Craig Revel Horwood: Strictly celebrities complain about being “manhandled” by the dancers

"Sometimes your hands can slip on someone’s boob and sometimes it’s going to go into their crotch," admits the judge


An energetic Strictly Come Dancing routine involves all sort of lifts, twirls and sophisticated maneouvres, but with a top-scoring dance comes all sorts of “manhandling”, according to judge Craig Revel Horwood – a feature of the show that often catches its celebrities by surprise. 


Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival he said, “As a dancer, you have to touch people – I guess that’s quite difficult and a lot of celebrities complain about it backstage the first time that they’re grabbed by someone and thrown back and thrown forward – it’s a shock because they’re not used to being manhandled.”

The Strictly panellist – who has worked as a dancer, choreographer and director during his 20-year career – went on to discuss in more detail the pitfalls of professional dancing that he claims have alarmed the famous newcomers…

“Sometimes your hands can slip on someone’s boob and sometimes it’s going to go into their crotch during a lift – that’s just normal – but of course dancers are so tactile. A hand slips in the most vile of places but you just get on with it and have a laugh. Dancers are very tactile and I think celebs do get really embarrassed.”

Revel Horwood went on to commend his past nemesis Ann Widdecombe for her open-minded approach to being lifted and spun about when the pair performed together during the annual Strictly Come Dancing tour. He even recalled a moment when Ann -– who he once labelled a “complete dance disaaaster” – took him aside and gave him tips on his technique. 

“There was one night she came off and said, ‘Craig, we need to have a word – I didn’t get enough rotation – do you think you could put a bit more welly into spinning me so I spin around?’ I thought, ‘Anne, you are giving me dance notes?’ I couldn’t believe it.”