First celebrity departs Strictly Come Dancing 2023

Former Family Fortunes host Les Dennis has become the first celebrity to depart the Strictly Come Dancing dance floor this year.

After the first public vote of the 21st series of the BBC One show the 69-year-old found himself up against radio presenter Nikita Kanda in Sunday’s dance-off.

During Saturday’s show, Dennis, 69, had danced to Rock The Boat by The Hues Corporation with partner Nancy Xu.

After their dance, Craig Revel Horwood awarded Dennis a score of two, the lowest individual score of the episode, and the pair went on to receive 15 points altogether – the lowest judges’ scores of the episode.

This week, the judges’ scores were added to the scores from last week and combined with the results of the viewers’ votes to decide the lowest-scoring couples.

Kanda and Dennis were the lowest-scoring dancers and performed once more in a bid to stay in the competition.

Kanda danced the Charleston to Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) by Beyonce with dance partner Gorka Marquez while Dennis and his dance partner Xu performed the samba.

After their dances, the judges offered their response and Revel Horwood chose to save Kanda and Marquez, saying: “The couple I would like to save and who I think danced the best on the night and was the most improved is Nikita and Gorka.”

Motsi Mabuse also chose to save Kanda and Marquez and so did Anton Du Beke.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023
Nancy Xu and Les Dennis during the dress rehearsal for their appearance on the live show on Saturday for BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

With three votes in favour of Kanda and Marquez, the pair won the majority vote meaning that Dennis had to leave the competition.

When asked about his time on the show by presenter Tess Daly, Dennis said: “I’ve had the best time, this lady has been amazing, a great teacher, she’s really put me through my paces.

“(To Nancy) I did as well as I could for you, I hope. That lot up there, I’m going to miss you so much.

“I really appreciate and understand the judges’ point of view, thank you so much (to Shirley Ballas) for giving me a 10 for entertainment.

“I hope I’ve entertained, that’s what I came here for. Strictly is the best and the people who put this on, you’re just all amazing.”

Asked by Daly what it had been like to teach Dennis, Xu said: “It’s been a journey. This is such a short but a sweet journey. A lot of challenges we all know, but to see you (Les) every day improve yourself.

“I respect you so, so much. I just want to say thank you to the judges and all my fellow friends.

“Thank you Strictly Come Dancing for all of your support. Thank you Les.”

Sunday’s results show also featured a routine from the professional dancers, who performed a tribute to the late singer Tina Turner.

There was also a performance from singer songwriter Jorja Smith who sang the track Try Me from her newly released album Falling Or Flying.

The remaining 14 couples will take to the dancefloor next week in a movie week special when Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday at 6.20pm.

The results show will take place on Sunday at 7.15pm on BBC One.

Both of this weekend’s episodes are available to watch via BBC iPlayer.

Dennis and Xu will join presenters Fleur East and Janette Manrara for their first exclusive televised interview live on Strictly: It Takes Two on Monday at 6.30pm on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.