STRICTLY’s Robert Webb said he’d ‘bitten off way more than he could chew’ as he revealed he reason for his shock departure from the BBC show.
Webb and professional partner Dianne Buswell will Strictly Come Dancing after he made the decision to withdraw due to ill health.
The Peep Show star and respected author had open heart surgery in 2019 and while he believed he was fit enough to tackle the show’s gruelling schedule, it proved to be too soon in his recovery.
“I had begun to feel symptoms which led me to seek an urgent consultation with my heart specialist, and it was her view it would be better for the sake of my health to step back from the show,” he said.
“I’m proud of the three dances Dianne and I managed to perform and deeply regret having to let her down like this. I couldn’t have wished for a more talented partner or more patient teacher, and it’s a measure of Dianne’s professionalism and kindness that I was able to get as far as I did.
“Thanks too to everyone at home who voted for us. 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.
“I think perhaps I was too eager to impress them. They will know that recovery doesn’t always go in a straight line, and I hope they’re not too disappointed that I ran into the limits of my resilience much sooner than I’d hoped.
“I leave knowing that Strictly viewers are in very safe hands and I’ll be cheering for my brother and sister contestants all the way to Christmas. 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.”
Dianne said: “As a massive fan of Robert’s, I was delighted to find out that he was joining the Strictly family. On top of this, to find out he was my partner was the icing on the cake. We made a great team, worked hard and had a good laugh along the way.
“I am so proud of the three amazing dances we produced. 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.”
Strictly Come Dancing will continue this Saturday night at 7pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with 12 couples taking to the ballroom floor to impress the judges and the voting public.