Len Goodman insists hit TV show is Strictly not fixed
Len Goodman has hit out at gossip that Strictly Come Dancing is fixed, saying it has unfairly called into questioned the integrity of the popular show.
The ballroom dance expert, who has been involved in the show since it began, said he has been saddened by "chatter" that it is not fairly judged.
Writing in the Sunday Mirror, Goodman said he wanted to stand up for a programme "that brings joy to so many millions of people".
"B elieve me when I say the show is without question fair, honest and without agenda. My fellow judges and I have been accused of deliberately over and under marking some people - nonsense," he wrote.
Ola Jordan, a former professional dancer on the show, appeared in a previous newspaper interview to make claims there may have been over-marking when it came to the panel's judgment.
She and her celebrity dance partner f ormer sprinter Iwan Thomas were eliminated in the first week of the latest series.
Goodman, who appears as a judge each week alongside Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood, refuted any suggestions they were influenced by producers on the show, or that they had inside information about the way the audience votes.
He said he had spoken out in an attempt to end the speculation.
"I do hope that this draws a line under the gossip and insinuation unfairly levelled at the show.
"I don't believe it is what Strictly's fans are interested in but I am confident that the show can and will always rise above such gossip."
Contestant Peter Andre added his voice to the defence of the show, saying: "I think it's a load of rubbish to say the show is fixed."