Laura gets ready to brave through the pain as she returns to Strictly

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Laura Whitmore is facing a "painful" experience as she returns to the competition on Saturday following an ankle injury.

The television presenter, 31, made a last minute decision to sit out of the show last weekend as the damage caused by rigorous dance training left her unable to walk.

Speaking to Zoe Ball on Strictly's spin-off chat show It Takes Two on Wednesday, she said: "It's very painful, it's going to be painful on Saturday, but it's not going to do any damage."

Laura knows how to put on a brave face with Giovanni.
Laura knows how to put on a brave face with Giovanni (Rick Findler/PA)

She added that she and her partner Giovanni Pernice had "only just" started training for this weekend's Halloween-themed round of the competition, where they will be dancing a tango dressed as Mr and Mrs Death to Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones.

She told Zoe: "I'm trying to think positive and the tango is quite stern-faced, so I can use the emotions and work it to my advantage."

Laura also revealed that she was "devastated" at having to miss last week's competition, as a friend of hers had come all the way from Ireland to sit in the audience and watch her.

Giovanni told Zoe how Laura had been on the programme set last Saturday and wanted to go on stage, until he pointed out to her: "You can't walk."

Brendan is back!
Brendan is back! (Ian West/PA)

Professional dancer Brendan Cole is also making a comeback this weekend after missing last week's show due to illness.

He and his partner Anastacia will be performing a jive to Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf.

After watching all the contestants in training for the next round of the competition, dancer Ian Waite predicted that Louise Redknapp will be the judges' favourite.

Face looks pretty engaged...
Face looks pretty engaged... (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Commenting on her charleston - which she will be dancing with partner Kevin Clifton to Emeli Sande's version of Crazy In Love - he said: "She comes from a bit of a hip-hop background and it suits that charleston.

"It's the first time we've really seen her engaged in her face.

"I think it's going to be their best dance and we could see them at the top of the leaderboard. Just putting myself out there."

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