Strictly Come Dancing



Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly, Natasha Kaplinsky (stand-in for first half of series 2, also series 1 winner)

BBC3 coverage: Justin Lee Collins (series 1)

Strictly Come Dancing It Takes Two (BBC 2): Claudia Winkleman (series 2 onwards)


Judges: Arlene Phillips, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Len Goodman

Alan Dedicoat (voiceover)

Phillip Jackson ('red button' commentary, series 4)


BBC1, 2004-


A bunch of non-dancing celebs attempt to learn a series of dances, perform them on a live Saturday night show, get insulted by a panel of judges, and face a public phone vote to decide who gets booted off each week. And all to raise money for Comic Relief / Children In Need / Telethon '89. Fairly bog-standard reality series mechanics then, but they certainly put on quite a show.

Renowned song-and-dance man Bruce Forsyth is our host, though he doesn't get to do much dancing, which seems a bit of a waste. Each celeb has been paired up with a professional dancer, and we get to see clips of them in rehearsal before they take to the floor to perform. After a minute and a half of dancing, their performance is appraised by four judges - the nasty one, the camp one, the old one and the Hot Gossip one - then they go off into the backroom (the transition covered by Brucie telling a joke that invariably falls flat) to be grilled by Glamorous Lady Co-Presenter and watch as the judges reveal their marks out of ten. Repeat until all the couples have danced.

The judges' marks count for 50% of the final score, and the public phone vote for (calculators out, chaps) the other 50%. In theory this should reduce the influence of the sympathy vote and help to keep the better dancers in the competition for longer, though it doesn't entirely work that way.

Even though it borrows a lot from other shows, Strictly Come Dancing does manage to come out feeling like something a little bit different for a Saturday night. It's a very visual spectacle, which instantly makes it stand out from all the purely musical entertainments that both BBC and ITV have thrown at us in recent years. There's a huge sense of fun and exuberance too, which even Bruce's strained jokes cannot quell. Credit must also be given to the Laurie Holloway Orchestra, who perform all the music live and, even more than the hosts, set the tone for the show. All in all, a surprising triumph for the BBC.


Series One

  • Natasha Kaplinsky (presenter) and Brendan Cole (winners)
  • Christopher Parker (actor) and Hanna Karttunen
  • Lesley Garrett (singer) and Anton Du Beke
  • Martin Offiah (rugby player) and Erin Boag
  • Claire Sweeney (actress and presenter) and John Byrnes
  • Verona Joseph (actress) and Paul Killick
  • David Dickinson (antiques expert) and Camilla Dallerup
  • Jason Wood (comedian) and Kylie Jones

Series Two

  • Jill Halfpenny (actress) and Darren Bennett (winners)
  • Denise Lewis (athlete) and Ian Waite
  • Julian Clary (comedian) and Erin Boag
  • Aled Jones (singer and presenter) and Lilia Kopylova
  • Roger Black (athlete) and Camilla Dallerup
  • Sarah Manners (actress) and Brendan Cole
  • Diarmuid Gavin (garden designer) and Nicole Cutler
  • Esther Rantzen (presenter) and Anton Du Beke
  • Carol Vorderman (presenter) and Paul Killick
  • Quentin Willson (motoring journalist/presenter) and Hazel Newberry

Series Three

  • Darren Gough (cricketer) and Lilia Kopylova (winners)
  • Colin Jackson (former athlete) and Erin Boag
  • Zoe Ball (presenter) and Ian Waite
  • James Martin (TV chef) and Camilla Dallerup
  • Patsy Palmer (actress) and Anton Du Beke
  • Bill Turnbull (TV journalist) and Karen Hardy
  • Dennis Taylor (snooker player/commentator) and Izabella Hannah
  • Will Thorp (actor) and Hanna Haarala
  • Gloria Hunniford (presenter) and Darren Bennett
  • Fiona Phillips (presenter) and Brendan Cole
  • Jaye Jacobs (actress) and Andrew Cuerden
  • Siobhan Hayes (actress) and Matthew Cutler

Series Four

  • Emma Bunton (singer) and Darren Bennett
  • Georgina Bouzova (actress) and James Jordan
  • Matt Dawson (rugby player) and Lilia Kopylova
  • Ray Fearon (actor) and Camilla Dallerup
  • Claire King (actress) and Brendan Cole
  • Louisa Lytton (actress) and Vincent Simone
  • Nicholas Owen (newsreader) and Nicole Cutler
  • Mica Paris (singer) and Ian Waite
  • Mark Ramprakash (cricketer) and Karen Hardy
  • Jan Ravens (impressionist) and Anton Du Beke
  • Peter Schmeichel (footballer) and Erin Boag
  • Carol Smillie (television presenter) and Matthew Cutler
  • Spoony (disk jockey) and Ola Jordan
  • Jimmy Tarbuck (entertainer) and Flavia Cacace


Champion of Champions 2004: Natasha Kaplinsky, Lesley Garrett, Martin Offiah, Jill Halfpenny, Denise Lewis and Aled Jones were reunited with their previous partners for this live special broadcast on 22 December 2004. The usual judges presided. Winners were Jill Halfpenny and Darren Bennett.

