Strictly Come Dancing will have no public vote or elimination this weekend after actor Nigel Harman had to withdraw from the competition due to sustaining a rib injury.
Hours before the quarter-final show on Saturday, the BBC show announced Harman would no longer compete with his professional partner Katya Jones during musicals week, where they were due to perform a Charleston to Step In Time from Disney’s Mary Poppins.
His 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.
At the beginning of the show, host Claudia Winkleman said: “As you can see we only have four couples. Unfortunately Nigel has sustained an injury which means he is unable to perform in tonight’s show and has had to withdraw from the competition.”
Tess Daly added that the Strictly team were as “devastated as he is”, but said the couple will be chatting about their experience later in the show.
Winkleman continued: “That means there will be no public vote tonight and no elimination this weekend.”
Daly clarified that the judges would still be scoring the dance and their votes would be carried over to next week.
Harman was still seen in the pre-recorded introduction for the show, where the remaining celebrities talked about their experience in the competition so far.
A post on the show’s Instagram page on Saturday wished Harman a “speedy recovery” and said the couple will be “very much missed by our entire Strictly family”.
Last Saturday, Harman danced the rumba to It’s All Coming Back To Me Now by Celine Dion, scoring a total of 33 points.
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 reached 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 back-up 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.