Wednesday 21 March 2018

Australian dance judge should replace Strictly's Len Goodman, says Revel Horwood

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman is stepping down at the end of this year's competition (BBC/PA)
Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman is stepping down at the end of this year's competition (BBC/PA)

Strictly Come Dancing's Craig Revel Horwood said he is backing a judge from an Australian television series to be Len Goodman's replacement.

The sharp-tongued dancing expert said that whoever stepped into Goodman's position should be a "fresh face" and someone from the "Ballroom and Latin world".

Goodman announced he would be stepping down from the BBC One show this year, after leading the judging panel since the programme started 12 years ago.

Following his announcement, reports surfaced saying 71-year-old Helen Richey, an Australian-born Ballroom and Latin professional, was the favourite to join the panel.

Richey has been a judge on the Australian version of Dancing With The Stars, while Goodman has also sat on the judging panel of the American version of the show.

She lived in the United Kingdom for 27 years where she competed in Latin and Ballroom and is considered one of the top coaches and judges in her field.

Revel Horwood said a new face would "add clout" and, while he refused to be drawn out on a specific name, said: "I believe the Australian series (of Dancing With The Stars) has just finished. There is a wonderful woman on there that is available now, and who Len used to dance with, so I'd probably put her up for it."

The current series of Strictly has just seven celebrity couples remaining, with former shadow chancellor Ed Balls emerging as the people's favourite.

Revel Horwood said due to Balls's popularity with the British public, he could make the final of the show.

Asked if he had a problem with Balls winning, the 51-year-old dancer and cheoreographer said: "Well, no, because he is waving a flag for all the couch potatoes at home who sit on their bottoms doing nothing and he is promoting dance so I can only see that as a good thing.

"People at home will be watching him thinking 'I could probably do that' and that might encourage them to get off their backside and go and do a dance class.

"If he is the winner of Strictly I would expect him to be doing interviews waving the dance flag and to continue dancing and to see how far he can actually get."

Following the Blackpool showdown this weekend, another celebrity will be waltzing off the show.

Earlier in the week, speaking to Zoe Ball on It Takes Two, ex-Labour MP Balls dismissed claims that he would drop out of the competition.

Revel Horwood agreed, saying he did not feel Balls should quit.

He added: "The public can do what they like with their phone calls and their money. I'm not going to tell the public how to vote."

:: Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One at 7.15pm o n Sunday night.

Press Association

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