Amanda Abbington leaves Strictly: 11 other celebs who had to quit the show

Who are the stars who have dropped out of Strictly early

Amanda Abbington is taking part in Strictly Come Dancing 2023. (BBC)
Amanda Abbington dropped out of Strictly early (BBC)

Amanda Abbington quit Strictly 2023 which sent shockwaves through the showbiz circuit after Abbington missed last weekend.

The TV sensation had been dancing with Giovanni Pernice and had won a series of fans with her elegant dancing skills but she made the difficult decision to bow out of the competition early for personal reasons.

She wrote on Instagram: "It is with deepest regret that I had to leave Strictly. I did not come to this decision easily or lightly but for personal reasons I am unable to continue.

"It was an absolute joy working with my fellow contestants, they are a beautiful, hardworking and talented group of people who I love and who I will miss seeing every Friday and Saturday and competing alongside.

"I want to thank the incredible Production team and everyone on Strictly who looked after me and who are so kind and caring. It’s a wonderful bunch of people and I’ll miss all of them.

"I’m so sad that I am unable to go any further. Thank you to everyone who voted and who sent wonderful messages and inspiring support. You are all amazing. Truly. Thank you. xxx."

During It Takes Two, Fleur East announced the news on behalf of a Strictly spokesperson: "Amanda Abbington is unable to continue in Strictly Come Dancing and has decided to withdraw from the competition. The show wishes her all the best for the future."

However, the actor isn't the first person to drop out of the dazzling talent show which is known for its gruelling training schedules.

Here are all the stars who have hung up their dancing shoes early and bowed out of the competition.

Tony Adams

Tony Adams - Strictly Come Dancing 2022. (BBC)
Tony Adams dropped out early in 2022 (BBC)

Tony Adams might not have been the strongest contestant in the ballroom, but he managed to make it all the way to week eight of Strictly Come Dancing 2022 before facing a dance off.

However, fans of the BBC One show will never find out how he would have fared in front of the judges as Adam withdrew from the competition with just minutes to go until the dance off, saying he had been injured during his Saturday night Jive performance.

Bowing out with partner Katya Jones, they sent the rest of the couples on their way to Blackpool, but they are far from the only contestants to have made an early exit from the show.

AJ Odudu

AJ Odudu
AJ Odudu just missed out on the final. (BBC)

TV presenter AJ Odudu has the unenviable place in Strictly history as the only contestant who has ever had to quit after making it to the final.

Odudu's dancing in 2021 was so good that the judges thought she could have gone pro if she'd started younger, but unfortunately she and Kai Widdrington never got the chance to compete for the glitterball trophy as days before the final, she had to drop out with an ankle injury.

She was understandably devastated, crying as she said: "I don't know how to describe what it feels like to have a broken heart, but that's what it feels like."

Robert Webb

Robert Webb
Robert Webb began suffering worrying symptoms. (BBC)

Odudu's might have been the more memorable drop out of 2021, but early in the series comedian Robert Webb also had to leave on medical grounds.

Explaining why he and partner Dianne Buswell were leaving the competition, he said: "Two years ago I had open heart surgery and although I believed I was fit enough to take on Strictly and its demanding schedule, it became clear that I had bitten off way more than I could chew for this stage in my recovery.

"I had begun to feel symptoms that led me to seek an urgent consultation with my heart specialist, and it was her view that it would be better for the sake of my health to step back from the show."

Will Young

Will Young ends feud with Len Goodman
Will Young looked promising as a 'Strictly' dancer. (BBC)

Singer Will Young shocked Strictly fans with his unexpected exit in 2016 after a promising start with Karen Hauer.

Citing "personal reasons' at the time, mystery surrounded his reasoning with some claiming that it was prompted by harsh criticism from judge Len Goodman.

But Young later told The Times: "It was important for me to leave Strictly for my own wellbeing.

Will Young reveals REAL reason he quit Strictly Come Dancing
Young and Karen Hauer left the contest mid-series. (BBC)

"It was a number of things. It was nothing to do with the people on the show, and it certainly wasn't because Len Goodman dissed my salsa - I mean, come on!

"I love dance, and because of the stuff that was going on personally, I just wasn't enjoying the dancing."

Young has spoken about his various struggles with addiction and PTSD after a childhood trauma, and was said to be suffering anxiety on the show.

Kelly Brook

'I know people were hooking up': Kelly Brook on her Strictly stint
Kelly Brook sadly lost her dad during her time on 'Strictly'. (PA)

Another celebrity who viewers were sad to see quit after high hopes that she would get to the final was Kelly Brook in 2007.

There were rumours that she had been rowing with fiery partner Brendan Cole, but the real reason for Brook leaving was much sadder than that.

