OUR “Rooting for Rory” column has taken an unhappy twist and become “Regrets for Rory” following his departure from the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing.
Despite the first three weeks of the programme seeing Rory, 50, and professional dance partner Erin Boag secure themselves solid mid-leaderboard places, Saturday night saw them in the dance-off for survival after the judges’ vote.
A 24 out of 40 for their cha-cha-cha was not enough to prevent Rory and Erin joining Nancy Dell’Olio and Anton du Beke in the bottom two and subject to the whims of the British viewing public.
And thanks to the national characteristic that is the love of the clod-hopping underdog – think Anne Widdecome and John Sergeant in previous shows – it was Rory and Erin who were shown the exit by viewers, despite a truly terrible paso doble from Nancy.
Impressionist Rory, who has a house near Jedburgh, admits he is gutted at having to leave the programme so early in its run.
“I’m really sad it’s all had to end so soon. To be honest, I feel I’ve let Erin down as well as all those who have supported me over the last few weeks.
“What it also feels like is as if I had been on a coach trip, which then stopped and deposited me in the middle of nowhere, leaving me standing by the side of the road with my suitcase as the coach drives off into the distance with everyone still on it and having a good time.
“I’m going to miss it madly. It’s always difficult if you face a public vote because you never know how its going to go. But I knew we were in a bit of trouble and our routine didn’t go as well as we’d hoped.”
However, Rory has no regrets about being part of the hit BBC programme. “It’s been an amazing experience. It’s a wonderful show with such a lot of positive energy and some really great people, who I will really miss.”
Rory intends trying to keep up with his dance practice now that he has a taste for it – especially as the last few weeks have seen him shed both inches and pounds.
“It would be great to keep it going. When you wake up on a Monday morning and think you’ll never be able to do something, and then by Saturday you find yourself doing exactly that on live television in front of nine or 10 million people – it’s an incredible feeling.”
As for Nancy managing to last for another week at his expense, Rory said the fiery Italian had to be admired. “I have no complaints. I’ve had a fantastic time and Anton, who is Erin’s usual partner, is a really nice person, as well as a great dancer, and it will be good if people get the chance to really see what he can do.
“As for Nancy, well she’s always fun – a bit like watching a driving lesson going wrong!
“But I’ll definitely miss it like mad and I’d just like to say a great big thank-you to all those folk in the Borders who supported us.”