Strictly Come Dancing 2021 news – Dan Walker partner Nadiya says axed star gave 'her wings to fly' amid Piers Morgan row

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 news – Dan Walker partner Nadiya says axed star gave 'her wings to fly' amid Piers Morgan row

12/07/2021

STRICTLY Come Dancing's Nadiya Bychkova has praised her friendship with Dan Walker after he was axed during this weekend's emotional quarter final.

Speaking of her friendship with Dan on It Takes Two on Monday, the pro dancer gushed: "It was very special to me. I loved teaching him, but at the same time, I learned so much from him. You gave me the confidence in front of the camera.

"You managed to create that environment for me where I felt safe, and I felt free to be myself for the first time."

She added: "Your friendship gave me wings to fly again."

It comes after Piers Morgan was quick to jokingly mock Dan, posting "you came fifth, mate" after Dan posted a message on Twitter saying how proud he'd been to reach the latter stages of the dance competition.

The BBC Breakfast host found himself in the dance-off and had to fight to save his place in the competition – but eventually lost out to AJ Odudu.

Read our Strictly live blog below for the latest news and gossip…

  • Joseph Gamp

    Rose bookies favourite to win Strictly

    Rose Ayling-Ellis is the overwhelming favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing, with bookmaker Coral pricing her at 1-5 to win the series as the show heads towards the semi-finals this weekend.

    That means a £5 on the Eastenders star would only return winnings of £1, and the market implies an 83% chance of her being crowned winner.

    "Rose has dazzled on the dancefloor throughout the whole of this series of Strictly Come Dancing and we think she is almost guaranteed to be the winner now. It would be a huge upset if she did not lift the Glitterball Trophy this December," said C

  • Joseph Gamp

    Dan Walker feels 'like a completely different person' after Strictly

    Reflecting on his journey on the show, BBC host Dan Walker said he felt like a "completely different person" to the person he started out as after three months of working with Bychkova.

    He added: "The number of messages off people who've been inspired by watching a tall, awkward dad go on Strictly, who couldn't dance and didn't know what he was doing, to be able to do a tango like that on a Saturday night, that's a huge change for me and a huge mindset change.

    "And it's helped a lot of people, either trying to dance for the first time, dance in the kitchen, dance for the kids, dance with their partner, and that's what the show is all about, really."

    Bychkova also said her time on the show with Walker had been "very special", adding: "I love teaching him but at the same time I learned so much from him.

    "You gave me the confidence in front of the camera. You managed to create that environment for me where I felt safe, and I felt free to be myself for the first time, and your friendship gave me wings to fly again. Thank you very much."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Dan Walker says final performance was 'best dancing of his entire life'

    BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker has said he believed his last performance on Strictly Come Dancing was the best he has danced in his entire life.

    The TV presenter, 44, was sent home from the BBC One series after his quarter-finals tango with partner Nadiya Bychkova failed to earn him a spot in the semi-finals next weekend.

    Walker reflected on his time on the show and said he felt he was a "completely different person" with a changed mindset after going from someone who never danced to performing live to 10 million viewers on a weekly basis.

    On the Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two, he said: "I've loved every dance we've done and each week has been my favourite and I told Nadiya on the Monday when she showed me the choreography, I said 'I already love it, I can't wait to dance it on Saturday'.

    "And that was the best I've danced in my entire life, in front of 10 million people, and it's a good way to go out."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Drama

    Strictly Come Dancing fans have begged show bosses to make a major change to the show to stop spoilers from leaking online.

    Viewers are not happy over continually finding out who landed in the bottom two and ultimately which celeb gets sent home every week thanks to online spoilers.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Team AJ

    Fans are determined for the leggy TV presenter to go all the way after she beat Dan in the dance-off.

    One Tweeted: “I hope people vote for AJ because Strictly Twitter is all about her. She needs those votes people, if you really love her get to it!”

  • Joseph Gamp

    Dan Walker: My time had to come to an end

    BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker has said his time on Strictly Come Dancing gave him a new appreciation for the skill of professional dancers.

    Presenting the morning news show for the first time since his elimination from the competition on Sunday night, the 44-year-old admitted he had felt “closed off” from dancing for many years.

