Robert Webb's Peep Show co-star David Mitchell breaks his silence on fan campaign for him to join Strictly

ROBERT Webb's Peep Show co-star David Mitchell said he won't "replace" him on Strictly despite fan camping.

The 49-year-old comedian and professional dancer Dianne Buswell announced that they had QUIT the competition – due to Robert's ill health following major heart surgery.

After Robert announced the news, David shared his support on Twitter, writing: " 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."

Aussie dancer Diane responded: "You know I would be more than happy to teach you a tango."

The comedy duo have collaborated since 1995, with David recently supporting his pal’s dances, even cheering him on from the audience.

Strictly fans had called for David to replace his good pal on the show after his sudden exit.

The pair released a statement this evening confirming their departure yesterday evening.

Robert said in a statement: “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 had begun to feel symptoms that led me to seek an urgent consultation with my heart specialist, and it was her view that it would be better for the sake of my health to step back from the show."

He added: "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. It was always going to be a difficult mountain to climb (for one thing it’s made of glitter so it’s very skiddy) and I’ve been especially touched by the support from fellow heart patients.

"I think perhaps I was too eager to impress them. They will know that recovery doesn’t always go in a straight line, and I hope they’re not too disappointed that I ran into the limits of my resilience much sooner than I’d hoped.

"I leave knowing that Strictly viewers are in very safe hands and I’ll be cheering for my brother and sister contestants all the way to Christmas. Despite this sad ending, it has been a genuine honour to be part of this huge, joyful and barking mad TV show. Long may it continue.”

Dianne paid tribute to Robert as she shared: “As a massive fan of Robert’s, I was delighted to find out that he was joining the Strictly family. On top of this, to find out he was my partner was the icing on the cake. We made a great team, worked hard and had a good laugh along the way.

"I am so proud of the three amazing dances we produced. I know Robert had a lot more to give to the competition but his health of course comes first and I wish him a speedy recovery. I feel lucky to have danced with him and to call him a friend."

The Peep Show star opened up about his congenital heart defect earlier this month, where he revealed he could barely walk last year after having emergency surgery to save his life.

He said at the time: “When I first came out of hospital I could not walk to the end of the street without help. I couldn’t even lift a kettle for four weeks.

“So gradually you build up again until you are doing longer and longer walks. Then seven months later the walks turn into runs — and then you become a dancer.

“This was not the first time they asked, and I knew there would be a collision between me and Strictly very likely to happen in the future.

“But it goes back to the heart surgery — now I think I have got something to offer this show.”

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