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BREAKING NEWS: Strictly star pulls out hours ahead of live show

This, after Brendan Cole announces his absence...

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They’re dropping like flies on Strictly Come Dancing this week.

First, pro dancer Brendan Cole cried off due to a lung infection… now a celebrity has pulled out.

Irish presenter Laura Whitmore has been forced to sit on the subs bench for week five.

A show spokesperson has explained: “Laura Whitmore will not perform on tonight’s Strictly Come Dancing due to an ankle injury sustained earlier in the week.

“She has been checked by a doctor and the medical team on site and they have advised that she rests her ankle and does not dance this weekend.

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“As per the rules of Strictly Come Dancing – because Laura and Giovanni cannot dance on tonight’s show – they will receive a bye through to next week and the show will continue with a public vote as per usual.

We wish Laura a very speedy recovery.”

What a dramatic week for the show – before we even get to the lives! Poor Brendan had to release a statement to assure fans he wasn’t DEAD!

The 40-year-old tweeted a screenshot of a news website with a story headlined: “Strictly dancer Brendan Cole has died” and wrote: “Ps … report yesterday of me having died … very much untrue! lol.”

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Following medical advice to rest this week, Brendan has been temporarily replaced by dancer Gorka Marquez, who has been training with Anastasia to perform a quickstep in this weekend’s show.

Get well soon Brendan – and Laura! Hope to see both fighting fit on next weekend’s shows.