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‘We will miss you!’ Strictly stars ‘gutted’ as Amanda Abbington announces withdrawal from show

‘Sherlock’ star’s departure from competition was announced on Monday

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 24 October 2023 09:50 BST
Moment Amanda Abbington's Strictly exit announced by Fleur East

Amanda Abbington has been supported by her fellow Strictly Come Dancing stars following news of her early withdrawal from the competition.

The Sherlock star was among the original line-up of Strictly’s 21st series, and wowed the judges with a series of impressive performances alongside partner Giovanni Pernice in the show’s first four weeks.

It was announced on Monday (23 October) that Abbington, 49, had withdrawn from the competition. The news followed her absence from Saturday night’s (21 October) show due to “medical reasons”.

The news was shared on the official Strictly Instagram page, which prompted her fellow contestants and the professional dancers to send their support.

“Love you so much,” wrote former Coronation Street star Ellie Leech, while presenter Angela Scanlon added: “So gutted. We love you.”

Zara McDermott, who recently evaded elimination for a second time, commented: “Amanda you are a true gem in this world. We love you beyond words.”

Pro dancer Carlos Gu wrote that he was “gutted” to hear of Abbington’s exit, while Luba Mushtuk and Nadiya Bychkova said that they were sending their “love” to the actor.

On Tuesday (24 September), Abbington shared her own statement about her exit from the series, prompting a further outpouring of love from the cast of Strictly 2023.

“We will miss you. Lots and lots of love,” commented dancer Lauren Oakley, with Jowita Przystał echoing: “Take care darling [heart emoji] we will miss you!”

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Channel 4 News presenter and fellow contestant Krishnan Guru-Murthy added: “Sending lots of love - we miss you xxx.”

During Monday’s episode (23 October) of Strictly’s sister show It Takes Two, co-presenter Fleur East announced Abbington’s departure with an official statement on behalf of the show.

“Amanda Abbington is unable to continue in Strictly Come Dancing and has decided to withdraw from the competition,” the statement read. “The show wishes her all the best for the future.”

It Takes Two then aired a montage of the actor’s time competing on the series, following which East added: “Amanda, we are sending you all of our love.”

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice on ‘Strictly’ (BBC/Strictly Come Dancing)

News that Abbington would be missing her first episode of Strictly on Saturday (21 October) was initially shared on It Takes Two, when co-presenter and former pro dancer Janette Manrara explained that “unfortunately, due to medical reasons, Amanda will not be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this weekend”.

The presenters, however, stressed that “all being well”, Abbington and Pernice would be able to return the following week under Strictly protocols.

In the lead-up to Strictly 2023, Abbington found herself at the centre of controversy after an old tweet of hers about a drag show resurfaced. In the post, Abbington criticised a video of a baby sensory and cabaret show aimed at parents and their infants, claiming it was “oversexualised”.

When the controversy re-emerged in response to her Strictly casting, Abbington posted a video to her critics, in which she said that she “f***ing loves drag queens” and was not transphobic given that she is “a firm supporter of the legitimate trans community”.

“I’m sorry if my tweet about drag shows made you feel like you can’t watch Strictly,” she said. “I think if you got to know me, you’d quite like me.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 28 October at 6.40pm on BBC One.

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