A duo will still be voted off Strictly this weekend despite Robert Webb quitting

Strictly Come Dancing will go into the weekend show one contestant lighter than expected after Robert Webb pulled out.

The comedian said he was "extremely sorry" to have pulled out of the show, but cited his recovery from open heart surgery as the reason for his exit.

Webb and his partner Dianne Buswell had scored steadily with the judges. Their best result was in week two, where their tango earned them 27 points and sixth place on the leader board.

Webb said: "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.

"I’m proud of the three dances that Dianne Buswell and I managed to perform and deeply regret having to let her down like this. 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. Thanks too to everyone at home who voted for us."

Webb's exit leaves some key questions open over this weekend's show.

Will there be a vote off?

The BBC told Digital Spy that this weekend show will go ahead as normal and that there will be another contestant leaving the show.

The circumstances are different from when Tom Fletcher and partner Amy Dowden tested positive for Covid-19.

They were allowed to re-join the show after isolating and the vote off continues. This occurred because they expected to have the same number of contestants as before, after the vote off.

Sarah James, Strictly's executive producer, merely said: "Although we are so sad that Robert has withdrawn from the show we completely understand and support his decision, health always comes first.

"Despite their Strictly journey coming to an end earlier than anyone would have hoped, Robert and Dianne really made their mark on the competition, with three unforgettable dances choreographed superbly by the brilliant Dianne."

Will there be a replacement?

When Made in Chelsea's Jamie Laing pulled out of series 17, he was replaced by Kelvin Fletcher, who went on to win the show with Oti Mabuse.

But this was before series 17 began.

Strictly has a long history of contestants being forced to withdraw. Model Kelly Brook withdrew due to bereavement in series 5, while Will Young famously stopped taking part in series 14. Neither were replace.

Webb's comedy partner David Mitchell quickly shut down rumours of him replacing his friend.

Taking to Twitter, he said: "This is sad! They did some really brilliant dancing, I thought. Sorry there won't be more.

"And to those asking if I'll be stepping in to replace him: I'm afraid not. I prefer to dance like nobody's watching. And I can only do that if nobody's watching."

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