Strictly star Nigel Harman grimaces, Claudia Winkleman looks concerned

Strictly: Nigel Harman ‘storms off’ set before shutting down Claudia Winkleman over judges’ criticism

Very, very awkward

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Strictly Come Dancing standout Nigel Harman pointedly hit back at host Claudia Winkleman in a testing trip to the Blackpool ballroom for the former EastEnders actor.

Nigel, 50, and his pro partner Katya Jones scored 31 points with the judges for their Quickstep on Saturday (November 18) evening. That tally left them second bottom of the leaderboard, above only Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington.

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones await to hear whether they're in the dance off
Nigel Harman and Katya Jones await to hear whether they’re in the dance off (Credit: BBC)

But fans noted how Nigel crestfallen for the reception for his and Katya’s performance, which included criticism of his footwork.

And footage captured from a member of the audience in the ballroom and then shared online appeared to show Nigel ‘storming from the dance floor’.

Strictly star Nigel Harman makes swift exit

It is claimed Nigel’s abrupt departure came as cameras stopped filming the couples bidding farewell to viewers at home.

As other contestants could be seen embracing and dancing, Nigel moved away swiftly from his position, with a shocked Katya following momentarily.

The user who shared the clip on footage chided the judges: “Are #Strictly judges proud of themselves? Nigel’s been broken tonight, couldn’t even face the keep dancing once theme and cameras stopped. Tak[ing] away someone’s love of dance and confidence should not be what show is about.”

However, it seems not everyone was Team Nigel. One viewer said: “Ridiculous. He’s a grown man and he did make some mistakes. I saw them. He keeps making mistakes. I like him and when he’s good he’s very good, but he should be able to take criticism.” Another added: “I really felt for him but I actually think that’s bad sport. He’s an entertainer, being paid A LOT to be there. Be upset but be professional, you don’t throw your toys out during a show.”

ED! has approached representatives for Strictly and Nigel Harman for comment.

Strictly star Nigel Harman looks upwards
Nigel believed he and Katya would be dancing again (Credit: BBC)

‘You looked quite shocked there’

Meanwhile, during the Sunday (November 19) results show, Nigel also seemed unnerved after coming close to being plunged into the dance-off.

It came down to between him and Katya, and Angela and Kai, for the final slot up against Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell, who had already learned they would be taking part in the eliminator.

However, Nigel and Katya were put through to next week by viewers’ votes, which Claudia brought up immediately as she spoke to contestants backstage.

“You looked quite shocked there. Both of you,” she said to the pairing, as Katya held her hands over her mouth.

Nigel replied: “Yeah, yeah… I felt for sure I was going to be dancing again. And it was very nerve-wracking, so yes, I’m still a little bit shocked by it all.”

Nigel Harman interjects
‘Thanks for reminding me’ (Credit: BBC)

Claudia went on to say as she made her next point: “Second from the bottom on the leaderboard…”

But Nigel interjected before she could finish her sentence: “Yes, thanks for reminding me…”

Claudia apologised as she raised a hand, and Nigel gave a small chuckle during the awkward interaction.

Claudia Winkleman raises a hand
Claudia apologises (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

She went on: “The public absolutely saved you – what would you like to say to them?”

The public absolutely saved you.

To which Nigel, who did not seem overjoyed, replied: “I just want to thank people, really. We really enjoy dancing so thank you very much.”

Read more: Strictly: Judges’ criticism of Nigel and Katya leaves fans furious

Strictly Come Dancing 2023 continues on Saturday November 25, on BBC One at 7.30pm. It Takes Two airs on weekdays on BBC Two, at 6.30pm.

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Robert Leigh
Freelance writer