Strictly: Greg Wise says Robert Webb was 'brave' to pull out

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Robert Webb, 49, has said he “didn’t have a choice” over dropping out of the latest Strictly Come Dancing series after suffering from ill-health. The Peep Show star admitted he was “very sad” over leaving the programme, as he now needed to have a “good rest”.

Sharing photos of him dancing thought out the series with partner Dianne Buswell, Robert typed: “Very sad to be leaving but didn’t really have a choice. 

“Thanks for all the lovely messages. I’m going to be just fine once I’ve had a good rest. 

“Very proud of these dances and will be forever in the debt of the luminous @diannebuswell.”

In response, Dianne typed: “You were epic! Invoice is on its way to you ! I took off of the Deliveroo coffees. All jokes aside you did me very proud!

“Specially that tango one of my fav I have ever done on strictly, so thank you for that moment.”(sic).

While show host Claudia Winkleman remarked: “We’ll miss you so much. Sending all love xxxx.”

Professional dancer Jowita Przystal remarked: “Robert you were joy to watch !!!! Wishing you all the best and sending lots of love.”

The Peep Show star had open-heart surgery two years ago and made the decision after an urgent consultation with his heart specialist.

He had been experiencing symptoms during rehearsals, and she recommended he pull out of the series.

A Strictly spokeswoman said the BBC One show would continue as normal this weekend, despite Robert’s departure.

The actor said he was “extremely sorry” to have to leave the competition, adding: “It became clear that I had bitten off way more than I could chew for this stage in my recovery.”

“I’m proud of the three dances that Dianne Buswell and I managed to perform and deeply regret having to let her down like this,” he said.

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“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.”

He thanked everyone who had voted for him and his dance partner, saying he was “especially touched” by the support from fellow heart patients – and that he had perhaps been “too eager to impress them”.

Robert said they would know “that recovery doesn’t always go in a straight line”, adding that “it was always going to be a difficult mountain to climb”.

“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,” he said. 

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

In a video played on BBC Two’s It Takes Two, which announced the news, he said he would “miss learning new dances and being able to do new dances… it’s been a ride”.

Dianne said she was a “massive fan” of Robert’s, meaning she was delighted to learn he was joining the show, and that being partnered with him was the “icing on the cake”. She said they had worked hard “and had a good laugh along the way”.

She added: “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.”

Fellow contestants also sent their best wishes, with BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker saying it had “been wonderful to watch them enjoying every dance each week”.

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