    He and professional partner Nadiya Bychkova, 32, missed out a coveted spot in this week’s semi-final after losing the dance-off to AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington.

    Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: “We get to see people at the very top of their games in sport and in all sorts of areas of life.

    “I had no appreciation of how good pro dancers were until I saw it up close and personal and started trying to learn it myself.

    “They’re just so good at what they do.

    “I appreciate what dancing is all about now and for many years… (I felt) closed off from that world.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    EastEnders' Rose Ayling-Ellis favourite to win Strictly

    Rose Ayling-Ellis is the overwhelming favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing, with bookmaker Coral pricing her at 1-5 to win the series as the show heads towards the semi-finals this weekend.

    That means a £5 on the EastEnders star would only return winnings of £1, and the market implies an 83% chance of her being crowned winner.

    "Rose has dazzled on the dancefloor throughout the whole of this series of Strictly Come Dancing and we think she is almost guaranteed to be the winner now. It would be a huge upset if she did not lift the Glitterball Trophy this December," said Coral's Harry Aitkenhead.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Strictly Come Dancing's 10th contestant leaves after emotional quarter-final

    BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker declared that while he does not think he'll "dance all the time" he "won't 'not dance' anymore" as he became the 10th celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing.

    Walker, 44, was sent home from the BBC One series after his quarter-finals tango with partner Nadiya Bychkova failed to earn him a spot in the semi-finals next weekend.

    He has previously commented on his longevity in the competition, replying to social media users who sent him negative messages and who claimed his continuing success was a fix because of his affiliation with the BBC.

    But he and Bychkova landed in the dance-off against AJ Odudu and her partner Kai Widdrington, who went on to receive the majority vote from the judging panel for their salsa, keeping them in the competition.

    Following his elimination, Walker told Strictly presenter Tess Daly: "By the way, I would have saved AJ and Kai as well. The last 11 weeks have been absolutely amazing, I've genuinely loved every second of it.

    "When I go back to the first day when I was asked to dance in front of some glitter balls, at that point, if there had been a fire exit, I'd have just walked away."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Inside Dan Walker's relationship with wife Sarah

    Dan Walker was eliminated from Strictly after an emotional quarter final dance off on Saturday night.

    But behind closed doors, Dan Walker lives a quiet and very private life with wife Sarah and their three children in Sheffield.

    The 44-year-old BBC Breakfast presenter from West Sussex fell head over heels with Sarah when they met in 1999 at the University of Sheffield.

    They have been inseparable ever since, although Dan has stated that they have their share of marital disagreements in the past.

    They married in in 2001 and the couple decided to settle down in South Yorkshire.

  • Joseph Gamp

    List: The celebs booted off Strictly 2021 so far

    Here's who has left the show so far:

    • Week two: Nina Wadia and Neil Jones
    • Week three: Katie McGlynn and Gorka Marquez
    • Withdrawn: Robert Webb and Dianne Buswell
    • Week four: Greg Wise and Karen Hauer
    • Week five: Ugo Monye and Oti Mabuse
    • Week six: Judi Love and Graziano di Prima
    • Week seven: Adam Peaty and Katya Jones
    • Week eight: Sara Davies and Aljaz Skorjanec
    • Week nine: Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden
    • Week ten: Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin
    • Week eleven: Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova

    What did Dan say when he was voted off Strictly 2021?

    Dan Walker was eliminated from Strictly on December 5, 2021.

    The BBC broadcaster thanked everyone at Strictly Come Dancing, including the judges and his partner, Nadia Bychkova.

    He said: “The last 11 weeks have been absolutely amazing, I’ve genuinely loved every second of it.

    “When I go back to the first day when I was asked to dance in front of some glitter balls. At that point, if there had been a fire exit, I felt that uncomfortable I’d have just walked away.

    “But this amazing woman grabbed me by the hand, and brought me out on to this dance floor. I’m not a dancer, but she showed me that I can dance, and that for me, this has been an absolutely incredible experience."

    When will the next episode of Strictly air?

    Strictly continues on Saturday, December 11, 2021 at 7.05pm.

