BBC presenter Dan Walker has hit back at criticism from Strictly fans after he made it through to the competition’s quarter-final.

The TV star, 44, and his professional partner Nadiya Bychkova, landed near the bottom of the leaderboard after performing a rumba to Desperado by Eagles.

They were given a score of 31 – just one point above Tilly Ramsey and her partner Nikita Kuzmin. 

But Dan, who grew up in Crawley, sailed through to the quarter-finals, leaving Tilly and CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson, who was third on the leader board, to face each other in the dreaded dance-off.

Tilly, the daughter of television chef Gordon Ramsey, was sent home by the judges.

Dan took to Twitter to thank fans for their support and to respond to backlash from viewers.

He wrote: “Thank you to everyone who is sending lovely messages and enjoying us having fun on Strictly and to the few who say, ‘just leave’, ‘aren’t you ashamed?’ ‘you’re a disgrace’, ‘it’s a fix’ (which I don’t get) or ‘who is voting for them’, it’s a TV show.

“See you in the quarter final.”

Following Tilly’s elimination, Dan tweeted he was sad to see the couple go home.

He said: “Tilly Ramsey is wonderful. She fills every room with smiles and kindness and her partnership with Nikita is beautiful.

“Her attitude throughout has been a real example and she’s a gorgeous dancer – especially when you consider she’s hardly ever worn heels before this started.”

On Saturday night, Dan received mixed feedback from the judges after his performance.

Anton Du Beke and Cynthia Erivo, who was filing in for Motsi Mabuse, described it as “gorgeous”, but Craid Revel Horwood disagreed.

Craig, who returned to the ballroom after being absent last week due to a positive Covid test, said: “It was jolty, the hip action was non-existent.

“You wiggled your hips, anyone can do that. You were marching and stomping.

“However, I thought it was a lot better than I had expected, I can see you have been working extremely hard and I will give you an extra point for that.”

Head judge Shirley Ballas disagreed with Craig, saying “You were classic and cool as a very tall cucumber.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One on Saturday.

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