Strictly’s Halloween Week talking points – from Amanda Abbington well-wishes to an airborne Angela Rippon

Strictly Come Dancing’s 2023 season is well underway, with a whole roster of celebrities and their pro partners in the running to win the Glitterball Trophy.

Last week’s episode saw comedian Eddie Kadi eliminated, and with Amanda Abbington also dropping out of the competition for “personal reasons”, just 10 couples were left to compete during Halloween Week on 28 October.

Coronation Street star Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola came out at the top of the leaderboard, with 38 points.

Their Salsa to “Murder on the Dancefloor” by Sophie Ellis-Bextor was “the dance of the night, no playing around”, according to judge Motsi Mabuse.

Here’s a roundup of the biggest talking points from Halloween Week...

Amanda Abbington’s absence

At the start of the show, host Claudia Winkleman addressed the Sherlock star’s absence, but she kept it brief, saying: “Amanda Abbington withdrew from the competition. Amanda, we are sending you all our love.”

On Monday (23 October), it had been announced that the actor – who was paired with Giovanni Pernice – had withdrawn just five weeks in.

In a statement shared on Tuesday, she cited “personal reasons” as the cause of her departure. “It is with deepest regret that I had to leave Strictly,” she wrote on Instagram. “I did not come to this decision easily or lightly.”

While the latest episode was on, Abbington didn’t share any posts about Strictly, but she did reshare an Instagram Story from her friend, the actor, Simon Pegg, which was a picture of him and Abbington hugging, with the caption: “Friends for 25 years. Love you Amanda.”

Creepy costumes

Motsi Mabuse as a spider (BBC)
Motsi Mabuse as a spider (BBC)

Among the contestants, there were spectacular swans and wizards and killers, but the judges were the real winners of the costume competition. Motsi Mabuse was a spider, her hair fashioned into a sprawling web. Anton Du Beke was a zany Dr Frankenstein, Shirley Ballas was the villainous Snow White queen and Craig Revel Horwood was a sweaty Severus Snape.

Angela Rippon was chucked in the air

Rippon, who has just turned 79 and is Strictly’s oldest ever contestant, flew. Sort of. Her Charleston to the Murder, She Wrote theme tune was her fastest dance yet. And Kai Widdrington threw her into the air repeatedly. It was quite a sight.

Rippon flies (BBC)
Rippon flies (BBC)

At another point, Widdrington sort of pounced on her. One viewer wrote on Twitter/X: “I thought Kai was about to break national treasure Angela Rippon.”

Craig Revel Horwood called the performance a “swivel masterclass”. Pure joy.

Strictly continues next Saturday on BBC One.