Hairy Biker Dave Myers rode into the Strictly sunset after being voted off the dancing show - but said it had been a “spectacular privilege” to take part.
The television chef failed to impress with his tango to "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers, making him and partner Karen Hauer the sixth couple to leave Strictly Come Dancing this year.
He finished in the bottom two along with his “good mate” Mark Benton following the public vote, but all of the judges chose to save the actor and professional dancer Iveta Lukosiute.
Myers was praised by judge Bruno Tonioli for being so entertaining - but admitted that Benton's Rumba to Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger was a better dance.
Speaking to show host Tess Daly, Myers said: “I've had the time of my life, Tess. I mean, I've met some wonderful friends, but everything is down to our Karen. I did come to this having never danced before - well, only planted my feet and banged my head.
“The first dancing lesson is a bit like having your first driving lesson, but they give you a Ferrari, so you're bound to crunch the gears, but she's still in one piece.
“But I think with her and Kevin, myself and my wife, we've just made the most wonderful friends. And you lot (judges) are all right as well. I would like to thank everyone at Strictly, including yourself (Tess), including all of the professional dancers who've embraced us lot. The wonderful thing about Strictly, it's democratic, the public have a say, the professionals have a say and everybody looks out for everybody else and I've loved every minute.”
His dance partner replied: “You've given everything and I thank you for that, because every day you've given 100 per cent - I love you.”
The pair had been criticised for performing a “stompy” dance at the weekend, and had the lowest score of all the contestants, with just 20 points. Myers, wearing a kilt, was compared to a “grizzly bear” by judge Craig Revel Horwood.
The top score of the week went to former Casualty actor Patrick Robinson, who was awarded a total of 37 points - including the only perfect 10 of the week - for his “pure Hollywood” American smooth to Harry Connick Jr's "It Had To Be You".
Show favourite Natalie Gumede did not compete in Saturday night's show after fainting during rehearsals and was due to undergo medical tests to decide if she will be well enough to perform next weekend, when contestants will take to the dance floor in Blackpool.
Following his exit, Myers said: “I loved it. It's been a spectacular privilege. It's the biggest show on British television and I managed to last 'til half-way, which for someone with my limited achievement and age was quite an achievement. I gave it as much enthusiasm and energy as I could.”
He said he had initially hoped to get to the last three or four weeks in the contest, and that he had been “pipped at the post” ahead of the Blackpool show.
Despite hoping to travel to the ballroom to watch his new friends perform there, he said his wife insisted that “enough's enough” and that he should spend time with his family instead, following his arduous training regime.
“It's like being part of an exclusive family,” said Myers. “I was going to say a club, but it is more like a family. I was a little bit cynical about that before, but it really is.”
He described rugby star Ben Cohen as his “hero” and said he looked “fantastic” in Saturday night's sailor suit - but said he could not decide who he wants to win this year's title.
Despite being seen by many as the entertainer of the show, Myers said: “I think the term 'joke candidate' is offensive. There's nothing funny about putting 30 or 40 hours of training in a week - which is fantastic, full of joy and a pleasure - and then I had the balls to stand there every Saturday night and try to do the best I could.”
He said while he would leave the spray tan to fade, he hoped to continue dancing in some form, adding that it has been a “great, great way” to keep fit.
Fellow former contestant, businesswoman Deborah Meaden, has been giving him advice about “the process of re-entry” into normal life after leaving Strictly he said - but he is already looking forward to the Strictly Christmas show, which he said would be a “lovely reunion”.