him going out and partying on tour while she was at home. She had an emotional moment, that’s all.’
The friend added: ‘She has been at home looking after the kids while he has been away on tour having a good time.
‘In the heat of the moment she unfollowed him on Instagram; it was just a shock for her to see him out so late.
‘But now she’s had the chance to speak to Kelvin face to face after he came home and she feels silly for unfollowing him and admits she acted on impulse.’
Kelvin’s many fans, who were won over by his passionate dances on Strictly — which he and Oti won in December — and his much- celebrated status as a family man, will