Bookies’ favourite Natalie Gumede has had to see a physio after putting in so much rigorous training for Strictly Come Dancing – with a gruelling six hours each day.

The former Coronation Street star and Strictly partner Artem Chigvintsev have been putting in so much extra time to impress viewers this weekend that she has had to seek help to free tension after fears she had damaged her knee.

A Strictly source said: “Natalie and Artem have been training so much, she was forced to rest up on Monday after putting in extra hours over the weekend.

“She thought she’d damaged her knee, but it was just the result of over-worked muscles which the physio soon put right.”

The pair also found themselves tussling for studio space with rivals Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec as they competed to put in extra hours.

Both couples tried to practise in the same room for a spell this week, but it did not work out so Natalie and Artem moved on because they were the ones who had extended their booking.

The celebrities have all been putting in huge amounts of training in the early stages, with a total of 905 hours between the 15 couples in preparation for their first live dance.

Former rugby star Ben Cohen and pro partner Kristina Rihanoff notched up 44 hours in one week.

The first live Strictly show takes place tomorrow night (September 27), with half the line-up taking to the dance floor. The remainder will do their first live dance on Saturday’s edition of the BBC One series.

Bookmaker William Hill has Natalie as the 9/4 favourite to triumph in the series.