It was revealed hours before the latest episode that Harman had been forced to withdraw from the dancing competition due to an injury.
His decision was even more crushing considering the BBC series is due to finish in a fortnight.
The latest episode would have seen the remaining celebrities – EastEnders actor Bobby Brazier, ex-Coronation Street star Ellie Leach, former tennis player Annabel Croft and musical theatre performer Layton Williams – compete for a place in next week’s semi-final.
At the beginning of the show, hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman addressed Harman’s departure – and revealed what his exit means for this week’s results.
“As you can see we only have four couples,” Daly said, adding: “Unfortunately, Nigel has sustained an injury, which means he is uanble to perform on tonight’s show and has had to withdraw from the competition.”
She continued “We are as devastated as he is, but Nigel and Katya will be chatting to us later on in the show.
Winkleman confirmed there will be “no public vote tonight and no elimination this weekend”, stating: “But the judges will still be scoring, and those scores will be carried over.”
Since news of Harman’s exit surfaced, many sent messages of well-wishes to the Casualty and ex-EastEnders actor, acknowledging that it must have been a serious injury for him to quit outright at such a late stage in the competition.
Usually, in the past when other contestants have suffered injuries, they return the following week.
A spokesperson told The Independent of Harman’s departure: “Unfortunately Nigel has sustained an injury which means he is unable to perform in tonight’s show and has had to withdraw from Strictly.”
It seems the injury was sustained early Saturday afternoon as his professional dance partner Katya Jones posted an Instagram Story, showing a preview of tonight’s episode, at approximately 11am GMT.
The image included Harman’s name, and Jones captioned it: “Here we goooo!!”
Just one day earlier, on Friday (1 December), Harman described his fitness as “really quite good” in an interview with The Independent.
He said: “I’m quite tired but I feel like I’m feeling quite fresh in some ways. I know that’s a paradox. I’m quite a little bit proud of myself to be 50 still be leaping around out there, so that’s quite good.
A source told The Sun: “He and Katya were really disappointed as they were hoping to stay in the competition.
“They hadn’t been in the bottom two so had a real chance of making it to the finals. Nigel has been training really hard and really threw himself into rehearsals.”
Harman was one of the favourites to win this year’s series.
This week, he thanked the public for their “overwhelming” support after he was saved from the dreaded dance off despite being near the bottom of the leaderboard.
During Saturday’s quarter-final episode, the first perfect score of “40” was given as judge Craig Revel Horwood finally used his “10” paddle after a stern warning from Winkleman.
Strictly Comes Dancing returns to BBC one at 7.20pm on Sunday (3 December).