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HealthStrictly's Robert Webb reveals he was left barely able to walk after...

Strictly’s Robert Webb reveals he was left barely able to walk after emergency surgery

Robert Webb has revealed he was left barely able to walk last year after emergency surgery for a congenital heart defect.

The Peep Show star, 49, who is currently competing on Strictly Come Dancing, learned the condition was made worse from his ten-year battle with alcohol.

Speaking to The Sun, Robert told how he sees participating in the BBC series as the latest step on his road to recovery.

Health: Robert Webb has revealed he was left barely able to walk last year after emergency surgery for a congenital heart defect

Health: Robert Webb has revealed he was left barely able to walk last year after emergency surgery for a congenital heart defect

Health: Robert Webb has revealed he was left barely able to walk last year after emergency surgery for a congenital heart defect

He said: ‘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.’

Robert explained he had been feeling poorly for quite a while and went for a check up in March of last year just before lockdown only to discover how serious his condition was.

Scary: The Peep Show star, 49, who is currently competing on Strictly Come Dancing, learned the condition was made worse from his ten-year battle with alcohol (pictured with Dianne Buswell)

Scary: The Peep Show star, 49, who is currently competing on Strictly Come Dancing, learned the condition was made worse from his ten-year battle with alcohol (pictured with Dianne Buswell)

Scary: The Peep Show star, 49, who is currently competing on Strictly Come Dancing, learned the condition was made worse from his ten-year battle with alcohol (pictured with Dianne Buswell)

The actor said his condition is a birth defect with one of his heart valves having prolapsed instead of ‘opening and shutting nicely’.

He said his heart thought he was running up a hill while he was asleep and he never noticed as he simply put his symptoms down to tiredness.

Robert saw a cardiologist who told him he had severe regurgitation and that blood that should have been flowing throughout his body was going ‘backwards’.

The TV star had open heart surgery after the cardiologist said his heart would fail in the next two to three months without it. 

Robert said: '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' (pictured in 2018)

Robert said: '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' (pictured in 2018)

Robert said: ‘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’ (pictured in 2018)

Robert said the surgery motivated him to change his lifestyle, starting with ditching alcohol.

The actor admitted he feels he had been slowly killing himself through drinking and had increased his consumption to the point where he felt he was addicted.      

Robert started running and also took up weight-training, meaning he was fitter than ever when he got the call for Strictly. 

Still, training with his professional partner Dianne has not come easy and he has described rehearsals as a lot of hard work, often working from 8am to 6pm. 

Condition: Robert explained he had been feeling poorly for quite a while and went for a check up in March of last year just before lockdown only to discover how serious his condition was (pictured in 2020)

Condition: Robert explained he had been feeling poorly for quite a while and went for a check up in March of last year just before lockdown only to discover how serious his condition was (pictured in 2020)

Condition: Robert explained he had been feeling poorly for quite a while and went for a check up in March of last year just before lockdown only to discover how serious his condition was (pictured in 2020)

It comes after Saturday’s episode of Strictly Come Dancing was the most watched of the series so far, according to overnight ratings.

The programme was watched by an average audience of 8.2 million people with a 48.5% share of the audience – up on last week’s 7.9 million. The viewing figure for the BBC One celebrity dancing competition peaked at 8.8 million.

While viewership is on the rise for the 2021 series, numbers remain down on last year’s show – which fell amid much stricter covid regulations – with numbers on the same second live show show hitting peak numbers of 10.7million in 2020.

STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021: WHO ARE THE COUPLES?

TOM FLETCHER & AMY DOWDEN

Celebrity’s Age: 36

Profession: McFly musician

Tom says: ‘I’m so pleased the news is out it’s been so hard keeping it secret. Equal parts excited and terrified.’

Fun fact: Tom’s McFly bandmate Harry Judd won Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. Tom’s wife Giovanna Fletcher is the reigning champion of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

ROBERT WEBB & DIANNE BUSWELL

 Celebrity’s Age: 48

Profession: Actor and comedian

Robert says: ‘It’s very exciting but with a slight undertone of quivering terror.’

Fun Fact: Robert squeezed into a shiny leotard to take the title of Let’s Dance For Comic Relief in 2009, performing What A Feeling from ’80s film Flashdance, beating the likes of Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness to the title. 

