'Hurting so much': Denise Van Outen is latest ailing Strictly contestant after getting whiplash… in most injury-ridden series yet
21:41 GMT, 12 October 2012
For stars running the gauntlet of reality shows to take part in, Strictly Come Dancing is traditionally viewed as a safer alternative to the more savage Dancing on Ice or I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
But this year the BBC1 show is proving unexpectedly dangerous for contestants and just two weeks in it is being the dubbed the most 'injury-ridden' series in the programme’s history.
Insiders admitted the introduction of new choreographers with tougher routines could be taking its toll on the stars.
Ouch! Denise Van Outen winces in pain as professional partner tends to her injured neck in training for the tango for Strictly Come Dancing
Three of the professionals and one of the celebrities have suffered injuries as a result of rehearsals and training for Strictly Come Dancing.
Denise Van Outen is the latest to be hurt on the show – she has whiplash from practising the jive with dance partner James Jordan.
The actress spent much of Friday wearing a neck brace and receiving treatment from a physio, but is still expect to perform on Saturday
The 38-year-old told fans on Twitter: ‘On my way to BBC. I can’t move my neck, hurting so much. Ouch.'
I thought Strictly was supposed to be fun! Denise holds a water bottle to her sore neck
Professor Matthew Wyon, an expert in science and dance at Wolverhampton University, said the problem was that many of the routines required the woman to keep the 'upper body and head poised slightly to back' and that amateur dancers had not built up the muscles to support this.
He explained: ‘While dancing, some female dancers are unable to maintain this position, which causes them to have a hyperextension neck injury. This is especially true in dances where the dancers are moving quickly, such as the Jive.
‘This type of injury is more prevalent in amateur dancers as they have not developed the strength and muscular endurance in these small neck muscles.
This isn't going to work: The couple aren't sure whether Denise will be able to go through with the tango on Saturday night
‘These muscles are not used to being in this position for prolonged periods and are therefore prone to fatigue and eventually “give way” leading to the injury suffered by Denise Van Outen.’
Jordan is already injured – he has a broken nose and a cut on his face after rehearsing with wife Ola, also a dancer on the show, before the launch show.
She accidentally hit his nose while they practised a lift in one of their routines for the first live programme.
Fellow professional dancer Artem Chigvintsev was also hurt on Friday when he was hit in the face by fellow professional Flavia Cacace’s elbow.
He suffered a bruised cheek and an injury to his neck – again as a result of a lifting move in their performance.
Helping hand: James tries to massage Denise's shoulders
Last month, dancer Aliona Vilani, had to take a break from the competition before it had even started.
suffered a hairline fracture to her ankle during rehearsals with
presenter Johnny Ball and may be out of the show for a month.
He has temporarily been paired with Iveta Lukosiute from US show So You Think You Can Dance
show insider explained: ‘The introduction of new choreographers and
more challenging numbers could be to blame. The dancers love being
challenged, but it’s taking a bit of an injury toll.’
Show favourites, former Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley and Olympic gymnast Louis Smith, have so far escaped serious injury.
Stand-in: Lithuanian dancer Iveta Lukosiute (left) is dancing with Johnny Ball while his partner Aliona Vilani (right) is recovering
The pair stole the show last week and helped pull in a peak audience of 10.2million, up by more than one million on the last series, and an average of 8.7million.
Miss Riley entertained with an energetic performance and surprise ending in which she lifted her partner Robin Windsor, and the couple topped the leader board with 30 points last week.
The actress appeared to still be enjoying rehearsals admitting she had painful corns on her feet.
Smith proved the heartthrob of the series with many joking that new judge Darcey Bussell could not take her eyes of his physique.
Both stars have been such a hit that bookmakers have slashed odds with Smith now favourite at 9/4 and Miss Riley cut from 50/1 to 20/1.
It is expected that either Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton or former supermodel Jerry Hall will leave the competition this week.