Brian Conley is ‘keen on an early departure’ from hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing after signing up for a forthcoming Christmas pantomime.
The popular comedian is amongst the latest crop of celebrity contestants to take part in the long-running show, which returned with a fifteenth series in September.
But sources claim Conley, 56, is already keen an early exit ahead of his appearance as panto favourite Buttons in a festive adaptation of Cinderella at Milton Keynes Theatre.
Early exit: Brian Conley is said to be keen on an early departure from hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing after signing up to a forthcoming Christmas pantomime
An insider told The Sun: ‘Brian clearly sees his involvement in the show as pretty short-term. He’s been telling people he’s only got minimal time left and is already expecting to head off to panto.’
Conley kept his place in the competition on Saturday evening, albeit at the expense of a clearly devastated Chizzy Akudolu, who became the first celebrity departure following a dance-off against the entertainer.
The insider added: ‘He survived last week’s dance off despite his expectations of an early exit, but obviously others are desperate to stay for as long as possible.’
The star will appear alongside stylist Gok Wan as the ‘Fairy Gokmother’ when Cinderalla launches in Milton Keynes on December 9.
It’s understood that rehearsals will get underway in the coming weeks, giving Conley little time to juggle theatre commitments with the gruelling choreography required for his weekly appearances on Strictly.
The comedian, who has previously battled with depression, recently claimed dancing is helping to keep his spirits up by releasing endorphins associated with exercise.
‘Anxiety is the future, depression is the past, happiness is right here, right now,’ he told The Mirror. ‘If I wasn’t in a good place, I couldn’t do what I do now.’
The comedian fell ill after the death of his father in 1998 and spoke publicly about his struggles with mental health on I’m A Celebrity in 2012.
He later had to quit the show to receive hospital treatment for ‘exhaustion and malnutrition’.
MailOnline has contacted a representative for further comment.