John Whaite’s Abrupt Exit: Illness Forces Strictly Star to Step Down from Cinderella Pantomime Role

In an unexpected turn of events, beloved Strictly Come Dancing and The Great British Bake Off star John Whaite has had to withdraw from his role as the Fairy Godfather Dandini in the festive production of Cinderella at the Bradford Alhambra Theatre. The talented performer, known for his charisma on the dance floor and culinary skills, fell ill, leaving audiences and cast members alike surprised.

The Unexpected Change

On Thursday, December 28, theatergoers witnessed a last-minute change in the cast as Whaite’s understudy, William Elijah Lewis, took on the role of Dandini. Whaite took to his Instagram Stories to share a photo of Lewis in action, expressing his gratitude for the stand-in performer. According to Whaite, Lewis delivered a sensational performance, leaving audiences in awe.

Whaite’s Instagram Stories featured a heartfelt message

“This little superstar stood in for me today (I’m ill) and apparently he was sensational. Proud of you (and so bloody grateful for you) @williamelijahlewis.”

The Road to Recovery

While Whaite’s fans eagerly await his return to the stage, there is no official word on when he will be able to resume his role in Cinderella. The production, boasting stars like Emmerdale’s Samantha Giles, is scheduled to run until January 21, leaving room for optimism that Whaite may recover in time for the latter part of the show.

Whaite’s Recent Career Shift

This unexpected exit comes on the heels of Whaite’s decision to step back from television. In October, he announced his departure from Steph’s Packed Lunch, citing a personal desire to shift his focus towards business and creativity. Although he expressed gratitude for his television career, Whaite revealed that he had been contemplating leaving the industry even before the show’s cancellation.

In his own words, Whaite shared with fans, “I’ve had a great run, loved it, and I’ll do the odd bit here and there, but I need to focus my attention on business and my creativity, so that’s where I am.”


As fans rally behind John Whaite during his unexpected hiatus from the Cinderella pantomime, the performer’s resilience and talent remain evident. The theater community eagerly awaits his return to the stage, and in the meantime, Whaite’s admirers can relish the moments of his past performances, both on the dance floor and in the kitchen. For more updates on John Whaite‘s recovery and future projects, stay tuned.


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