Robert Webb has announced that he has quit Strictly Come Dancing due to “ill health”.
The actor and comedian, who was partnered with Dianne Buswell, said in a statement: “I’m extremely sorry to have to announce that I’m withdrawing from Strictly Come Dancing due to ill health.
“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.”
The Peep Show star added: “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.”
He also touched on the struggles of recovering from surgery: “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.”
Webb also paid tribute to Buswell: “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. 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.”
He concluded by saying: “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.”
Buswell in turn released her own statement: “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.”
Webb underwent emergency surgery on his heart in 2020 for a mitral valve prolapse after being diagnosed with the condition during a routine health check. He put his condition down to excessive drinking when he was younger.
After being diagnosed, Webb quit consuming alcohol.
Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday at 7pm on BBC One.