    The results show will air the following day at 7.20pm on Sunday, December 12, 2021.

    The final is on Saturday, December 18, 2021.

    You can also catch any missed episodes on the BBC iPlayer.

    Which celebs are left in the competition?

    There are still four celebrities all dancing for that Glitterball trophy.

    The stars that are left in the competition are:

    • AJ Odudu 
    • John Whaite
    • Rhys Stephenson 
    • Rose Ayling-Ellis 

    Who was in Saturday's dance-off?

    The votes saved John, Rhys and Rose – which meant it was the battle of Dan and AJ in the dance off.

    Their performances were both improved, with all the judges remarking on their improvement.

    But AJ made the biggest improvement after nailing the lift that had ended in disaster during the original routine.

    Dan became the tenth celebrity to be eliminated as it was decided unanimously that AJ's dance-off performance was the best.

    Strictly star Sunetra Sarker blasts Brendan Cole

    STRICTLY star Sunetra Sarker has blasted partner Brendan Cole for slacking after he whinged there was "no point" pushing himself in training.

    The Casualty actress has moaned to pals that Brendan is putting in the minimum practice time because he reckons there is "no way" they will win.

    Sunetra, who last night performed a samba to Scissor Sisters hit I Don't Feel Like Dancin', believes his attitude may see her booted off the BBC1 show.

    A show source told The Sun on Sunday: "Brendan reckons Sunetra is on borrowed time and sees no point killing himself, or her, with rigorous training."

    The source also said Brendan's patience was tested by hours spent travelling from his Buckinghamshire home to Bristol, where Sunetra lives, to rehearse. The source added: "That is a necessary evil for the Strictly dancers but this year Brendan has accepted it very grudgingly.

    "He has left all of the pro dancers — and Sunetra — in no doubt that the sooner the inevitable axe falls, the better. It seems his heart isn't in it at all."

    • Joseph Gamp

      Aj & Kai officially an item

      So… did you hear?

      AJ and Kai are officially an item after things hotted up between them on Strictly.

      A source told the Mail on Sunday that the pair had made no secret that they were falling for each other after spending hours together in training.

      It follows fans catching AJ liking a tweet that speculated about her and Kai’s romantic relationship earlier in the week

    • Joseph Gamp

      Continued…

      The pair ended up with a score of 32, leaving them third on the leaderboard, with the top two couples being Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu and Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice on scores of 39.

      Walker and his partner Nadiya Bychkova were sent home after landing in the dance off alongside AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington.

      – The Strictly Come Dancing semi-final airs on December 11 at 7.05pm, with the results show on December 12 at 7.20pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

    • Joseph Gamp

      John Whaite on his error during final lift on Saturday night

      During Saturday night's quarter-final, the couple had a dramatic ending to their salsa routine performed to We Are Family when their final lift went awry.

      Radebe gave Whaite the wrong angle of his hand for the lift, meaning it ended with Radebe dropping to the floor with more force than intended.

      Whaite told BBC presenters Dan Walker and Sally Nugent: "I think I'm still traumatised from it actually I can still, when I close my eyes, I can still hear Johannes hit the floor with an almighty thud… I can still feel the vibrations in my knees.

      "I think I always panic that if something like that happened on Strictly I would just crumble into a devastated mess. But actually it was so funny.

      "And you know, it shows that we are humans, we're taking risks, we're vulnerable. And people love that, you know, it's just, it's a bit daft, isn't it? That's the main thing, is (it's) a bit of daftness on a cold Saturday night for folk at home."

    • Joseph Gamp

      John & Johannes reveal message behind upcoming Sem-Final dance

      Strictly Come Dancing pair John Whaite and Johannes Radebe have revealed that their couples choice routine will pay tribute to everyone who has supported them in their journey.

      Professional dancer Radebe, 34, and former Bake Off winner Whaite, 32, made history this year by becoming the first all-male pairing on the BBC One dancing series.

      They have made it through to the semi-finals this weekend, where the remaining four couples will perform two routines.

      Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Whaite said: "So for our couples choice we're doing it to Adele's Hometown Glory, and what Johannes and I realised since we met each other and became dance partners and now lifelong friends is that we share history.

