Strictly Come Dancing: Time’s up for Tuffnell!

Former cricketer Phil Tufnell has become the latest celebrity to get the boot from Strictly Come Dancing, after ending up in his first dance-off.

Tufnell and dance partner Katya Varshilas lost out to Ricky Groves and Erin Boag, after the former EastEnders star found himself in the dance off for the second week in a row.

And having seen off Craig Kelly last week, the judges once again chose to save Ricky – although it was close.

Craig Revel Horwood, admitting it was a “difficult decision” opted to save Ricky and Erin, while both Alesha Dixon and Bruno Tonioli voted for Phil and Katya – leaving Len Goodman with the casting vote.

“It’s a very tough call tonight,” Goodman admitted, “because they have both danced beautifully together tonight. But I have to go for the one that gave the cleaner and most precise performance, and that couple is Ricky and Erin.”

Afterwards Tufnell said he had “thoroughly enjoyed the experience” while Katya praised him. “I’ve had the best partner,” she said.

Seven couples now remain in the competition, including Jade Johnson, who pulled out of the show at the last minute after sustaining a knee injury during dress rehearsal.

Also adding to the drama of the night was Laila Rouass, who struggled to complete her rumba with partner Anton du Beke after spraining her ankle earlier on Saturday.

She decided to attempt her routine – but was unable to complete it, with du Beke having to carry the tearful actress off the dancefloor.

The judges marked her accordingly based on the part of the routine she had completed – but Craig gave her just three points, eliciting boos from the audience.

“I’m finding it very difficult to mark,” he admitted. Len Goodman however was kinder, “I thought you were doing very well considering your injury,” he said.

The pair eventually finished bottom of the scoreboard.

However it was a better night for Ricky Whittle, Ali Bastian and Natalie Cassidy, who won warm praise for her foxtrot.

“That was very prim and proper,” said Bruno, “You did a good job.” Len, meanwhile, called the routine Natalie’s “best dance”.