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Shirley Ballas reveals she trained with Len Goodman as a teenager

The brand new Head Judge also said that Len always had "great things" to say about her dancing

Shirley Ballas
Published: Tuesday, 5th September 2017 at 12:01 am

Well pickle our walnuts. As if any further evidence were needed that Shirley Ballas is the right woman for the Head Judge job on Strictly Come Dancing, it’s got to be this.


In a new interview, Shirley has revealed that she trained in ballroom dancing with none other than Strictly legend Len Goodman, and that he even used to judge her dancing when she was a child.

Len Goodman

"I’ve known Len since I started in the dance industry many years ago and when I used to compete from about the age of 9 or 10 and he was one of the judges," Shirley said. "However, our paths properly crossed when I was about 15 or 16 when I actually trained with him as a dancer.

"We have remained friends and at any dinner party we were at together, he was the life and soul of the party,” she added, making us wish above all else we had been at said dinner parties.

“Len always had great things to say about my dancing and I’m a big fan of his sense of humour and his insight into ballroom dancing," she continued. "He played such an iconic role on Strictly and I know the viewers adored him!"

Taking up Len's paddle as Head Judge on the Strictly panel, it seems as though Shirley won’t be cutting the celebrities any slack.

She issued something of a warning for the 2017 celebrities and pro dancers as she took to the Strictly red carpet: “Pull your socks up and be ready”. Crikey.

“I will be quite strict,” she added. “To really impress me, the celebrity will have to have elements of technique, creativity and also the magic with your partner – chemistry,” she said.

Not much to ask then, eh?


Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC1 at 7pm on Saturday September 9.


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