Casualty star Sunetra Sarker had her last dance in the Strictly competition after facing reality TV star Mark Wright in the dance-off and losing.

Sunetra had been bottom of the leaderboard on Saturday night after her rumba with Brendan Cole failed to excite the judges.

“It lacked strength,” Craig Revel Horwood told Sunetra, “and it was a bit awkward at times, with too many meaningless, wafty arms.”

Head judge Len Goodman had told Sunetra that her “timing was excellent”, but the dance “could have done with a bit more hip action and sparkle.”

This was the third time Sunetra had been in the dance-off and it was to prove third time unlucky.

“It doesn’t come as a galloping shock to me,” Sunetra laughed, when the results were announced.

“The rumba has very specific motions, like dragging your feet through the sand. Remember that and enjoy!” Bruno Tonioli advised Sunetra.

“Let’s get ready to rumba!” Sunetra joked.

She faced Mark, who has been in the dance-off once before.

“I have absolutely exceeded my expectations,” Mark said. “OK, I’m in the dance-off. But you know what? I’m one week off the quarter-finals and I can not believe I’m still here,” he added, clearly emotional.

Len had told Mark his salsa with Karen Hauer “lacked a bit of polish”.

Darcey Bussell thought his salsa was “very hot” but agreed that he needed more finesse in and out of transitions”.

“For the dance-off you need to keep it clean and precise,” she added.

And he kept it clean enough to make it to the next round, with all the judges voting him through.

“This is the bravest thing I’ve ever done and I’m so glad I did it,” Sunetra said, before Brendan twirled her around the dance floor one last time.

In next week’s quarter-finals, each dancer will dance individually, then they will all dance a waltz together – and it will count towards their total score for the night.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC1, Saturday, December 6, 7.00pm.