Mark Benton’s Strictly Come Dancing career is finally at an end after he became the ninth celebrity to exit the dancefloor.

The former Waterloo Road star had already defied the odds by surviving three successive dance-offs, during which he saw off Dave Myers, Fiona Fullerton and Ben Cohen.

However his luck ran out after he found himself up against Ashley Taylor Dawson, who was in the bottom two for the first time.

And after splitting the panel on previous weeks, this time the judges were unanimous in who they wanted to save, after Mark had reprised his samba and Ashley had danced his rumba once again.

Afterwards Mark said he had ‘had a ball’ on the show, paying tribute to his dance partner Iveta Lukosiute.

“What a time I have had!” he told Tess Daly. “I’ve got to say thank you to my dear friend and fantastic teacher Iveta, she is amazing.I also want to thank my amazing wife and children, the backstage guys, the beautiful band, the judges they are all amazing.”

Meanwhile Iveta added: “This is my first season and Mark made it so special and memorable. I enjoyed every minute with him, he made me laugh. I taught him dance and he taught me many more things than that. He is my family.”

Next weekend will see the six remaining couples compete against each other in the ‘swingathon’ group dance as they bid for a place in the semi-final.