Strictly Come Dancing: Which stars have been forced to pull out of the 2021 series?

·3-min read
AJ Odudu and her partner Kai Widdrington have had to pull out of Saturday’s final  (PA)
AJ Odudu and her partner Kai Widdrington have had to pull out of Saturday’s final (PA)

The latest series of Strictly Come Dancing will come to an end on Saturday, but it has been an eventful year with injuries, positive Covid tests and self-isolation periods among the contestants and judges.

The dramatic exit of AJ Odudu due to injury means that the winner of the glitterball trophy will be decided between EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and partner Giovanni Pernice and TV baker John Whaite and partner Johannes Radebe.

Here is a look at all celebrities and judges who had to permanently or temporarily pull out of the show during the 2021 series.

AJ Odudu

AJ Odudu has become the latest contestant to be forced out of the show after she suffered a torn ligament in her ankle during rehearsals in the week leading up to the final.

The TV presenter had hoped to recover in time for Saturday's live show where she was due to perform three routines with her professional partner Kai Widdrington in a bid to win the glitterball trophy.

However, after consulting medical professionals, the duo announced they were pulling out of the competition a day before the final.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

Robert Webb

Comedian Robert Webb, who was partnered with Dianne Buswell, had to withdraw from the show back in October due to ill health.

The Peep Show star, who had open heart surgery two years ago, said he was advised by a doctor to quit the show after he had "begun to feel symptoms" while training for the dancing competition.

Webb confirmed recently that he "politely declined" the offer to dance one last time in the show's final.

Robert Webb, who was partnered with Dianne Buswell, withdrew in October due to ill health (PA)
Robert Webb, who was partnered with Dianne Buswell, withdrew in October due to ill health (PA)

Ugo Monye

Former rugby player Ugo Monye also had to take a break from the show due to an old back injury flaring up again during rehearsals.

After seeking medical advice, Monye took a week off to rest and receive some treatment.

The news was announced a day after Webb and Buswell withdrew from the show.

Monye and his partner Oti Mabuse returned to the show the following week, but they were eliminated after they performed the notoriously challenging rumba which landed them in the dance-off against Rhys Stephenson.

Ugo Monye suffered a flare-up of an old back injury during rehearsals (PA)
Ugo Monye suffered a flare-up of an old back injury during rehearsals (PA)

Tom Fletcher

McFly star Tom Fletcher and his dance partner Amy Dowden were the first couple to test positive for Covid during the series, one day after the first live show.

The pair were absent from week two due to self-isolating protocols, as well as Fletcher missing a tour performance with his band in Glasgow's SSE Hydro Arena.

The singer and dancer returned for the show's film-themed programme, where they danced a jive to Johnny B Goode from Back To The Future, the movie which inspired Fletcher's band name.

Judi Love

Judi Love was the next celebrity contestant to test positive for coronavirus, forcing her to miss a week of rehearsals and a live show.

The Loose Women star, who was partnered with Graziano Di Prima, expressed her "great disappointment" at having to miss out on performing at the time.

Love returned to the dancing competition the following week for the show's Halloween special after her isolation period was over.

Judi Love and her professional dance partner Graziano Di Prima (PA Media)
Judi Love and her professional dance partner Graziano Di Prima (PA Media)

Craig Revel Horwood

The veteran Strictly judge also had to miss a weekend on the judging panel mid-series after testing positive for Covid-19.

Oscar nominee and Broadway star Cynthia Erivo replaced Revel Horwood on the panel while the former dancer and choreographer self-isolated.

He returned to the show the following week.

Motsi Mabuse

The following week, fellow Strictly judge Motsi Mabuse was also absent from the panel after being unable to travel back to the UK after she was informed she had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

Guest judge Erivo was brought back to take the seat of Mabuse, who has able to return to her judging role the week after.

The Strictly Come Dancing final is on BBC One on Saturday at 7pm.

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