Simon Rimmer has become the fifth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing, but he is dancing off with his “head held high”.
The Sunday Brunch presenter and his partner Karen Clifton were in the dance-off against Saturdays star Mollie King and professional AJ Pritchard, after the viewer votes were combined with the judges’ scores to determine the bottom two.
Rimmer and Clifton – who had come bottom of the leaderboard with 16 points in Saturday’s show – danced their Viennese waltz to Sir Tom Jones’s Delilah again, while King and Pritchard had another go at their cha cha to Better The Devil You Know by Kylie Minogue.
Following their efforts, the judges unanimously voted for Rimmer to exit the competition.
Speaking to Strictly host Tess Daly upon learning his fate, Rimmer said his most special memory was dancing to You’ll Never Walk Alone, the song associated with the Hillsborough tragedy.
He said: “When I danced the waltz to You’ll Never Walk Alone and it touched people, I will never, ever forget that.”
He praised Clifton for convincing “this lumbering 54-year-old bloke that I could stand up on a Saturday night and dance in front of millions of people”, and he added that she has “become a proper friend”.
Speaking after the show, Rimmer admitted that he never expected to get as far as he did.
He said: “I will walk away with my head held high, full of pride.
“I’ve loved every single minute of it, it’s been brilliant and as the weeks go on it gets tougher and tougher.
“Six weeks ago I’d never danced in my life and I’ve managed to last to week six, so you know what, I’m happy! No-one wants to go home but I’m happy.”
He added: “The only thing that made me think I might get this far is genuinely from week one when we were working on the paso, Karen gave me belief from the very first day and genuinely that has sort of carried me through, she has never, ever let me doubt myself.”
Asked who he thinks could go on to win the series, Rimmer said: “If I’m biased then my two surrogate daughters Gemma (Atkinson) and Mollie would kind of be right at the top of my list because they’re the ones I look out for but there’s so many brilliant dancers it’s impossible to say.
“From Aston (Merrygold) and Alexandra (Burke) through to Joe (McFadden) and Jonnie (Peacock), who knows? Debbie McGee is surprising all of us every week – amazing.”
The results show included a performance from pop group Steps.
Rimmer and Clifton will appear on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two on Monday October 30 at 6.30pm on BBC Two, and Strictly Come Dancing continues next Saturday at 6.50pm on BBC One.