Amanda Abbington misses Strictly Come Dancing due to ‘medical reasons’

Actor Amanda Abbington missed the Strictly Come Dancing live show on Saturday night (22 October) “due to medical reasons”.

The news was initially announced on the the BBC Two spin-off show It Takes Two, with host and former Strictly professional Janette Manrara telling audiences, “we have some breaking news”.

“Unfortunately, due to medical reasons, Amanda will not be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this weekend,” she said.

Strictly Come Dancing protocols mean that all being well, Amanda and Giovanni (Pernice) will return the following week.”

Manrara added: “Amanda, we hope you get well soon, my love, sending you all the best wishes.”

A Strictly Come Dancing spokeswoman later confirmed the announcement.

The news comes after Sherlock star Abbington posted a tribute on her Instagram Story to fellow actor Haydn Gwynne, who died on Friday after a recent cancer diagnosis.

The 49-year-old wrote: “A huge and devastating loss. Such a sad day.”

Amanda Abbington (right) and Giovanni Pernice (BBC/Guy Levy)
Amanda Abbington (right) and Giovanni Pernice (BBC/Guy Levy)

Abbington, 51, is best known for her role as Mary Watson in Sherlock opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s titular sleuth based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character.

She was at the centre of a furore in the lead-up to the competition thanks to a resurfaced tweet about a drag show.

The tweet in question was about a baby sensory and cabaret show aimed at parents and their infants aged up to two.

When the controversy reared its head again in response to her Strictly casting, Abbington posted a video to her critics, saying: “I’m sorry if my tweet about drag shows made you feel like you can’t watch Strictly. And I think if you got to know me, you’d quite like me.

“I need to make this very clear,” she added. “I love drag. I think it’s an amazing form of entertainment and I f***ing love drag queens. I think they’re hilarious and brilliant...”

She continued: “But my tweet back in March was regarding a 12-year-old who was doing it in front of adults. And it just upset me because I saw a kid, a little kid, a 12-year-old, doing something very oversexualised and I didn’t think it was right.

“That was my tweet. I didn’t associate that with the trans community, nor would I associate that with the trans community, because I think they’re two separate things. And I’m not transphobic... I am a firm supporter of the legitimate trans community.”

Abbington had tweeted that the show was “not for babies”, saying: “If you think it is, there is something fundamentally wrong with you.”

Abbington, who is paired with Italian professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, scored 31 for last week’s quick-footed foxtrot to “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac for their routine.

Judge Motsi Mabuse said she enjoyed that they took the time to show the “beauty of the movement”.

Strictly Come Dancing airs every Saturday on BBC One. Find out which celebrity was eliminated from Sunday night’s results show (22 October) here.

Additional reporting by PA