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Strictly Come Dancing's most devastating injuries amid Nigel Harman's exit

The Casualty star was forced to pull out due to a broken rib

Jamie Laing, Katya Jones, Nigel Harman, Kai Widdrington and AJ Odudu in split image
Nicky Morris
Nicky MorrisTV and film writer
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Nigel Harman was forced to pull out of this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing last week after sustaining a rib injury just hours before the quarter-finals.

While it's always sad to see celebrities leave the competition, it's especially heartbreaking when they've had to withdraw due to illness or injury. 

Former pro dancer James Jordan gave his take on Nigel's departure during an exclusive chat with HELLO!. "I do feel sorry for them, I'm gutted," he said. "This is the problem when you have other professional dancers being involved in a dance which gives you the opportunity to do silly things like jumping off of stages into people's arms or whatever he was trying to do, which has then injured him. I'm a purist, OK. So I don't feel Strictly needs all that."

He added: "It wouldn't have happened if they weren't trying to do silly things like jump off stages. Stick to the Ballroom and Latin dance and maybe they'd still be in the competition."

Nigel isn't the only contestant who has prematurely left the show over the years – and we're sure he won't be the last. We've taken a look back at some of the most devastating injuries that have forced celebrities to back out of the competition. 

WATCH: Nigel Harman holds back tears after detailing A&E trip

Nigel Harmon - series 21

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones pulling sad faces© Instagram

During Saturday's quarter-final, Nigel revealed that he had spent the afternoon in hospital after breaking his rib. 

The Casualty star was set to perform a Charleston to 'Step In Time' from Disney's Mary Poppins for Musicals Week. Instead, he appeared on the show alongside dance partner Katya Jones to explain why he was pulling out of the competition.

"I was leaping off a rostrum, and was about to be caught by some very handsome men, and as I flew I was Peter Pan, and as I landed I was in A&E," he explained.

"It's quite painful," Nigel admitted. "This hasn't really sunk in. I've been avoiding Katya all day because that makes it really real as well."

Tony Adams - series 20

tony adams jive© Photo: BBC

During last year's competition, former professional footballer Tony Adams left the show after injuring himself during week seven's live show. 

Tony and his dance partner Katya Jones performed a lively Jive that left the sportsman with a hamstring injury.

Chatting to host Tess Daly about his time on the show, Tony admitted: "It's been emotional guys, I cried for the first month. I came in here with one message, if you've got an issue with mental health then please don't suffer in silence and reach out for help.

"Little did I know that I was going to learn a lot about myself in the process… I've got to be honest, it's tough, physically it's really tough… but dancing is really fantastic for you. Go out there and enjoy it and pick up new skills and explore. I suppose I had better mention this one [Katya] hadn't I, she is an exceptional human being, she really is."

AJ Odudu - series 19

AJ Odudu's ankle injury© AJ Odudu/Instagram

Back in 2021, AJ Odudu was left heartbroken after an ankle injury caused her to miss out on the grand final. 

The presenter, who was partnered with Kai Widdrington, tore a ligament in her right ankle during rehearsals. Despite her best efforts to recover in time, including ultrasounds, MRI scans, X-rays and two incisions to drain the inflammation around her ankle, AJ was rendered unable to dance. 

The Big Brother host said she was "deeply upset that I am unable to perform", and took to social media with a statement announcing her departure. 

"I've done all I can possibly do to get back on my feet for the @BBCStrictly final," she wrote on X. "I even asked the docs if I could perform in a medical moonboot!

"But the fact is, I can't stand on my feet let alone dance because I've torn my spring ligament."

Robert Webb - series 19

dianne buswell robert webb tango© Photo: Getty Images

In the same year AJ Odudu pulled out of the grand final, Robert Webb was forced to give up his place in the competition due to ill health. 

The Peep Show star had undergone open heart surgery two years before his stint on the show, and while he felt he was "fit enough" to take part, he began to experience symptoms that led him to seek urgent consultation with a specialist. 

In a statement shared at the time, Robert, who was partnered with Dianne Buswell, explained: "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."

