Robert, AJ and Tony with the Strictly logo

All the times stars have been forced off Strictly due to medical reasons – from Nigel Harman’s broken rib to Robert Webb’s heart problem

Nigel's not the first, and he won't be the last...

Strictly 2023 is coming to an end – and it’s fair to say it hasn’t been short of drama.

Just last week, actor Nigel Harman became the latest celeb to quit the glitzy BBC One show.

The EastEnders star was partnered up with Katya Jones and the pair set the dance floor on fire every week. But at the start of the month, that all changed when he was forced to quit following “medical grounds.”

However, Nigel is not the first celeb to quit due to medical reasons – and he won’t be the last.

So what celebs have had to quit strictly? Who was the first famous face to withdraw on medical grounds? And who had to pull out just days before the final? Keep reading to find out.

Katya Jones linking Tony Adams' arm during Strictly results show
Tony ended up quitting over an injury (Credit: BBC)

Tony Adams on Strictly

Back in 2022, former Arsenal player England captain Tony showed off his best dance moves on the show. Partnered up with Katy Jones, the pair ended up in the bottom two several times.

But during week eight, Tony was forced to quit after suffering a hamstring injury.

After his exit, his wife Poppy claimed Tony was “sad” to pull out. But she noted how he struggled with the 10-hour training days and called him “old with a dodgy knee.”

Katya Jones and Nicola Adams dancing
Katya Jones and Nicola Adams were booted from the show too (Credit: Strictly YouTube)

Nicola Adams

2020 was the year Nicola Adams made history on Strictly as part of the first same-sex couple with Katya Jones. But 2020 was also the year of Covid – and unfortunately, it hit the Strictly cast.

During this time, Nicola’s partner Katya Jones fell sick with COVID-19. The pair who were in a “covid bubble” both had to step down from taking part.

She later admitted that the whole experience was “terrible.” Speaking on It Takes Two, she said: “I just felt sorry for Katya because I knew she was going to blame herself and it’s one of those things. I didn’t want her to blame herself because it wasn’t her fault and I never saw it that way.”

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington missed out on the Strictly final due to injury
AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington missed out on the Strictly final due to injury (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

AJ Odudu on Strictly

Big Brother host AJ Odudu set the dance floor on fire back in 2021 when she was partnered with Kai Widdrington on the show.

The duo were on track to take home the iconic Glitterball trophy – but disaster struck days before the final.

It was confirmed that AJ had overdone it in training after she’d torn a ligament in her foot. This meant she had to pull out of the show – leaving her gutted.

Robert Webb beams on Strictly Come Dancing
The comedian had to quit due to medical reasons (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Robert Webb

In 2021, actor Robert Webb joined the Strictly cast where he was partnered with Dianne Buswell. But their time on the show was cut short – with Robert quitting the competition because of medical reasons.

“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 more than I could chew for this stage in my recovery,” he said, about his reasons for an early exit.

“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.”

Strictly star Jimmy Tarbuck
Jimmy took part in the show back in 2006 (Credit: ITV)

Jimmy Tarbuck on Strictly

Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck became the first person ever to drop out of Strictly in 2006. He danced alongside pro Flavia Cacace during the fourth season – but had to quit on doctors’ orders.

In a statement at the time, he said: “I would like to thank my wonderful partner Flavia who has taught me so much and been patient in trying to turn this old cart-horse into a proper dancer. I will really miss training with her.”

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones are tearful on Strictly
Both Nigel and Katya had to withdraw from Strictly (Credit: BBC)

Nigel Harman

2023 star Nigel Harman has become the latest celeb to quit, due to medical grounds.

Since week one, he was a firm favourite with the nation, and the judges. So much so, that he and Katya were on track to win the show. But after sustaining an injury, the EastEnders star was forced to withdraw from the show.

Speaking about his injury, he said: “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. So I’ve done something to my rib. I’m a little bit high on painkillers as well!”

Read more: Strictly pro Brendan Cole convinced Nigel Harman would’ve made the show’s final

The Strictly results show airs tomorrow (Sunday, December 10) at 7.20pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones Paso Doble to Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana ✨ BBC Strictly 2023

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Joey Crutchley
Freelance Writer

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