Exclusive: Len Goodman voted best ever Strictly Come Dancing judge

Len Goodman is still a fan favourite among Strictly viewers

Len Goodman

It’s a TEN for Len Goodman who is officially the best Strictly Come Dancing judge ever.

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Despite quitting the BBC ballroom show three years ago, Goodman, 75, fought off competition from current judges Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas, as well as former stars Darcey Bussell, Arlene Phillips and Alesha Dixon to take the title. 

Goodman, who currently judges US competition Dancing with the Stars, won with 38 per cent of the vote after more than 4,000 people voted globally in a Radiotimes.com poll.

Former ballerina Bussell, who has this year been replaced by Motsi Mabuse, took second place with 17 per cent, while the ever-flamboyant Tonioli rounded off the top three with 15 per cent.

Len Goodman and the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel
Len Goodman and the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel (BBC)

“I’m so flattered and shocked,” Goodman told RadioTimes.com. “Usually I’m popular with old people and old people don’t usually do polls.

“I always tried on the show to be entertaining so where I could I tried to put some humour into it. I never liked Craig’s way – he goes totally for the negative. If I was going to be negative I would try and put a bit of positive with it. I’m honoured. It’s a terrific concept and a wonderful show.”

Goodman made up the original line-up with Tonioli, Revel Horwood and Phillips when the show launched in 2004. He quit in 2016 after 12 years as head judge, and was replaced by Ballas.

He described Strictly as his “first love” and compared watching Ballas take over the reins to going through a break up. 

“It was like having a girlfriend and you split up and it’s quite amiable but suddenly you see the girl with some other bloke and you think ‘she was my girl’,” he said.

“My wife watches it and keeps me posted and I watch when I’m back home. It’s a terrific show.”

Strictly ranking as voted for by RadioTimes.com readers: 

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  1. Len Goodman
  2. Darcey Bussell
  3. Bruno Tonioli
  4. Craig Revel Horwood
  5. Arlene Phillips
  6. Alesha Dixon
  7. Shirley Ballas