He added that he was "proud" of his and Dianne's three dances and expressed his deep "regret" over "letting her down". 

Will Bayley - series 17

Will Bayley attends the "Strictly Come Dancing" launch show red carpet arrivals at Television Centre on August 26, 2019 in London, England© Karwai Tang

Paralympic gold medallist Will Bayley suffered a knee injury back in 2019 that left him unable to dance.

Will, who sustained the injury during rehearsals, said he was "gutted" that his Strictly journey had ended. 

"I've loved being part of the show, and am so grateful for the phenomenal support we have received," said the sportsman. Praising his dance partner Janette Manrara, he continued: "I want to say a special thank you to Janette for believing in me and giving me the confidence to believe in myself. The things we achieved, from our Couple's Choice dance through to the lifts in our Salsa, will stay with me forever."

Jamie Laing - series 17

Jamie Laing attends the "Strictly Come Dancing" launch show red carpet arrivals at Television Centre on August 26, 2019© Karwai Tang

Jamie Laing didn't even make it to week one before sustaining a foot injury which rendered him unable to compete in the 2019 series. 

The Made in Chelsea star hurt himself during rehearsals for the launch show, which meant he had to give up his place in the competition. 

"I'm absolutely devastated that I'm unable to continue in the competition, I was so excited to hit the dance floor," he said. "I would like to wish the lovely couples all the very best and hope they enjoy their time on the show to the fullest."

With Jamie gone, Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher stepped into the breach and went on to win the show with Oti Mabuse. 

Thankfully, Jamie was given a second chance to take part in the 2020 series and managed to reach the final with his dance partner Karen Hauer, finishing the show as runner-up. 

MORE: Strictly Come Dancing's new batch! 17 sweet photos of pro dancers and their kids


Jade Johnson - series 7

jade johnson© Photo: Alamy

Back in 2009, Great Britain long jumper Jade Johnson was forced to pull out of the series due to a knee injury. 

After missing one week of live shows, Jade decided to withdraw from the competition completely. 

"It's very emotional," said the sports star, who explained that her knee "popped" during rehearsals. "Just sitting here is really hard for me. The knee is quite sore." 

The heartbreak didn't end there for Jade, sadly, as she later claimed that the injury had robbed her of a place in Team GB at the 2012 Olympics in London. 

"Strictly has cost me my place in the ­Olympics," she said. "I thought the show injury had healed and I was ready to compete. Sadly it flared up just before the trials and made it ­impossible to get through them."

Every Strictly Come Dancing winner so far

Rose and Giovanni with the Glitterball in 2021
Rose and Giovanni lifted the Glitterball in 2021
  • 2004: Natisha Kaplinsky (partner Brendan Cole)
  • 2004: Jill Halfpenny (partner Darren Bennett) 
  • 2005: Darren Gough (partner Lilia Kopylova) 
  • 2006: Mark Ramprakash (partner Karen Hardy) 
  • 2007: Alesha Dixon (partner Matthew Cutler) 
  • 2008: Tom Chambers (partner Camilla Dallerup) 
  • 2009: Chris Hollins (partner Ola Jordan) 
  • 2010: Kara Tointon (partner Artem Chigvintsev) 
  • 2011: Harry Judd (partner Aliona Vilani)
  • 2012: Louis Smith (partner Flavia Cacace)
  • 2013: Abbey Clancy (partner Aljaž Škorjanec) 
  • 2014: Caroline Flack (partner Pasha Kovalev) 
  • 2015: Jay McGuiness (partner Aliona Vilani) 
  • 2016: Ore Oduba (partner Joanne Clifton) 
  • 2017: Joe McFadden (partner Katya Jones)
  • 2018: Stacey Dooley (partner Kevin Clifton)
  • 2019: Kelvin Fletcher (partner Oti Mabuse)
  • 2020: Bill Bailey (partner Oti Mabuse) 
  • 2021: Rose Ayling-Ellis (partner Giovanni Pernice) 
  • 2022: Hamza Yassin (partner Jowita Przystał)

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