      "Growing up with the shame of being gay, the shame of not being accepted by society, by people telling us to be more masculine, you know, people trying to shoehorn us into the notion of being a man and so we wanted to do this dance to say a huge thank you to the people who allowed us to not be shoehorned, to not be silenced.

      "The people who supported us and held us up when we needed holding up, the people who have paved the way the older members of the LGBTQ+ community who paved the way to enable two burly blokes, well, burly-ish, to go on Saturday night TV, on primetime television, you know as Johannes said, society has been so progressive, western society at least is so progressive and so we want to dedicate this dance to everybody who made this happen basically.

    • Joseph Gamp

      AJ Odudu seen linking arms with Kai Waddington 

      STRICTLY Come Dancing AJ Odudu has been spotted smiling and linking arms with Kai Waddington after they confirmed their romance.

      The pair have been sending fans of the BBC dancing competition into a frenzy with their routines on the dancefloor, which have had a number of near-kisses.

      AJ, 33, and her professional dance partner Kai, 26, were photographed looking glamorous as they filming for It Takes Two together on Friday night.

      The TV presenter grinned for the cameras as the ballroom star followed closely behind, offering out his arm at one point to guide her.

      AJ opted for a sparkling navy blue dress, with a saucy side split showing off her toned legs, for her appearance on the spin-off show.

      The sequin-covered number was paired with heeled silver boots, and she completed her look by letting her natural curls flow over her shoulde

    • Joseph Gamp

      Fans gobsmacked after Shirley praised Rose for 'blocking the noise out'

      Eagle-eyed fans were left stunned tonight when Shirley Ballas praised deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis for blocking the noise out.

      The EastEnders star, 27, bagged an impressive score of 39 after her performance with pro partner Giovanni Pernice.

      She told Rose, whose dance followed Rhys Stephenson’s: “Before Rhys went on before you there was lots of noise, clapping.

      “You came in and you blocked it out and you delivered the performance of a lifetime. you had beautiful footwork, your posture was outstanding.”

      Rose, who plays Danny Dyer’s character’s daughter in EastEnders, is the first ever deaf celeb to take part in Strictly.

      One viewer fumed: “Is Shirley taking the p**s??? Talking about how Rose blocked out the noise before the performance???”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Dan's fans congratulate star after Strictly exit

      Accolades for Dan Walker have coming through thick and fast after he was voted out last night.

      One tweeted: “A gentleman throughout, sir, and thank you for the music.”

      Another said: “So sorry to see you leave #Strictly. I thought you had an incredible journey during the 11 weeks. Great entertainment from both of you. Thanks for brightening up my Saturday evenings.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Rose Ayling-Ellis turns down deals

      Rose Ayling-Ellis has turned down lucrative deals to endorse hearing aids.

      The EastEnders actress refuses to promote any non-NHS devices.

      Rose, 27, is understood to have been offered deals worth hundreds of thousands of pounds by high street names including Specsavers.

      But she has rejected them all so as not to “mislead” her fans.

      Rose, the first deaf celeb on Strictly, is favourite to win the BBC dance show with her partner Giovanni Pernice.

    • Joseph Gamp

      The man responsible for Strictly's music

      Strictly Come Dancing is not just loved by audiences for the brilliant dancing, but also for the great live music.

      Musical director and arranger Dave Arch is the man in charge of the band.

      He is a British pianist, conductor, arranger and composer who has enjoyed a prolific career covering a broad spectrum of the music business including albums, films, and commercials, live and television work.

      He is also the Musical Director for recent productions of the Royal Variety Performance show on ITV as well as shows like Popstar To Operastar.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Dan Walker says his body had 'given up'

      Four couples – TV presenter Odudu and Widdrington, EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice, Bake Off winner John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, and CCBC host Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu – remain in the competition for the semi-finals

      Walker said he had "loved every second" of Strictly but "need(ed) a rest now."

      "My body's given up," he said.

      "It lasted eight weeks – a lot longer than I thought it would – but it's been great.

      "It's an entertainment programme, isn't it, and I told Nadiya the first day we started 'I want you to enjoy this as much as I will and I will love every second of it', and I have."

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