Thursday 21 September 2017

Laura Whitmore devastated as ankle injury forces her out of Strictly performance

Laura Whitmore with her dance partner Giovanni Pernice as they prepare for this year's Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Laura Whitmore with her dance partner Giovanni Pernice as they prepare for this year's Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Laura Whitmore with dance partner Giovanni Pernice during a dress rehearsal for the BBC1 show, Strictly Come Dancing.
Laura Whitmore (left) and Giovanni Pernice
Laura Whitmore and Giovanni Pernice
Laura Whitmore
Joanne Clifton and Ore Oduba during Saturday's live edition of Strictly Come Dancing (PA/BBC)

Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

STRICTLY Come Dancing contestant Laura Whitmore has said she is "absolutely devastated" that she will not be performing on the show tonight because of an ankle injury.

The TV host, who survived the dance-off last week, said she did not want to sit out the competition and would be dancing if she had her way.

She wrote on Twitter: "Absolutely devastated. It was a decision taken out of my hands. If it was my choice, I'd be on the dance floor doing my jive with Gio.

"This was by far my favourite dance. We all train really hard. All of us dancing, have aches and pains and I didn't realise the severity of my injury until it was too late. I'm sorry to let you all down.

Laura Whitmore with dance partner Giovanni Pernice during a dress rehearsal for the BBC1 show, Strictly Come Dancing.
Laura Whitmore with dance partner Giovanni Pernice during a dress rehearsal for the BBC1 show, Strictly Come Dancing.

"My priority is to follow the doctors instructions to get myself on my feet again without permanent damage and do the thing I love the most, dancing!

"Thanks to all my fellow contestants for the support they have given me in the last 24 hours."

A spokeswoman for the show said: "Laura Whitmore will not perform on tonight's Strictly Come Dancing due to an ankle injury sustained earlier in the week.

"She has been checked by a doctor and the medical team on site and they have advised that she rests her ankle and does not dance this weekend.

"As per the rules of Strictly Come Dancing - because Laura and Giovanni cannot dance on tonight's show - they will receive a bye through to next week and the show will continue with a public vote as per usual.

"We wish Laura a very speedy recovery."

Laura Whitmore and Giovanni Pernice
Laura Whitmore and Giovanni Pernice

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On Thursday Whitmore, who is partnered with professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, wrote on Twitter: "Today is not a good day. Positive thoughts," and earlier in the week shared a picture of her partner lifting her and wrote: "Been jiving all day and my feet are on fire!! So @pernicegiovann1 is going to have to carry me around! I can't feel my toes."

It has already been announced that professional dancer Brendan Cole will be missing from Saturday's show due to illness.

Cole, who is partnered with Anastacia, has been suffering with a lung infection and missed rehearsals this week after being admitted to hospital.

Anastacia will dance instead with Gorka Marquez, who has been working with the singer on the routine, a quickstep to Frank Sinatra's My Kind Of Town.

The BBC dismissed reports that other professional dancers were affected by a virus although confirmed Katya Jones had lost her her voice, which is said to be on the mend.

Her husband and fellow professional, Neil Jones, denied he was ill on Twitter, saying: "I might be very very pale but trust me I'm not ill at all."

The show said Cole was sitting out on doctor's orders.

A statement said: "Brendan Cole is recovering from a lung infection and he has been advised to rest and will not be dancing this weekend as per doctor's orders.

"Gorka Marquez stepped in at the start of the week to rehearse with Anastacia and they will dance together on the show this weekend.

"We wish Brendan a speedy recovery."

The New Zealand-born dancer took himself to hospital hours before performing on last week's show after coming down with a bad cough, which he feared was a recurrence of the pneumonia he suffered earlier in the year.

Following his late night at the hospital, Cole appeared on the show and successfully danced a rumba as planned, making it through to another week in the competition.

Viewers of Saturday night's show will be given a glimpse of a bronzed-up Ed Balls after the former Labour MP underwent a spray tan on Friday afternoon.

The ex-shadow chancellor called the experience the weirdest thing he had done since getting a "naked Balinese massage" on his honeymoon.

Mr Balls, who last week scored a series low of 16, will dance the American smooth to (Is This The Way To) Amarillo by Tony Christie with partner Katya Jones.

Meanwhile sports presenter Ore Oduba and partner Joanne Clifton will be dancing a waltz to the Claudia Streza version of I Will Always Love You after their almost perfect 39 last week.

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