Actress Chizzy Akudolu has become the first contestant to leave the new series of Strictly Come Dancing – after viewers opted to save Charlotte Hawkins.
Former Holby City star Akudolu, 43, faced the dance off with comedian Brian Conley, 56, after the results of the viewers’ vote were combined with the judges’ scores.
At the end of Saturday night’s BBC1 show, Good Morning Britain presenter Hawkins, 42, and broadcaster Rev Richard Coles, 55, were at the bottom of the leaderboard.
Hawkins stumbled on many of the steps during this week’s routine, scoring the lowest amount of points from the judges in the competition so far.
But Akudolu and entertainer Conley ended up in the dance off after viewers’ votes were taken into account.
Akudolu and her dance partner Pasha Kovalev performed their foxtrot and Conley and his partner Amy Dowden did their Cha Cha once again on Sunday’s show.
Judge Craig Revel Horwood wanted to save Akudolu because he “loved” watching her dance “more”.
But Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli opted to save Conley for “having more dance content” and for a routine which “popped more”.
New head judge Shirley Ballas had the casting vote and saved Conley, saying his dance had “a bit more musicality and content”.
Akudolu thanked judges for their “constructive criticism” and called her dance partner a “dude”.
“I have loved every minute dancing with him and it will continue because I will just be going round his house to dance now,” the actress, who left Holby in June after five years as surgeon Mo Effanga, joked.
“But I don’t have his address so if anyone could email me I would appreciate it!”
Kovalev replied: “You were so much fun to work with, all the laughs we had together, all the great dancing we did together I absolutely enjoyed every single second of it and fine, come over to my house!”
Early exits of DJ Melvin Odoom and actress Tameka Empson on last year’s BBC series sparked a racism row, but Ore Oduba went on to win the show.
Strictly returns next Saturday with a movie special.