BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker has weighed in on the abuse his co-star Mike Bushell has been suffering from Strictly fans, calling accusations that he is being protected as a member of BBC staff “ridiculous”.
Some Strictly Come Dancing viewers have been getting frustrated at BBC sports reporter Bushell and his pro partner Katya Jones being saved by the show’s judges each time he lands in the bottom two, and this weekend saw them given another lifeline after their third week running in the dance off.
They knocked out Viscountess Emma Weymouth on Sunday, adding her to the list of Catherine Tyldesley and David James who have been ousted by the pair in the weekly results show.
Online trolling after each vote has been ramping up each week, with last week’s criticisms hurled at Bushell even including an apparent death threat.
"It's getting a bit cruel"@mrdanwalker has something to say about comments on social media after @mikebreakfast was saved by the judges on @bbcstrictly.#Strictly #MikeBushell #StrictlyComeDancing pic.twitter.com/ur52n2x9jI— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) November 4, 2019
After another Sunday evening of Twitter complaints, BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker said of his colleague: “I’m getting increasingly annoyed by people giving him grief.
“Some of it’s getting a bit cruel and all he’s doing is enjoying himself, trying really hard, all four of the judges said he was the better performer in the dance off than the Viscountess who went home.
“He’s not being kept in there because he’s working for the BBC, it’s a ridiculous accusation.”
Last week, Bushell and his wife Emily were forced to plead with angry Strictly fans to stop posting abuse about him online, saying that he wasn’t responsible for the judges’ decisions.
Wow the abuse! Painful. We’re beyond gutted Catherine and Johannes have left but Mike danced well and deserves his spot. As a viewer since the start I get opinion but this level of abuse is shocking. He’s just a contestant and giving his all. 😡@mikebreakfast— Emily Bushell (@emilybushell80) October 27, 2019
Thanks Caroline. I totally agree. I wldalways accept the decision of the judges and advice or when I play football the referee. The judges on @bbcstrictly are the best in the world and love the comments of the likes of @CraigRevHorwood @ShirleyBallas @MOTSI_MABUSE @BrunLabCaulo https://t.co/9cKGxLd122— Mike Bushell (@mikebreakfast) October 27, 2019
And Jones has also been affected by the trolling, telling The Sun on Sunday that she had quit social media because she was so sick of the comments.
She said: “I’m off social media; it’s not real.
“There’s no need for negatives. I just want to do my own thing.”
Although her Twitter profile is still available to view, Jones has not posted anything since October 14.