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Strictly stars shrug off injuries

The Strictly Come Dancing studio was more like Casualty as the stars had to brave a sprained wrist, a spinal injury and a fractured nose as they tried to impress the judges on the dance floor.

The punishing routines appear to have taken their toll on the celebrities, as Casualty star Patrick Robinson had to soldier through his salsa performance with a sprained right hand.

Ex-Coronation Street actress Natalie Gumede is still undergoing treatment for her painful spinal injury, while her partner Artem Chigvintsev revealed he had fractured his nose.

Even the Strictly judges were not free from the litany of aches and pains, with Craig Revel Horwood making it to the panel despite undergoing a hip operation after last week's show.

But the twinkle-toed celebrities did not let these setbacks stop them from strutting their stuff on the dancefloor.

Robinson, whose routine had to be changed when he became injured, was praised after he embarked on a lift of his partner with his bandaged hand.

Len Goodman joked: "You should feel right at home, what with your wrist and being in Casualty.

"Patrick, you did a really good job under the terrible circumstances."

Gumede and her partner battled through their injuries to deliver an impressive samba, winning 35 points and coming joint top of the leaderboard with Abbey Clancy.

The women were on form last night as former Bond girl Fiona Fullerton came back fighting against her critics after coming bottom last week to win a standing ovation for her quickstep.

The A View To A Kill star, who was given a few words of encouragement by 007 actor Sir Roger Moore ahead of the show, picked up 30 points from the judges.

Darcey Bussell hailed her performance as her most impressive yet, saying: "Finally, fabulous Fiona. You were light on your feet and beautifully confident - your best dance."

But not all performances bore fruit as some of the celebs struggled to impress with their footwork.

Hairy Biker Dave Myers put on a saucy samba performance as he was wheeled onto the Strictly stage on a trolley bedecked with exotic fruit, shaking a pair of maracas.

But while his flamboyant blue jumpsuit turned some heads, his work failed to bear fruit and the judges gave him just 17 points, putting him bottom of the leaderboard.

Darcey Bussell said: "You were just out of sync all the way through."

Bruno declared the routine: "Strictly Come Dancing presents: crackers with maracas two. I don't think anybody until you has managed to be off-time all the way through. It's unique."

However, there was a kinder evaluation from Len Goodman, who said: "The bottom line: it's not top quality dancing, it's top quality fun and entertainment."

Meanwhile, Mark Benton, the former star of BBC show Waterloo Road, was taken to finishing school to help him become more twinkle-toed after he was criticised last week by Craig for being "flat-footed and stompy".

And the tips appeared to have paid off as he was given 28 points, his highest score so far in the competition.

Revel Horwood said: "So much better than the ghastly dance you did last week. Much, much nicer to watch. I thought you danced it simply, effectively and with emotion."

And Bussell enthused: "You transported me".

One of the couples will be voted off tonight.

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