Dan Walker: Sheffield Strictly Come Dancing star sends touching message after Robert Webb pulls out

Sheffield’s Dan Walker has sent a heartfelt message to fellow Strictly Come Dancing contestant Robert Webb, who was forced to pull out of the show.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 4:52 pm

The comedian and actor, who had been partnered with Dianne Buswell on the BBC One show, revealed on Thursday that he had decided to withdraw from the competition due to ill health.

The Peep Show star, who had open heart surgery two years ago, said he was advised by a doctor to quit the show after he had ‘begun to feel symptoms’ while rehearsing for the programme.

He said in a statement: “I’m extremely sorry to have to announce that I’m withdrawing from Strictly Come Dancing due to ill health.

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Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova on Strictly Come Dancing (pic: Guy Levy/BBC

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“Two years ago I had open heart surgery and although I believed I was fit enough to take on Strictly and its demanding schedule, it became clear that I had bitten off way more than I could chew for this stage in my recovery.

“I had begun to feel symptoms that led me to seek an urgent consultation with my heart specialist, and it was her view that it would be better for the sake of my health to step back from the show.”

He said he was proud of the three dances he and Dianne managed to perform and thanked viewers for their support.

“Despite this sad ending, it has been a genuine honour to be part of this huge, joyful and barking mad TV show. Long may it continue,” he added.

Responding to his withdrawal, BBC Breakast host Dan Walker said: “Really sad news for both Robert and Dianne.

“It’s been wonderful to watch them enjoying every dance each week. Health comes first though.

“Take care Robert. Hopefully see you soon.”

Ugo Monye, meanwhile, has announced he and his professional partner Oti Mabuse will not be able to take to the dancefloor this weekend due to his back problems flaring up but he hopes to be back in action the following weekend.

Will someone still be voted off this weekend?

The BBC has said the show will continue this Saturday at 7pm, with couples ‘taking to the ballroom floor to impress the judges and the voting public’, suggesting there will still be a dance-off as normal on Sunday.

Sarah James, Strictly Come Dancing executive producer, said: “Although we are so sad that Robert has withdrawn from the show we completely understand and support his decision, health always comes first.

“Despite their Strictly journey coming to an end earlier than anyone would have hoped, Robert and Dianne really made their mark on the competition, with three unforgettable dances choreographed superbly by the brilliant Dianne.

“They have been a wonderful partnership and we’d like to thank them for the commitment, creativity and joy they brought to the show.

“Everyone involved in Strictly Come Dancing sends Robert their love and best wishes for his continued recovery.”

Will Robert Webb be replaced?

The BBC has not announced any plans to replace the comedian.

Kevin Fletcher previously replaced Jamie Laing and went on to win the show with Oti Mabuse but that was after the Made in Chelsea star pulled out before the series began.

Responding to those calling for him to step in, Webb’s comedy partner David Mitchell said: “I prefer to dance like nobody’s watching. And I can only do that if nobody’s watching.”

What dance is Dan Walker performing this weekend?

Dan and his dance partner Nadiya Byckova will be performing a cha-cha-cha to U Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer.

He said: “Nadiya has come up with a great routine… I think MC Hammer would be proud.”

What has Dan Walker been up to this week?

Dan and Nadiya took some time out from their rehearsals in Sheffield to visit his former school in Crawley.

His return to Three Bridges Primary School brought memories of his school disco flooding back.

He told the Crawley Observer: "My first school disco was in the assembly hall that we have been in today. I am bringing my professional partner Nadiya Bychkova to the school because we are doing a school disco theme this week and we are doing a cha-cha-cha to MC Hammer, which played at my first school disco.

"This is like going back in time. When I first went to a school disco, I was tall and awkward and uncomfortable and didn't dance. Now is my chance to put it right."