Robin Windsor was a Strictly Come Dancing pro for five years, reaching the semi-final with celebrity partner Lisa Riley. He has recently starred in stage show Keep Dancing alongside former Strictly dancer Anya Garnis. We caught up with him ahead of this year’s Final…
Have you been watching this year’s series of Strictly?
I’ve watched as much as I can because I’ve been on tour with my dance show. We have a show on a Saturday night at the same time [Robin stars in Keep Dancing], so I’m running back to my dressing room in between numbers just so I can catch the odd thing! But I was very lucky to be able to go – I had a Saturday off so I actually went down to the studio in Elstree and got to catch up with everyone which was brilliant.
Do you think the right people are in the final?
I do and I don’t. It’s a tough one because I obviously cast my mind back to last Saturday, it must have been a very tough one for the judges because everyone has a different opinion and they’re looking for different things. If I was in their position I probably would have put Claudia through because I felt she did a better dance. But at the end of the day, I think all four of them deserved to be in the final and it’s such a shame that it’s not a four-couple final because that would have been the four-couple final.
James Jordan has accused the Strictly judges of over-marking and unfair scores – do you think he’s out of order?
Everybody’s got an opinion on something. The score is one person’s opinion and your bottom dollar is that everybody across the country has got a different opinion of what that score should be. And sometimes I agree with the judges and sometimes I don’t agree with the judges, so it’s like that for every single person that’s watching the show on a Saturday night.
Danny Mac and Claudia Fragapane in last week’s dance off
Will you be sad to see Len depart the show this Christmas after 14 series as head judge?
Len is part of the Strictly furniture. He is an ex-world champion, he is funny, he is witty, he’s also a grumpy old git who we absolutely adore, and it’s going to be like when Bruce Forsyth left. There was a big hole left there, and whoever replaces Len – not that he’s actually replaceable – is going to have some big shoes to fill, and I think they need to bring somebody in that’s going to create a brand new dynamic across the judging panel.
Who do you think should replace him?
It’s a tough one. My first instinct would always go straight to Anton for some reason. But I’ve got a funny feeling that they will bring in somebody that’s not part of the show yet just to create that new dynamic between everybody.
Where does the funny feeling come from?
I think I’m saying as if it was me. If it was me picking a new judge I think I’d pick somebody completely out of it, somebody like Len who’s an ex-world champion who knows exactly what they’re talking about and can come in and take control, especially of Craig and Bruno on the end – they always need somebody that’s going to be a bit strong minded that can tell them off every so often.
Who were you rooting for this year?
I’ve got to say, first of all I loved Ed Balls. Week after week he came out and he did what Strictly is all about – he entertained the public. And I couldn’t wait to see what he did each week. But my favourite along the way was Judge Rinder, I felt that he is what Strictly is about – he didn’t really dance, he got better, he learnt, he embraced everything that Strictly is about. And you could see the pure enjoyment on his face every time he set foot on the floor and that’s one of the things that I loved to watch. I don’t necessarily always think that the best dancer should win, I think sometimes it should be the person who’s improved the most, and really gone on that clichéd ‘journey’ word that we all use.
Ed Balls and Katya Jones dance the Gangnam Style
Would you have liked to see Ed Balls reach the final?
Do you know what, I think everybody deep down, I think there was something, like – ‘oh he’s going to reach the final and it’s going to be a big upset for everybody!’ But I actually think he went at the right time. A couple of people had gone out earlier that were better but as far as entertainment went, he created some of the best TV moments this year that there have ever been. That Gangnam Style (above) was something that will go down in history.
Will you be watching Saturday’s final?
I will be sat with my takeaway in front of the TV on Saturday night watching that final and I’m rooting for Jo [Clifton] and Ore [Oduba]. Although I hope he doesn’t win because he cries every week and if he wins he’s going to flood the studio, I can tell you.
Isn’t it nice to see a man expressing his emotions?
Do you know what, when you work really hard and you work such long hours, and you go out and do a good job, and you get great marks for it, you feel very emotional. And to be able to hold it in is really tough. And I think that he can express his emotions and I think that that’s a wonderful quality to have.
The Strictly Come Dancing final starts on Saturday at 6:40pm on BBC1
This Christmas Robin Windsor is supporting Cats Protection (bid on their Celebrity Paws auction here) and WWF People’s Post Code Lottery Earth Hour Heroes (you can nominate anyone who goes the extra mile to help the environment here)