Anton Du Beke has hit back at “absolute rubbish” rumours that he is leaving Strictly Come Dancing.
The professional dancer and his celebrity partner Susannah Constantine were the first couple to leave the current series, putting an early end to Du Beke’s hopes of finally winning the glitterball trophy after 16 series.
Fans are said to have aired fears that Du Beke, who has never been one half of the first couple to be eliminated, would leave the dancefloor for good.
Du Beke tweeted: “My loves, some people are reporting I’m quitting the show. Absolute rubbish! I’m NEVER quitting. Whether they want me or not, I’m never going!
“Love you all and love @bbcstrictly! #BBCstrictly.”
Du Beke is the only professional to have appeared on Strictly since it began in 2004, after fellow dancer Brendan Cole departed the show earlier this year.
Du Beke admitted he was sad to have had an early exit this year, and that Constantine, 56, could have done better if she had more time in the competition.
He told Chris Evans on his BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show on Monday: “She’s what I’d like to say is a grower, but sadly not briskly enough, as it turns out.”
Asked by Evans if he thought “oh no” when he first saw Constantine dance, Du Beke, 52, said: “Well, I thought ‘That could take some time’.
“But what I thought about Susannah is that she was really interesting and lovely and that we’d have a great time and hopefully something might come out of it, dance-wise.
“I think she would have been OK, if she could have had a bit more time, that’s all. But that’s the thing about Strictly Come Dancing – the show’s upon you before you know it.”
He said the former What Not To Wear host did “incredibly well”, adding: “I take my hat off to her, she’s absolutely wonderful and I enjoyed every second of being with her.
“I’m just sad it’s over.”
Du Beke and Constantine faced Blue star Lee Ryan and his partner, Nadiya Bychkova, in the dance-off on Sunday night’s results show, after coming bottom of the leaderboard.
The judges chose unanimously to save Ryan and Bychkova, which Constantine said was “the right choice” but that Du Beke was “still king”.
Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One at 6.30pm on Saturday.