Strictly Come Dancing

Image:Strictly come dancing logo.jpg



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

Alan Dedicoat (voiceover)

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


BBC1, 15 May 2004-

(also simulcast on BBC HD, 2006-)


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.

Lesley Garrett and professional dancer Anton Du Beke in action

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.

In series five, the bottom two after the phone vote go through to a "dance-off" with the judges deciding who should go. Whether effectively eliminating the chance of a shock result is good for the show is a bone of contention - as is the fact that the results show is now recorded and shown on Sunday night, which might not be quite so controversial were we not living in an internet age in which the result will inevitably be leaked before broadcast. Even if you avoid the spoilers on Sunday, it's still not quite the same "event television" it was when the whole nation found out the result live.

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 Laurie Holloway (series 1-3) and Dave Arch (thereafter) and their respective bands, 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

  • Mark Ramprakash (cricketer) and Karen Hardy (winners)
  • 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
  • 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

Series Five

  • Alesha Dixon (ex-Mis-Teeq singer) and Matthew Cutler (winners)
  • John Barnes (ex-footballer) and Nicole Cutler
  • Stephanie Beacham (actress) and Vincent Simone
  • Kelly Brook (model, actress and TV presenter) and Brendan Cole
  • Brian Capron (ex-Coronation Street actor) and Karen Hardy
  • Letitia Dean (actress) and Darren Bennett
  • Matt Di'Angelo (EastEnders actor) and Flavia Cacace
  • Kate Garraway (TV presenter) and Anton Du Beke
  • Gethin Jones (Blue Peter presenter) and Camilla Dallerup
  • Penny Lancaster-Stewart (model and photographer) and Ian Waite
  • Dominic Littlewood (TV presenter) and Lilia Kopylova
  • Gabby Logan (TV presenter) and James Jordan
  • Kenny Logan (ex-rugby international) and Ola Jordan
  • Willie Thorne (ex-snooker player) and Erin Boag

Series Six

  • Christine Bleakley (presenter) and Matthew Cutler
  • Andrew Castle (presenter) and Ola Jordan
  • Tom Chambers (actor)and Camilla Dallerup
  • Phil Daniels (actor) and Flavia Cacace
  • Mark Foster (olympic swimmer) and Hayley Holt
  • Jodie Kidd (model) and Ian Waite
  • Cherie Lunghi (actress) and James Jordan
  • Austin Healey (ex-rugby player) and Erin Boag
  • Gary Rhodes (chef) and Karen Hardy
  • John Sergeant (journalist) and Kristina Rihanoff
  • Heather Small (singer) and Brian Fortuna
  • Lisa Snowdon (model and presenter) and Brendan Cole
  • Rachel Stevens (singer) and Vincent Simone
  • Gillian Taylforth (actress) and Anton Du Beke
  • Jessie Wallace (actress) and Darren Bennett
  • Don Warrington (actor) and Lilia Kopylova


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

Christmas Special 2006: Another recorded show, aired on Christmas Day 2006 (and quite right too), featuring the final four celebs from the 2006 series plus the second and third-placed finalists from the 2005 series. Winners were named "Strictly Christmas Champions".

  • Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy
  • Matt Dawson and Lilia Kopylova
  • Emma Bunton and Darren Bennett
  • Louisa Lytton and Vincent Simone
  • Colin Jackson and Erin Boag - winners
  • Zoe Ball and Ian Waite


Format by BBC FED Team, based on Come Dancing devised by Eric Morley. From series five, his widow Julia Morley is also credited.


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 five times: by Jill Halfpenny and Darren Bennet for the jive in the series 2 final; Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova for the quickstep in the 2005 Christmas special; Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy for the salsa in the series 4 final; Colin Jackson and Erin Boag for the quickstep in the 2006 christmas special; and Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace for the waltz in the series 5 semi-final.

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. He also appeared on A Song for Europe in 1980 as part of the group Duke and the Aces. They came seventh.

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 since all the announcements are pre-recorded, he never even got to leave London). Local versions of the show appeared in the annual top ten TV ratings in 17 countries in 2006, more than any other format.


One of Bruce's regular catchphrases was amended to "nice to twirl you..." in series 1 and 2. He's now reverted to the usual "nice to see you...".

"Let's meet the stars of our show."

"You're my favourites." - From series 4, often said by Bruce after a couple - any couple - had recieved a mauling from the judges.

Bruce: "On behalf of Tess and everyone - and I do mean everyone..."
Bruce & Tess: "Keeeeeep dancin'!"


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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