Gregg Wallace has admitted he suffered so badly with nerves during his time on Strictly Come Dancing that he had to see a hypnotherapist – and is relieved to have left the show.

The MasterChef judge and his partner Aliona Vilani were the first couple to be voted out of the BBC dancing competition at the weekend, but Gregg said he was pleased to go because he found the experience so nerve-racking.

He told the Daily Express: “It was a huge relief [to leave Strictly] because I wasn’t good at it. It was causing a great deal of anxiety and stress – I just couldn’t do it.

“I was suffering from so much stage fright and severe anxiety that on Saturday morning I cried out of fear and desperation. It was absolute terror that I just couldn’t overcome. I thought everyone would judge me. I now know it’s OK to mess up, it’s OK to be scared.”

Gregg said that he saw a hypnotherapist to try to help him with thinking more positively, but has accepted that performing dance routines is not for him.

He said: “All that kept going through my head was, ‘What am I supposed to be doing?’ and, ‘I am going to look stupid,’ I just couldn’t control the fear. I can empathise with MasterChef contestants now – I never knew what they were suffering before.

“People kept saying, ‘just enjoy it,’ but that’s like telling someone with a chronic fear of flying, ‘just enjoy it’ – it’s the most stupid advice in the world.”

Gregg said of his first dance on Strictly: “I had actually frozen with fright during my cha cha cha – at one point in the dance I thought, ‘I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing,’ it was pretty awful.

“We didn’t do any hypnotherapy in the first session, just had a long chat about positive thinking.

“I’d also got a cold and was running a temperature and was feeling so rough they had to get a medic out. But that in no way excuses my poor performance.”

Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman all voted to save Mrs Brown’s Boys star Jennifer Gibney and her professional dancing partner Tristan MacManus in Sunday’s dance off.