RHYS STEPHENSON & NANCY XU  

Celebrity’s Age: 27

Profession: CBBC presenter  

Rhys says: ‘I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation’

Fun fact: Rhys has been an actor since the age of ten, performing alongside Matt Smith and Hugh Bonneville. 

KATIE MCGLYNN & GORKA MARQUEZ

 Celebrity’s Age: 28

Profession: Actress

Katie says: ‘I’m really not a dancer, but I’m so excited to learn a new skill on this crazy journey and cannot wait to slip into some sequins along the way.’

Fun fact: Katie, who played Sinead Tinker in Corrie, won a NTA for Best Serial Drama Performance in 2020. 

TILLY RAMSAY & NIKITA KUZMIN

Celebrity’s Age: 19

Profession: CBBC presenter

Tilly says: ’I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on!’

Fun fact: Tilly’s father is celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the pair often star in dancing TikTok videos.

NINA WADIA & NEIL JONES  

Celebrity’s Age: 52

Profession: Actress

Nina says: ‘I think I should do this before I’m too old and can’t walk anymore. I just want to grab life by the horns and just enjoy it.’

Fun fact: Nina is a JDRF Ambassador and was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List. 

ADAM PEATY & KATYA JONES

Celebrity’s Age: 26

Profession: Athlete 

Adam says: ‘I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool.’

Fun fact: Adam becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

UGO MONYE & OTI MABUSE

 

Celebrity’s Age: 38

Profession: Rugby player and sports pundit

Ugo says: ‘What a dream come true! Strictly is the biggest entertainment show on TV and I can’t wait to show everyone I’ve got more than just dad dancing moves.

Fun fact: Beginning his rugby career at Harlequins in 2002, Ugo went on to make 241 appearances for the club where he scored 89 tries, won a Premiership and made his England debut in 2008.

 

AJ ODUDU & KAI WIDDRINGTON

Celebrity’s Age: 33

Profession: TV presenter

 AJ says: ‘I think it’s going to be really challenging. I can’t wait for the sequins, the wigs, the glitz and the glamour.’

Fun Fact: Apocalypse Wow hosts AJ has featured on a whopping 14 TV shows this year, competing in the likes oF Cooking With The Stars and Celebrity Karaoke Club. She has appeared as a panelist on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two in the past, too.

JOHN WHAITE & JOHANNES RADEBE

Celebrity’s Age: 33

Profession: Great British Bake Off Winner and TV chef

 John says: ‘I’m so grateful, excited, and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family… I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth’

Fun Fact: The duo are the first ever all-male partnering – the first in 17 years of the show.

SARA DAVIES & ALJAZ SKORJANEC

Celebrity’s Age: 37  

Profession:  Businesswoman

Sara says: ‘I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance… Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.’

Fun fact: Sara was the youngest ever dragon on BBC show Dragons’ Den.

DAN WALKER & NADIYA BYCHKOVA

Celebrity’s Age: 44 

Profession: Journalist

Dan says: ‘I’m enjoying the experience when it starts of learning to dance. I’ll be honest I’m not making room on any shelves in my house for the glitterball.’

Fun fact: Dan recently quit Football Focus after 12 years at the helm and has been covering Tokyo Olympics.

 GREG WISE & KAREN HAUER

Celebrity’s Age: 55

Profession: Actor

Greg says: ‘It’s about being out there and exposing yourself as someone who can’t dance, and learning.’

Fun fact: Greg is married to the actress Emma Thompson who he met while filming Sense and Sensibility.  

ROSE AYLING-ELLIS & GIOVANNI PERNICE

Celebrity’s Age: 30

Profession: Actress

Rose says: ‘I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill.’

 Fun fact: Rose will make history as Strictly’s first deaf contestant. 

 JUDI LOVE & GRAZIANO DI PRIMA

Celebrity’s Age: 41

Profession: Comedienne 

Judi says: ‘I’m truly looking forward to pushing myself in something that I could have only dreamed of doing and now it’s actually coming true!’

Fun fact: Judi began comedy when she performed a set in front of her class for a degree module.

 

 

 

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