Presenting duo Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman have finally addressed Amanda Abbington’s exit from Strictly Come Dancing. As they returned to the ballroom on Saturday night, the stars wished Amanda all the best. “Earlier this week, Amanda Abbington withdrew from the competition. Amanda we are sending you all our love," said Claudia.
Chiming in Tess added: "But for our ten remaining couples, the stage has been set."
Amanda, 51, was absent from last week’s competition due to medical reasons. At the time, Tess and Claudia stated that, per the official rules, the actress would be able to return. However, in a surprising move, the BBC confirmed that Amanda had decided to withdraw from the competition completely.
During Monday’s episode of Strictly's sister show, It Takes Two, Fleur East made the announcement and read out the official statement from a BBC spokesperson.
"Amanda Abbington is unable to continue in Strictly Come Dancing and has decided to withdraw from the competition,” it began. “The show wishes her all the best for the future."
Amanda herself has also followed up with an official statement that was released on Tuesday. Taking to Instagram, she wrote: "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."
Like Claudia and Tess, Amanda’s Strictly family have rallied around her in support. While appearing on Lorraine, Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell reacted to the news.
"We are gonna miss her a lot in the competition," said Dianne. "I am still going to go to hers and have dinner," quipped Bobby, adding, "She's so lovely, I am just glad she is doing what she wants."
Meanwhile, Amanda’s former dance partner Giovanni Pernice has penned a sweet tribute to her on social media. Sharing a behind-the-scenes photo from Strictly, he wrote: "Amanda… I am so sad we can't continue but I am proud of what we achieved and I am sending you so much love [heart emoji] @amanda_abbington74 @bbcstrictly."