Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman dies


Len Goodman, who was head judge on Strictly Come Dancing for over a decade, has died just days before his 79th birthday, his agent has confirmed.

His agent, Jackie Gill told Sky News the dancer and choreographer died on Saturday night at a hospice in Kent, surrounded by his family. He had been diagnosed with bone cancer.

File photo dated 01/09/2015 of Len Goodman (right) and Craig Revel Horwood during the launch show for Strictly Come Dancing at BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, White City. Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman has died aged 78, his agent has said. Issue date: Monday April 24, 2023.
Goodman (R) and Craig Revel Horwood in 2015

In a statement, she said: “It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78.

“A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”

Known for his warm humour and passion for Latin and Ballroom, Goodman was head judge on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing from its launch in 2004 to 2016.

His score call of “se-ven!” became his catchphrase, cementing his popularity with Strictly fans.

His final appearance was on the 2016 Christmas Day special, after which he was replaced as head judge by Shirley Ballas.

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He also appeared on the American version of the show, Dancing With The Stars, from 2005 until his departure last year.

He said at the time that he wanted to “spend more time with my grandchildren and family” back in the UK.

NOVEMBER 14th 2022: Len Goodman, age 78, announces his retirement from "Dancing With The Stars" after 17 years as a celebrity judge. - File Photo by: zz/Stephen Trupp/STAR MAX/IPx 2006 5/16/06 Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman - judges on "Dancing With The Stars" - at the 2006 ABC Television Network Upfront held on May 16, 2006 at Lincoln Center in New York City. (NYC)
Goodman (R) with Dancing With The Stars judges Bruno Tonioli (L) and Carrie Ann Inaba (C) in 2006

Paying tribute, Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood described Goodman as a “gorgeous colleague and dear friend”.

Revel Horwood tweeted: “I’ve just woken up to the sad news that my gorgeous colleague and dear friend Len Goodman has passed away.

“My heart and love go out to his lovely Sue and family.

“Len Goody Goodman is what I always called him and ‘It’s a ten from Len & seveeeeern’ will live with me forever. RIP Len”.

The Duchess of Cornwall dances with Len Goodman during a celebratory tea dance at the Victory Services Club in London to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the British Dance Council. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday September 5, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Camilla. Photo credit should read: Chris Jackson/PA Wire
Goodman dancing with the Duchess of Cornwall in 2019

Born in Bromley, London, in April 1944, Goodman began his career as an apprentice welder, but started dancing at 19 after his doctor recommended it following a foot injury.

He went on to win various competitions including the British Championships in Blackpool in his late 20s.

Goodman was a recipient of the Carl Alan Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to dance

Away from his TV career, he was also the owner of Goodman Academy, a dance school in Dartford, Kent.

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