Why did Robert Webb leave Strictly as fans left devastated by shock announcement?

Robert Webb announced his brave decision after an unforgettable Movie Week performance

Robert Webb has left Strictly Come Dancing 2021
(Image credit: BBC)

Robert Webb’s performances on Strictly Come Dancing have delighted, surprised and brought viewers to tears of laughter, but now the comedian’s time on the hit dance show has sadly come to an end.

Robert and his professional partner Dianne Buswell won the hearts of the public and the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 judges with a very respectable 25 out of 40 for their Muppets-themed quickstep on Movie Week. However, while they weren’t the ones who left Strictly Come Dancing this week, this sadly was the last time fans will get to see the Strictly couple take to the iconic ballroom. Robert and Dianne are withdrawing from this year’s competition, with the comedian making this important decision due to ill health.

Comedian Robert Webb arrives at the Sony Radio Academy Awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel

(Image credit: Photo by Jon Furniss/WireImage via Getty)

Why has Robert Webb left Strictly?

Whilst fans were left devastated by Robert's decision to leave the show, the comedian and actor revealed that his departure due to health concerns. Opening up in a powerful BBC statement, Robert declared, “I’m extremely sorry to have to announce that I’m withdrawing from Strictly Come Dancing due to ill health. 

"Two years ago I had open heart surgery and although I believed I was fit enough to take on Strictly and its demanding schedule, it became clear that I had bitten off way more than I could chew for this stage in my recovery.”

He continued, “I had begun to feel symptoms that led me to seek an urgent consultation with my heart specialist, and it was her view that it would be better for the sake of my health to step back from the show.”

Despite making the sad decision to withdraw, Robert looked back on his and Dianne’s three Strictly dances with great pride, saying, “I couldn’t have wished for a more talented partner or more patient teacher, and it’s a measure of Dianne’s professionalism and kindness that I was able to get as far as I did.”

The comedian also shared how he was “especially touched by the support from fellow heart patients” who know that “recovery doesn’t always go in a straight line”.

“I leave knowing that Strictly viewers are in very safe hands and I’ll be cheering for my brother and sister contestants all the way to Christmas. Despite this sad ending, it has been a genuine honour to be part of this huge, joyful and barking mad TV show. Long may it continue," Robert poignantly added.

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Following the shock announcement, fans have been left devastated by the loss of Robert and Dianne from this year’s show. Many took to social media to express their immense sadness, though they were quick to support the comedian’s decision and wish him well on his recovery journey.  

One person reassured Robert that he’s done his fans proud, writing, "So sorry to hear this news, congrats to Robert for having the strength to reveal health reasons, he can at least withdraw with the knowledge that he did us strictly fans proud with his dancing this far. Have a lovely rest Robert Webb and look after your health."

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“Gutted that you’re stepping down but thank you for your honesty and humility. Wishing you well”, another person said, echoing the sentiment.  

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A third person added simply, “Very sad I hope @arobertwebb you enjoyed it as much as we did speedy recovery”.   

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While someone else seemed to agree with their fellow fans, commenting, “Definitely, absolutely loved watching @arobertwebb and @dbuzz6589 You were a joy but your health certainly comes first. Take care and hopefully you can come back in a future series.” 

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“Aw you’re the reason I started watching strictly again. Hope you make a speedy recovery.” another fan declared.  

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Robert Webb wasn't the first to leave Strictly

Robert Webb might be the most recent contestant to depart Strictly Come Dancing, much to fans' sadness, but he's certainly not the first! Last year Olympian Nicola Adams and her professional partner Katya Jones were forced to withdraw after Katya tested positive for Covid-19. 

This followed Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing's departure in Strictly 2019 after he injured himself during a group dance routine practice. Though Jamie made a triumphant return to the show a year later after being invited back. 

Nicola Adams attends the UK Gala Screening of Marvel Studios' "Shang -Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings"

(Image credit: Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage via Getty)

Other previous contestants who have sadly withdrawn from the competition include model and presenter Kelly Brook who left Strictly 2007 following the heartbreaking loss of her father and Paralympian Will Bayley in 2019, who pulled out after suffering a knee injury.  

Will Bayley attends the "Strictly Come Dancing" launch show

(Image credit: Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty)

Despite great sadness from fans at Robert leaving, putting his health first is undoubtedly far more important. And as he bids a fond farewell to the Strictly dance floor, one thing’s for certain—no-one will ever pull off a Cha Cha Cha to Boney M’s Rasputin quite like the iconic comedian! 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with seven years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.