Jessie Wallace has become the latest casualty of series six of Strictly Come Dancing after losing out to singer Heather Small in the dance-off.

The former EastEnders star – who had been the bookies’ favourite to leave – failed to impress the judges on Saturday night’s show, finishing bottom of the scoreboard after she had performed her quickstep.

On Sunday night’s show, the judges agreed that Jessie – who partnered dancer Darren Bennett – had improved, but nonetheless Craig, Arlene and Bruno all voted to save Heather and partner Brian Fortuna.

“I think under these circumstances it’s very hard because they both came back and did their best,” Bruno Tonioli pointed out, “but for me I have to go with the couple that outshone the other.”

However, Len Goodman said afterwards that he would have voted to save Jessie and Darren.

“I totally disagreed with the others,” he revealed. “I thought both couples improved but Jessie and Darren improved that little bit more. I felt you pulled out all the stops and you were the ones I would have voted for.”

Jessie told Bruce Forsyth she had had a “brilliant time” on the show. “It’s been great,” she said, “I wish it could have been longer but that’s the game.”

The actress was the last of a trio of former EastEnders stars in the competition, after Phil Daniels and Gillian Taylforth were booted out in the first two shows.

Next week will see the men and women competing on the same show for the first time this series.