Belfast Telegraph

Backshall out in Strictly dance-off

Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to depart Strictly Come Dancing 2014.

The TV presenter and naturalist and his professional partner Ola Jordan found themselves in the dance-off for the first time alongside star of Casualty Sunetra Sarker and her partner Brendan Cole.

On Saturday night's show, the remaining couples in the competition danced to impress the viewers at home and the judges in the studio.

The judges' scores were combined with the viewers' votes to decide the lowest-scoring two couples facing the dance-off.

Both performed their routines again, with Sunetra and Brendan doing their waltz to Last Request by Paolo Nutini and Steve and Ola dancing their American football-inspired jive to Little Bitty Pretty One.

Craig Revel-Horwood chose to save Sunetra and Brendan, saying: "I thought both couples danced better actually, but the couple I'd like to save - Sunetra and Brendan."

Darcey Bussell disagreed and chose to save Steve and Ola.

Bruno Tonioli agreed with Craig, saying: "The couple with much more grace, elegance and style - Sunetra and Brendan."

Head judge Len Goodman also chose to save Sunetra and Brendan, saying: "My heart goes out to both of the couples in the dance-off, to come out and give it all they had - the couple that were the cleanest and for me the better couple on tonight's performance - Sunetra and Brendan."

Steve paid tribute to Ola, saying: "I'll be gutted to go but the first thing I have to say is to this extraordinary lady, walking out on Blackpool Ballroom floor with all that nostalgia and history, with a dancer of your calibre, being taught to dance by you is an experience I'll never forget and I am so, so privileged by that."

Ola said: "You were absolutely brilliant to teach and work with. You struggled a lot with your injuries and you worked so hard, you gave me 100% in training, so thank you very much for being so wonderful."

Sunday's results show featured a performance by Barry Manilow, singing Copacabana and What A Wonderful World.

On Saturday's show, Claudia Winkleman received a warm welcome and managed to hold off the tears as she returned to her presenting role.

After asking audiences to "bear with me" on Twitter, she resumed her role co-hosting with Tess Daly after three weeks off to care for her daughter Matilda, eight, who suffered burns while trick-or-treating on Halloween.

She received a standing ovation from the studio audience and became tearful only when she received a hug from professional dancer Kristina Rihanoff at the end of the show.

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