Whittle makes it through to Strictly final

Whittle earned a standing ovation from the judges for his tango

Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle and dance partner Natalie Lowe earned the highest overall score on Saturday night's semi-final, landing them a spot in next week's final show.

Whittle and Lowe's Argentine Tango won a standing ovation from the judges with Alesha Dixon calling the dance "sexy, hot, passionate, intense".

Guest judge Darcey Bussell raved about Whittle's performance, saying, "and what was amazing for me was that I couldn't tell that you were not a professional dancer".

Actress Ali Bastian and partner Brian Fortuna earned the second highest score from the five judges but lost the public vote and were eliminated.

The BBC changed the format of the semi-final to remove the dance-off, leaving the decision down to the viewers' votes and judges' scores.

Whittle and Lowe received a combined score of 96 on Saturday. The pair will face BBC Breakfast TV presenter Chris Hollins and his dance partner Ola Jordan in next week's final where they will take the stage for four dances each.