Is Australian dance judge Helen Richey in the mix to replace Strictly’s Len Goodman?

Reports suggest the long-running Dancing with the Stars judge has impressed BBC bosses in the past

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Judge Len Goodman will wave goodbye to Strictly Come Dancing at the end of this year and there’s a new name in the mix for his replacement: Helen Richey. 

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Richey has been a judge on Australia’s Dancing with the Stars for all of its fifteen series. She boasts a huge amount of dancing experience, as well as coaching and judging professional tournaments. In fact, many of the DWTS pros are said to have been at least partly coached by Richey. 

For seven consecutive years Richey was a Grand Finalist in the British Professional Championship and for more than ten years she represented Australia in the World Championships, competing in both the Ballroom and Latin styles. 

Plenty of the ‘new judge’ talk has circulated around pro dancers Anton Du Beke and Brendan Cole. But BBC bosses are said to have been impressed by Richey before. 

“Helen is known across the dancing world and highly respected,” a source told the Sun. “She’s been a judge in Australia for 12 years so is used to the cameras and has a similar calm temperament to Len.

“I know that BBC chiefs were impressed by her when she fronted out and dismissed cheat claims when they erupted on that show,” the source added. 

If the rest of the current line-up – Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Darcey Bussell – were to return, Richey’s appointment would mean the first Strictly line-up ever to boast two women (discounting guest judge spots). 

As we previously reported, it’s unlikely the new judge would come into the show as ‘Head Judge’ like Goodman himself. Instead it is thought one of the others will get promoted, or bosses are said to be circling a ‘deadlock’ vote system like rival show The X Factor, which would eliminate the need for a head judge, with the final decision given back to the voting public. 

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But Strictly bosses are staying light-lipped on Len’s replacement: 

“Conversations for the 2017 series of Strictly haven’t begun yet so it’s far too early to speculate about Len’s replacement. We are focusing on making his last series the best yet.”

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Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC1 later this year