Dan Walker emotional as Strictly pro says he made her feel free for first time

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Dan Walker was left blinking away tears on Monday's instalment of Strictly Come Dancing spin-off It Takes Two, as his professional dance partner Nadiya Bychkova admitted he made her feel "free" for the first time.

The pair were eliminated from the BBC competition on Sunday evening after making it to the quarter-finals, following a tense dance-off with AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington.

But as they watched a highlights reel of their performances through the 10 weeks of the contest, Dan was left fighting tears – while Nadiya was also clearly emotional.

Dan told host Rylan on the show: "It does make me feel proud because watching a lot of those dances back, and watching it back in Claudia's area on the night, sometimes I'd look at it and think, 'That can't be me doing that'.

"I've genuinely avoided a dance floor my whole life because I've felt tall and uncomfortable and awkward, and Nadiya just opened all that up to me and said, 'Come with me, I can show you that you can enjoy it, you can smile and the world will smile with you as well'.

"And that's a proper game changer."

Rylan turned his attention to Nadiya, quizzing her: "Nadiya, I know how much you've loved being partnered with Dan this series. How has that been for you?"

Nadiya went on to admit: "It was very special to me. I loved teaching him but at the same time I learned so much from him."

Turning to her partner, she said: "You gave me the confidence in front of the camera, and you managed to create that environment for me where I felt safe. And I felt free to be myself for the first time.

"Your friendship gave me wings to fly again, thank you very much," she told Dan.

And clearly channelling the couple's emotions, Rylan clutched a hand to his chest as he said: "I think I'm gonna cry! My God, that was beautiful! Can we put them back in?!"

Dan told Nadiya: "Well, thank you for saying that. Dancing is one thing but friendship is important and it means a lot to both of us.

"And that is the ultimate compliment anyone could pay to me. If you could be a friend to someone and make them feel that they can be themselves on TV and you can turn me into something of a dancer on TV…

"I think we had a lovely impact on each other."

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  • BBC
  • Strictly Come Dancing

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