Thursday 18 January 2018

Strictly Come Dancing creator was paid just £4,000 for hit BBC show idea

Caroline Flack won the glitterball trophy on the show last year
Caroline Flack won the glitterball trophy on the show last year
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

The woman who came up hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing was reportedly paid just £4,000 for the idea in 2003.

Despite the show becoming more commercially successful than Top Gear and being licensed to 53 territories, Fenia Vardanis received her bonus, chocolates and a bottle of champers for her creativity.

Vardanis (52) was a middle ranking exec at the Beeb at the time and told the Sunday Times that she came up with the at first unpopular idea during a regular commissioning meeting.

“I suddenly said, wouldn’t it be funny if we did Celebrity Come Dancing. I came up with the title, suggested Bruce [Forsyth] and the judges.”

She added, “In those days there were annual staff bonuses and I didn’t get anything extraordinary.  I got a staff bonus which I probably would have got anyway.

However, she said she was perfectly happy with what she received.

“The only thing I got was a bottle of Champagne from BBC Worldwide. I also got a box of chocolates which spelt the words Strictly Fantastic and I’m not saying this in a bitter or twisted way at all. The champers and the chocolates were very nice,” she said.

Initially the idea didn't go down too well, however.

“At the time, I promise you, everybody thought it would be a horrendous flop so it was a risk – I mean ballroom dancing on a Saturday night?”

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