John Sergeant’s Strictly dance partner Kristina Rihanoff has dismissed claims he was lazy and said Arlene Phillips’ comments were disrespectful.

John performed his final dance on the show last weekend after announcing he was quitting Strictly Come Dancing.

Dubbed the ‘dancing pig’, viewers kept voting for John despite his mauling from judges on the BBC One show.

Kristina said she was ‘shocked’ by the judges – and was most disappointed with Arlene Phillips, who previously claimed that instead of rehearsing, John ‘sits and reads the Guardian’.

Russian-born Kristina told Closer magazine: “Arlene needs to realise people are listening to what she says – it’s not a good look. She’s the same age as John and should know by now how to be respectful.”

She continued: “John lost 30lb so how can he have been lazy? It was a ridiculous comment and I know John was very upset by it. We worked six hours a day with a five-minute break every 30 minutes.”

Saying how thrilled John’s wife Mary is with his new figure, Kristina said: “She said she was pleased with me for John’s weight loss. Mary is a lucky lady.”

Contestant Lisa Snowdon also told the magazine she tried to call John to keep him in and was ‘quite sad about him leaving’.