Emotional Nigel Harman says Katya Jones is ‘part of me’ after Strictly exit

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    Nigel Harman has paid a touching tribute to Katya Jones following their dramatic Strictly Come Dancing.

    The former EastEnders actor said that his professional partner is "part of me" as he broke his silence on why they were forced to quit the BBC competition. It was confirmed that the pair had left the show hours before the live show on Saturday (December 2) night.

    An official BBC spokesperson announced the news of Nigel and Katya’s departure, confirming: "Unfortunately Nigel has sustained an injury which means he is unable to perform in tonight’s show and has had to withdraw from Strictly."

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    Nigel made a special appearance in the studio on Saturday alongside Katya where he was given the opportunity to explain what had happened. He told show host Claudia Winkelman: "I was leaping off a rostrum and was about to be caught by some very handsome men and as I flew, I ‘Peter Panned’ as I landed and I was in A&E. So I’ve done something to my rib, basically and it’s quite painful. I'm a little bit high on painkillers as well, but I’m having a lovely time."

    Reflecting on his time on the show, he said: "'’ve loved it. I’ve loved it. And I am loving it. It’s too soon to say loved. This hasn’t really sunk in. When I watched everyone coming down the stairs I was a bit like 'Oh! This is real! I'm not part of this any more' and that was quite sad. And I’ve been avoiding Kat all day because that makes it really real as well."

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    Nigel went on to reveal that Katya was now "part of me" leaving the dancer in tears as Claudia introduced their best bits. Earlier in the programme, Tess Daly and Claudia kicked off the Musicals Week special by discussing Nigel's exit from the show. Claudia said: "We only have four couples unfortunately Nigel has sustained an injury which means he's unable to be performing ON tonight's show and he's had to withdraw from the competition. We are as devastated as he is but Nigel and Katya will be chatting to us later on in the show.

    ""That means there will be no public vote tonight and no elimination this weekend but the judges will still be scoring and those scores will be carried over and you'll be able to vote as usual next week. So we have four incredible couples ready to bring their best to the ballroom tonight!"

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    Following the sad news, many Strictly professionals expressed their sadness at the news. Gorka Marquez, who was eliminated second this year after being partnered with presenter Nikita Kanda, reacted by sharing crying emojis. Nadiya Bychkova, who has been in the show group performances and backing dancing, shared sad-faced emojis and a praying hands emoji.

    Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One and BBC iPlayer

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