Strictly's Rev Richard Coles drops out of live tour because of Northamptonshire church duties

Credit: BBC.
Credit: BBC.

Northamptonshire's Reverend Richard Coles is said to be "gutted" after being forced to pull out of the Strictly live tour - because it would interfere with his church duties.

Reverend Coles became a viewer's favourite with his bizarre over-the-top moves with dance partner Dianne Buswell but the 55-year-old reverend was booted out of the show despite his Paso Doble to Flash Gordon on Saturday night.

Fans of the reverend were hoping to see him in action again when the Strictly Come Dancing Live UK tour takes to the road in January, however, it has now emerged Rev Coles will play no part in the 20-date tour. It is believed the church feared it would interfere with his parochial duties.

The ex-Communards pop star has confided with friends that he was "gutted" that he will miss out on the live shows.

A close friend, who has known Rev Coles for 12 years, said: "Richard came to see my parents and renewed their wedding vows. We chatted about Strictly and he said he was really enjoying it. He joked about having two left feet but hoped to carry on in the competition as far as he could.

"He said the only thing he was a bit gutted about was missing out on the Strictly Tour. Basically he said the Bishop of Peterborough had put the kibosh on it because the tour would interfere with his ministerial duties.

"He said the decision was out of his hands but I think he had been hoping he could have gone on it. It's even more disappointing now that he's out of the competition. He brought some real humour to the dancing and it's a shame for him and his fans that they won't see him perform again."

Rev Coles represents the parish of Finedon and leads Sunday services at St Mary's Church in the village.

Bishop of Peterborough, The Rt Reverend Donald Allister said: "Richard Coles sought and received goodwill for appearing on Strictly.

"His parish ministry is half-time and he has always fulfilled this commitment."

When asked why Rev Coles would not be taking part in the live tour, the bishop replied: "This is a matter for Richard's judgement. I trust him and will continue to support him."

The Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour is held on 20 dates around the UK, kicking off in Birmingham on New Year's Day and ends at The O2 Arena on February 11.