Strictly Ice Dancing: A one-off ice-dance version broadcast on 26 December 2004. Laurie Holloway's band was not present, and since the show was recorded, the studio audience rather than the public got to vote for 50% of the score. The judges were Craig Revel Horwood, Doreen Hoppe, Chris Howarth and Nicky Slater. The couples were:

  • Rowland Rivron (TV presenter) and Charlotte Clements
  • Carol Smilie (TV presenter) and Oula Jaaskelainen
  • Marcus Patric (actor) and Leigh Mack
  • Scarlett Johnson (actress) and Daniel Whiston
  • Jessica Taylor (singer) and Robert Burgerman
  • David Seaman (former footballer) and Zoia Birmingham

The winner was David Seaman, who had been brought in as a late replacement for the injured Paul Gascoigne.

Strictly African Dancing

Image:Strictly african dancing cast.jpg Yes, they do dress like that at home.

Another one-off, this one for the Africa Lives on the BBC season. Hosted by Martin Offiah and Natasha Kaplinsky, six celebrities "of African or Caribbean origin" each learnt an African dance and then went through the usual performance-and-voting procedure. The celebs were:

  • Robbie Earle (ex-footballer) - winner
  • Tessa Sanderson (athlete)
  • Tupele Dorgu (Coronation Street actress)
  • Antonia Okonma (Bad Girls actress)
  • Tunde Baiyewu (singer with The Lighthouse Family)
  • Louis Emerick (actor)

The judges were Stacey Haynes, Peter Badejo, Todd Twala and Craig Revel-Horwood. Hugh Quarshie replaced Alan Dedicoat on voiceover duties.

Champion of Champions 2005: A recorded show, aired on Christmas Eve 2005, which featured the last four from 2005 series, together with two celebrities from the US version, Dancing With the Stars. The partnerships were:

  • Rachel Hunter (supermodel) and Darren Cole
  • Evander Holyfield (boxer) and Karen Hardy
  • Zoe Ball and Ian Waite
  • Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova - winners
  • Colin Jackson and Erin Boag
  • James Martin and Camilla Dallerup


Based on Come Dancing devised by Eric Morley.


The worst ever judges' score was 8 (out of 40), achieved by Quentin Willson and Hazel Newberry for the cha cha cha on their one and only competitive appearance. A perfect 40 has been achieved twice, by Jill Halfpenny and Darren Bennet for their jive in the series 2 final, and then by Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova in the 2005 Christmas special.

Judge Bruno Tonioli was once a backing dancer and choreographer for Bananarama, as well as Wham!, Elton John (he's in the I'm Still Standing video) and Paul McCartney, among many others.

The "Strictly" bit in the title is a reference to the 1992 film Strictly Ballroom.

The Strictly Come Dancing format has been widely exported under the title Dancing With The Stars, and the US and Australian versions have both topped their countries' TV ratings charts. Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli appeared as judges on the US version, for which Alan Dedicoat also did the voiceover (though Deadly did his bit by satellite from London).


Strictly Come Dancing (CD)

It's Strictly Dancing with Natasha & Brendan (VHS) | (all-region DVD)

Strictly Come Dancing - hardback book (2005) and revised 2006 edition

Sadly the Anton Du Beke mug and flask are no longer available.


Image:Strictly come dancing series 1 cast.jpg

The assembled cast of series one.
File:Strictly come dancing judges.jpg

Judges with a high opinion... of themselves.

(left to right): Bruno Tonioli, Arlene Phillips, Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood.
On the actual show, Craig sits on the left, Bruno on the right.

Web links

Official BBC site

Strictly Dancing Online - excellent fan site

Ian & Victoria's Come Dancing Page - another good fan site

Wikipedia entry

Bother's Bar Review

Homepages for dancers featured on the show:
Anton Du Beke & Erin Boag
Camilla Dallerup

Darren Bennett & Lilia Kopylova
Hazel Newberry (site requires Flash)
Nicole Cutler

See also

Come Dancing

Strictly Dance Fever


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