COLNE actress Natalie Gumede danced through her painful back injury to be rewarded with joint first place on Saturday night’s Strictly Come Dancing.

After all the couple’s danced she shared the top of the chart with Abbey Clancy and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, after scoring 35 out of a possible 40.

Former Park High School pupil Natalie wowed the judges with her performance after suffering from a compressed disc and sciatica, which left her with chronic back pain all week and left her appearance in the show in doubt.

The former Coronation Street star danced the quickstep to Usher's Yeah! after only having a couple of days to practise.

Judge Bruno Tonioli said: “I can't believe that you delivered a dance of this standard in such short time. You captured the spirit of the dance so well. I thought it was absolutely wonderful."

The weekend however wasn’t so successful for another couple, with fashion designer Julian Macdonald voted out after failing to gain the judges’ support.


NATALIE'S no stranger to drama, and at the end of a tense week with injury fears she still shone with her jazzy, theatrical quickstep. There was a huge amount of ‘dance’ content including moments of tap and jazz, but not enough ‘in hold’ for the ballroom purists. With so much technical work, and a reduced rehearsal schedule, there were moments of slightly sloppy footwork - given the high standards we're used to. I felt the judges were a touch over-generous, but not just for Natalie. Darcey was right, a slightly simpler routine with a more polished finish would still have impressed.

Telegraph arts reporter Anna Mansell