Strictly stats time: here’s the kindest – and cruellest – judge

No points for guessing the judge dishing out the lowest scores, but can you work out who has the highest average?

Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas - Strictly Come Dancing 2017 (BBC, TL)

Statistician and Strictly fan Elkie Symes of Wallington in Surrey has provided us with much fascinating analysis of the scoring over past series, and she’s now turning her attention to the Shirley Ballas era.


There is a common perception that Shirley’s scores are on the generous side — but do the numbers bear this out?

“Analysing the average scores across the current series, Shirley’s average does comes out top, at 7.06 — just above Bruno Tonioli (7.04) and Darcey Bussell (6.83),” says Elkie. “Unsurprisingly, the average score of Craig Revel Horwood is quite a bit lower — on average he has awarded this year’s contestants just 5.83.

“When it comes to brandishing a ‘perfect 10’ paddle, Shirley and Bruno come joint top of the league table — having each given nine 10s across this series. Darcey is next with six 10s, and Craig (up to Blackpool) has given just one 10 — for Debbie and Giovanni’s tango.


“When we look at the scores across all 15 series, Bruno and Darcey have consistently scored dancers a point higher, on average, than Craig. And while we only have one, incomplete series’ worth of data for Shirley, it would seem she’s following suit. But is Shirley Strictly’s most generous judge?

“Not so far! In fact, her current average score of 7.06 puts her right down the all-time judges’ league table at third from bottom.

“Len Goodman tops the table at 7.67, followed by Alesha Dixon at 7.65, and then Bruno and Darcey are joint third at 7.52. Shirley only just narrowly beats Arlene Phillips! “Shirley would have to score an average of 8.3 in the weeks after Blackpool in order to overtake Len and Alesha and become Strictly’s highest-scoring judge ever.”

NB Statistics are based on scores up to and including Saturday 18 November.


Strictly Come Dancing is on Saturday 7.05pm, Sun 7.20pm BBC1