Strictly Come Dancing's Nina Wadia Details How Early Exit Affected Her Mental Health

Nina and partner Neil Jones were the first of this year's Strictly couples to be eliminated from the show.
Nina Wadia and Neil Jones
Nina Wadia and Neil Jones

Nina Wadia has spoken out about how her early elimination from this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing took its toll on her mental health.

Earlier in the series, Nina and her professional partner Neil Jones became the first pairing to be shown the door, after failing to impress the judges with their dance-off performance.

Speaking to the podcast Lads, Dads And A Couple Of Beers, the former EastEnders star – who won praise for her week one routine, but didn’t manage to get similar critiques the following week – admitted her exit came as a “big shock”.

“I wasn’t expecting it to happen the way it happened, and it happened very quickly,” she explained. “It was all very surreal for me, and when I came out I was very down.

“My mental health, I’ve got to tell... I was down. That was from a lot of different feelings.”

Neil and Nina performing their Tango routine
Neil and Nina performing their Tango routine
BBC / Guy Levy

Nina continued: “There was a feeling of embarrassment coming out as early as I did, there was a feeling of, ‘did I let people down, did I let myself down?’. All these questions going on in my head.

“And then [fans’] reactions... [saying], ‘well no... you shouldn’t have come out, you were robbed’, and I’m like, ‘I needed that!’. I needed that kind of... almost validation, to think I wasn’t going crazy. I didn’t think I was that bad!”

She added: “Then you realise, ‘OK hang on, I need to separate a reality show from what is actually real life’. Reality shows are so the opposite of reality.”

Nina was the first celebrity to be eliminated from Strictly this year
Nina was the first celebrity to be eliminated from Strictly this year
Ray Burmiston/BBC

Last month, Nina admitted she was less than impressed with the judges’ scoring during her time on Strictly, saying: “I don’t understand the marking system at all. I don’t think the marking system makes any sense.

“I thought, ‘OK, this is only week two, you know, you make a little mistake, you’re only human’. The way it was marked down, it was shocking, actually shocking.”

Nine couples remain left in this year’s series of Strictly, with the dances for this week’s performances announced by the BBC on Tuesday.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday night at 6.45pm on BBC One.

Help and support:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
  • CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on

What's Hot