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Nigel Harman fights back tears while detailing injury that forced him to quit Strictly

Nigel Harman has explained why he quit Strictly Come Dancing hours before the latest episode.

It was announced by the BBC that the Casualty actor, 50, had been forced to withdraw from the dancing competition due to an injury sustained in rehearsals.

In his first interview given following his shock exit from the show, just two weeks before the final, Harman revealed he has hurt his rib.

He told host Claudia Winkleman: “I was leaping off a rostrum and was about to be caught by some very handsome men and, as I flew I was Peter Pan and as I landed, I was in A&E.

The actor added: “I’ve done something to my rib and it’s quite painful.”

He says he “loved” his experience, saying: “This really hasn’t sunk in. When I watched everyone come down the stairs, I was a bit like, 'Oh, this is real, I'm not a part of this anymore'."

Harman said he was unable to look at his professional dance partner Katya Jones and seeing her made him emotional about having to leave the competition at such a late stage.

Jones said: “It’s quite hard to talk about it, I’m not going to lie. I’ve absolutely loved every moment of us creating magic on a dancefloor. I hope you got something out of this that you’re going to cherish forever.”

Harman told Jones: "The only reason I'm standing here is 'cause of all the work you've put into me. You turn up everyday with hundreds of great ideas, you challenge me, you push me, you support me, you make me laugh. But, most of all, you're just part of me now.”

The latest episode would have seen the remaining celebritiesEastEnders actor Bobby Brazier, ex-Coronation Street star Ellie Leach, former tennis player Annabel Croft and musical theatre performer Layton Williams – compete for a place in next week’s semi-final.

‘Strictly’ stars Nigel Harman and Katya Jones (BBC)
‘Strictly’ stars Nigel Harman and Katya Jones (BBC)

At the beginning of the show, hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman addressed Harman’s departure – and revealed what his exit means for this week’s results.

Harman was one of the favourites to win this year’s series.

This week, he thanked the public for their “overwhelming” support after he was saved from the dreaded dance off despite being near the bottom of the leaderboard.

During Saturday’s quarter-final episode, the first perfect score of “40” was given as judge Craig Revel Horwood finally used his “10” paddle after a stern warning from Winkleman.

Find the status of this week’s leaderboard here.

Strictly Comes Dancing returns to BBC one at 7.20pm on Sunday (3 December).