The comedian Robert Webb has withdrawn from Strictly Come Dancing due to ill health, the BBC has said.
In a statement, the Peep Show actor said: “I’m extremely sorry to have to announce that I’m withdrawing from Strictly Come Dancing … 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.”
Webb said he was proud of the three dances he and Dianne Buswell performed, adding he “couldn’t have wished for a more talented partner or more patient teacher”.
He thanked viewers who had voted for him on the show. “It was always going to be a difficult mountain to climb (for one thing it’s made of glitter so it’s very skiddy) and I’ve been especially touched by the support from fellow heart patients.”
He said he would be cheering on his fellow contestants for the rest of the show’s run up until Christmas. “It has been a genuine honour to be part of this huge, joyful and barking mad TV show,” he said.
Buswell said: “I know Robert had a lot more to give to the competition but his health of course comes first and I wish him a speedy recovery. I feel lucky to have danced with him and to call him a friend.”
The couple had impressed the judges. In week two they scored 27 for their tango with Webb praised for his “composure” and “character”. They fared less well in the most recent show on Saturday, dancing a quickstep to the Muppet Show theme tune dressed as Kermit and Miss Piggy. They scored 25 with Webb’s dancing labelled “jerky”. Viewers gave them enough votes to avoid the dance off, broadcast on Sunday.