TV veteran Johnny Ball has become the first celebrity to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing 2012, after losing out in the dance-off to fellow TV presenter Richard Arnold.
The 74-year-old – who is the oldest person ever to take part in the show – found himself in the bottom two with Richard following the first public vote of the series.
And with the dance-off returning for the first time in two series, both had to reprise their routines in a bid to remain in the competition – but ultimately it was Richard’s cha cha cha with Erin Boag which proved more popular than Johnny and Iveta Lukosiute’s foxtrot, with the judges voting unanimously to save them.
Craig Revel Horwood admitted neither routine had gone as well as it should but saved Richard “based on content alone,” while Bruno Tonioli, delivering the blow which sent Johnny out of the show, added, “Both of them were quite shaky in the dance-off but I have to agree with the others.”
Johnny appeared to take the news gracefully, admitting afterwards, “I think for my age I did quite well.”
He now faces the prospect of being interviewed by daughter Zoe Ball when he appears on It Takes Two on Monday night.
Johnny had previously been partnered with 2011 champion Aliona Vilani, but Iveta stepped in after Aliona fractured her ankle while rehearsing a complicated dance move.
The Kazakh-born dancer had been due to return to the show within a fortnight if Johnny had remained in the competition.
12 other couples made it through to next week on the strength of the public vote including favourites Louis Smith, Denise Van Outen, Sid Owen and Lisa Riley – while Michael Vaughan, Jerry Hall and Nicky Byrne also made it to next week despite disappointing scores from the judges.
Next weekend’s show will have a Hollywood theme as the remaining couples take to the floor.