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Nigel Harman withdraws from Strictly Come Dancing after sustaining injury

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Nigel Harman has withdrawn from Strictly Come Dancing after sustaining an injury, the BBC has said (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Nigel Harman has withdrawn from Strictly Come Dancing just hours before the quarter-finals show after sustaining an injury, the BBC has said.

The former EastEnders actor, 50, had been due to perform a Charleston to Step In Time from Disney’s Mary Poppins with his partner Katya Jones, 34, in musicals week on Saturday night.

Harman’s departure leaves only four celebrities in the competition – actress Ellie Leach, tennis star Annabel Croft, theatre and TV star Layton Williams and EastEnders actor Bobby Brazier.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Unfortunately Nigel has sustained an injury which means he is unable to perform in tonight’s show and has had to withdraw from Strictly.”

Harman suffered a rib injury, the broadcaster later said.

A post on the show’s Instagram page wished Harman a “speedy recovery” and said the couple will be “very much missed by our entire Strictly family”.

In the comments, friends and famous faces reacting to the news included presenter AJ Odudu, who had to withdraw from the finale of the 2021 series due to an injury, who commented with a sad face emoji.

Strictly professional dancer Nadiya Bychkova shared a crying and prayer hands emojis while presenter Denise Van Outen wrote: “Oh no!”.

Croft, who this week will dance a foxtrot to a song from the musical Wicked, commented on the official Strictly announcement post saying: “Devastated for you Nigel! I am wishing you a speedy recovery. You are an effortless and talented dancer xxx.”

Irish star Angela Scanlon, who last week became the ninth celebrity to be eliminated from Strictly, said: “So sorry to hear this @themeditatingactor & @katyajones you two are glorious xx.”

Last Saturday, Harman danced the rumba to It’s All Coming Back To Me Now by Celine Dion, scoring a total of 33 points for their efforts.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood said his arms were “absolutely gorgeous” during the performance, while Anton Du Beke said he “thoroughly enjoyed” the routine.

Appearing on Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two on Friday night, Harman said he was still “in shock” they got through the notoriously difficult dance.

He said: “I really enjoyed it. I had a great time. I feel like there’s still so much more to get out the rumba but I’m amazed that we’re sitting here.”

During the show, it was also revealed that this week’s quarter finals was the furthest Jones had gotten in the competition in six years.

Asked how he felt about getting Jones to this stage, Harman said: “It’s brilliant for her. It’s brilliant for us. It’s musicals week as well which, for me, is a great week.

“I love musicals. We just feel really grateful to be here.”

The show also teased a clip of the couple performing their upcoming routine, where they could be seen wearing flat caps while they kicked and span on the dancefloor amongst a number of backup dancers.

Harman said he was particularly looking forward to this week because of his love of musicals, which was influenced by his parents’ appreciation of them.

“I love the singing and dancing. I love the heightened emotions of it all,” he added.

“And we’ve got this banger this week. It’s full on showbiz. We’ve got four backing dancers, we’ve got all the split levels, there’s leaps and there’s carrying and we’re flying around and I end up needing oxygen every time we do it. So it is full on but it’s exciting.”

The actor admitted the routine had been an escalation of pace from last week’s rumba, saying: “The rumba, just sort of mincing around and wafting my hips in the general directions was lovely, maybe one bead of sweat.

“This week, St John’s ambulance is on standby. This is the complete other end of the scale.”

Harman is the second celebrity to quit the show early after actress Amanda Abbington departed for “personal reasons”.

In October, the Sherlock star missed a live Saturday show due to “medical reasons” and it was announced a couple of days later that she had pulled out of the competition.

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