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Royal support for people's favourite John as he bows out of 'Strictly'

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Even the royal family has got swept up in Strictly Come Dancing fever.

Zara Phillips, the Queen's granddaughter, and her partner Mike Tindall were among the 12 million Britons watching this weekend's filming.

Not content to follow the contest on the box, the couple were in the audience as unlikely dance hero John Sergeant waltzed off the programme to a standing ovation.

It wasn't a virtuoso performance, but that wasn't what his fans had come to expect from the broadcaster. Instead, his final appearance was characterised by the good humour and graciousness that has marked his controversial run on the show.

After twirling his partner Kristina Rihanoff around to the strains of Norah Jones' tune Come Away With Me the people's favourite thanked the public for their support.

The political editor also had a message for the panel, who'd made it clear they were put out by the viewers' support for John despite his terrible dancing. "I'd particularly like to thank them for the extraordinary way in which they whipped up public support in our favour," he said.

Kristina, whom he described as "quite simply the best dancer in the world", was in tears by the end of his speech.

There were also mixed emotions for Jodie Kidd, who became the 11th celebrity to be kicked off the contest. The model/TV presenter said she'd had "most amazing journey" after losing out in the dance-off with Lisa Snowdon.

Photo: ©
Zara Phillips and her partner Mike Tindall chat with host Brucie following John Sergeant's farewell performance Photo: © BBC
Photo: ©
The political editor quit the dance contest after the judges' complaints that the public were backing him as joke. His waltz with partner Kristina was greeted by cheers Photo: © BBC
Photo: ©
Jodie Kidd became the 11th celebrity to be voted off - despite impressing the judges with her jive Photo: © PA