Her beloved dad, Ken Parsons, had died of lung cancer aged just 57 and Brook, who said that she spent the last year of his life taking drives around the Kent countryside with him, found it too difficult to continue whilst grieving.

Jamie Laing

Picture Shows:  Jamie Laing - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
Jamie Laing has had two goes at 'Strictly'. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Made In Chelsea star Jamie Laing is unique in Strictly history as not only was he the earliest ever drop out in a series, he is also the only contestant to have been invited back for another go.

Laing was originally due to partner Oti Mabuse in 2019, but injured his foot so badly during the launch show that he had to leave before the first live show even aired.

 Jamie Laing, Karen Hauer - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Laing reached the final with Karen Hauer. (BBC/Guy Levy)

However, ballroom bosses took pity on Laing and he was allowed to return for the 2020 series, where he made the final with new partner Karen Hauer.

Meanwhile, Mabuse won the 2019 series with her stand-in partner Kelvin Fletcher - and also went on to beat Laing in the 2020 final, which she won with Bill Bailey.

Nicola Adams

Episode: Launch show (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Nicola Adams, Katya Jones - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
Nicola Adams and Katya Jones were the first same-sex couple. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Olympic boxer Nicola Adams also offered a one-off Strictly situation as being the unfortunate only celebrity ever to have had to leave because of a positive COVID test.

She and Katya Jones had already claimed the much happier title of the first same-sex couple ever to compete, but sadly their time in the 2020 series was cut short due to coronavirus.

The series that year was operating under strict infection control conditions, which meant an automatic elimination for poor Adams.

Although 2021 couple Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden also tested positive for COVID, vaccines and changing guidance meant that they were able to rejoin the show after an isolation period.

Will Bayley

Will Bayley (BBC)
Will Bayley had to leave with a knee injury. (BBC)

Paralympian Will Bayley was a fan favourite for his fun partnership with Janette Manrara in 2019, but unfortunately he was hit by an injury that saw an end to his competition.

The table tennis player suffered a nasty knee injury in training and after a week off to recover, he decided not to return so as not to jeopardise his Tokyo Games chances.

Bayley was far from the only injured contestant that series, which also saw Laing drop out and Alex Scott's pro dancer partner Neil Jones replaced less than an hour before a show by Kevin Clifton because of a leg strain.

John Sergeant

<p>Rather sensationally, John Sergeant quit the 2008 show because he thought it likely that he could win. Not a gifted dancer, shall we say, news man Sergeant won the hearts of the public, who kept him in week after week, while talented dancers were sent home. </p>
Viewers loved John Sergeant. (BBC)

He was one of the funniest contestants ever, but also one of the worst - and John Sergeant found himself in the odd position of having to quit the 2008 series because the viewers wouldn't vote him out.

Sergeant was sorely lacking in the dancefloor department and is well remembered for one routine which saw him drag partner Kristina Rihanoff across the floor like a sack of potatoes.

But no matter how bad his performances, the viewers kept voting to keep him in for more entertainment, which led to a lot of anger about stronger dancers leaving instead.

Eventually, Sergeant graciously bowed out after week 10, saying: "The trouble is that there is now a real danger that I might win the competition.

"Even for me that would be a joke too far."

Jade Johnson

Jade Johnson competes in the Women's Long Jump during the Universities and Colleges Sports Championships at the Olympic Stadium, London.
Jade Johnson had to prioritise her long jumping career. (PA)

Another athlete forced to leave the show to protect her future sports performances was Jade Johnson in 2009.

She had been partnering Ian Waite, but suffered a bad knee injury that she said included an audible "pop", and after some time out to recuperate, the long jumper realised it wasn't worth risking her Olympic future by battling to stay in Strictly.

Johnson said: "I'm a competitor and I don't give up easily so I'm absolutely gutted that it means that I can't continue dancing in the show."

Jimmy Tarbuck

SHIRLEY, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 18: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Jimmy Tarbuck attends the funeral of entertainer Ronnie Corbett at the church of St John the Evangelist on April 18, 2016 in Shirley, England. Ronnie Corbett, one of Britain's most popular comedians, best known for 'The Two Ronnies', his double-act with Ronnie Barker, died on March 31, aged 85. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Jimmy Tarbuck was the first contestant to have to quit. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The first celebrity ever to have to quit Strictly was Jimmy Tarbuck, who like Webb was ruled out on doctor's orders in 2006.

He had been dancing with Flavia Cacace, but health problems called an early end to their partnership.

A BBC statement at the time said: "Following a doctor's assessment this week, Jimmy, the doctors and the BBC have come to the decision that for the good of Jimmy's health he should no longer take part."

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