Strictly star Ricky Whittle nets lowest score of series after missing rehearsals due to earlier 'assault' arrest

Strictly Come Dancing star Ricky Whittle tonight appeared on the show despite his earlier arrest on suspicion of assault.

The favourite, 29, had left BBC bosses panicking as he spent ten hours in police custody on a day of vital rehearsals for tonight's show.

However he and partner Natalie Lowe were first up to dance and the judges scored them 31 - disappointingly the couple's lowest score of the series.

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Ricky Whittle and his dance partner Natalie Lowe netted their lowest score, with 31, after failing to wow the judges

Arrested: Ricky Whittle last night, before the incident
Carley Stenson

Arrested: Ricky Whittle attended a Hollyoaks party along with ex girlfriend Carly Stenson on Thursday night prior to the incident

BBC bosses were on edge before the show not only because of Whittle's arrest, but also as fellow contestant Ali Bastian, 26, has missed several rehearsals due to a foot injury, meaning she and Whittle.

Of the five remaining celebrities, just Natalie Cassidy and Chris Hollins have been able to rehearse properly all week.

Whittle had been out in Liverpool at a leaving party for a colleague on Channel 4's Hollyoaks when he allegedly struck a man with his car.

He handed himself in to police early the next morning. Yesterday evening a Merseyside Police spokesman confirmed that he had been 'bailed pending further inquiries'.

A BBC spokesman confirmed that he would perform tonight.

Agony: Ali Bastian is helped by her partner Brian Fortuna

Agony: Ali Bastian is helped by her partner Brian Fortuna

Whittle is likely to have to wait for weeks to hear whether he will be charged.

He was leaving Thursday's party at the Parr Street Studios with his exgirlfriend and fellow Hollyoaks actress Carley Stenson, 27.

The pair encountered a scrum of photographers as they left in Whittle's red Dodge Ram pick-up truck.

He is then alleged to have struck a 34-year-old freelance photographer named Steve Farrel, who suffered minor injuries. 

Farrel was previously involved in an incident with footballer Paul Gascoigne in 2005. He later dropped assault charges against the former England star.

Ali Bastian
Ali Bastian

Foot fault: The tumble in rehearsals that left Ali Bastian with a sprained ankle

It is understood Whittle went to a police station voluntarily at 5.30am yesterday, where he was arrested.

If either Whittle or Miss Bastian cannot perform tonight, it is expected the BBC would have to waive a vote. There are only three weeks left until the December 20 final.

The show has had a difficult few weeks, with Olympic athlete Jade Johnson having to pull out after injuring her knee.

Miss Bastian was diagnosed with severe bruising on her right foot after injuring herself during a rehearsal of the Charleston with partner Brian Fortuna on Monday. She has been seen hobbling around on crutches in West London, her face etched with pain.

Hollyoaks stars Carley Stenson and Ricky Whittle out shopping in Liverpool August 2006

Ricky's wheels: Whittle, pictured in August 2006, was driving his Dodge Ram pick-up truck, which he has nicknamed 'The General', during the alleged incident

Doctors have agreed she can perform but have warned her to rest her foot as much as possible. The Bill actress was able to begin rehearsing properly only yesterday. Fortuna admitted he was worried that the pair were behind and said the Charleston was a difficult dance to perform with an injury.

'It couldn't be a worst case scenario because the Charleston is constantly bouncing up and down on the balls of the feet,' he said.

Miss Bastian and Fortuna have been given 9/5 odds by Ladbrokes to win the show, behind Whittle and Natalie Lowe at 8/11.

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