Fiona Fullerton has become the latest celebrity to exit Strictly Come Dancing following this weekend’s Blackpool Tower Ballroom spectacular.
The former Bond girl lost out after finding herself in the dance off for the first time against actor Mark Benton – who narrowly escaped elimination last weekend.
However the dance-off, which saw Fiona reprise her American Smooth with Anton du Beke and Mark reprise his jive with Iveta Lukosiute – split the judges, and was decided by Len Goodman’s casting vote for the first time this series.
While Craig Revel Horwood opted to save Fiona, Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli chose Mark – leaving Len to deliver the final verdict.
“It’s very, very close here,” he admitted. “I gave them both eight when they danced first time round.
“The thing is in the dance-off, you’ve really got to up your game or nerves stifle your performance. One couple I felt really did up their game. The other I think nerves got them and there was a lot of mistakes going on, and for that reason I’m going to save Mark.”
Afterwards Fiona described her experience on the show as ‘the most amazing trip’.
“I can’t thank you enough, or the producers at the BBC, for asking me to take part in this show,” she said. “It’s like being a guest at the best party in the world.
“Anton has been unbelievably patient I can’t tell you. I honestly have a memory like a colander. He’s been utterly brilliant. It’s just lovely, thank you darling.”
Anton, meanwhile, told her: “From my perspective this whole fabulous show is made fun because of the people we get to dance with, and you are just a joy…you are really lovely.”
Fiona finished joint last with Mark on Saturday night’s show, scoring 29 points from the judges for her American Smooth.
Seven other celebrities made it straight through to next weekend including favourites Natalie Gumede and Susanna Reid – both of whom scored 39 out of 40 on Saturday.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Patrick Robinson, Abbey Clancy, Ashley Taylor Dawson and Ben Cohen also sailed through on the public vote.