Strictly Come Drooling: When will the judges get back to scoring Ben Cohen’s dancing not his body?

Shirt on or off, the panel seems far more eager to talk about Ben’s physique than his actual dance moves

Ashley Taylor Dawson revealed recently that fellow Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ben Cohen was told he couldn’t go topless due to complaints over too much flashing of the flesh. Dawson told the Metro “Ben was going to take his top off last week but he wasn’t allowed. There had been complaints about me having my top open. I don’t know what I was showing that was so bad… my bits? My boobies?”


BBC bosses have flatly denied any enforcement of a ‘no pecs’ rule, saying decisions about costumes are based on whether they’re appropriate for the dances themselves. One thing’s for sure, you certainly can’t accuse the Strictly judges of being prudish.

Top or no top, what struck me this week was the lack of any mention of Ben’s actual dance moves by the panel. Any technical lingo relating to he and his partner Kristina Rhianoff’s salsa was replaced with an outpouring of love (lust?) for his rugby-toned body.

Sir Bruce Forsyth did the warm up, comparing Ben to the chunky 50s automobile being used as a stage prop – “Funnily enough the car reminds me so much of Ben. He’s powerful, has a well upholstered seat and looks great with the top off.”

Watch Strictly Come Dancing live with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details

But then Brucie is a host, not one of the professionals paid to critique the celebrities’ dancing. 

Judge Craig Revel Horwood, known for spicing up the panel with his catty comments, skipped any mention of posture, ball changes and his hold position, to announce: “Dirty, oiled, mechanic – it’s ticking every box. I loved it.”

Every box on what list? The extras call for Top Gear?

Head judge Len Goodman, who’d probably been working on this one for a while, told Ben, “You’ve got the guns and tonight you’ve got the ammunition. That was terrific.”

Bruno Tonioli, already half way through taking his jacket off after Ben kissed Darcey Bussell, purred, “I want to see more of you.”

You’d think Ben had nailed it then – no need for any guidance, tips, or comments on how he can improve next time. Surely they should just hand over the glitter ball trophy and we’ll find something else to do with our Saturday nights? Yet, Ben and Kristina got scores of 7 out of 10 from Bruno and 8s from Craig, Darcy and Len. Still room for improvement, then.

Bruno did at least swing in a quick critique right at the end: “Seven – you were a bit off time.” What did the others do, deduct a point for each piece of clothing they wished he wasn’t wearing?

It’s not that I tune into Strictly hoping to brush up on my knowledge of different ballroom dances. I’m not looking to dust off my dancing shoes. And there’s certainly no question that Ben is a good-looking bloke with a fit physique. As a single twenty-something female, I see more flesh in one episode of Strictly than I do the rest of the year, so I’m not looking for top buttons to be done up.

But aren’t we looking for a little bit more than just drooling from the judges? 



Watch Strictly Come Dancing live with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details