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'Strictly Come Dancing' Departing Judge 'Names His Preferred Successor - Helen Richey'

They're big shoes to fill...

26/11/2016 11:39

The ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ judging panel will see a new face next year, with Len Goodman’s departure after 14 years with the show. 

While speculation has been rife as to who is fit to replace the head judge, it appears Len himself knows exactly who he thinks is suitable. 

It was Darcey Bussell who let this slip during a chat with Chris Evans on his radio show yesterday. 

BBC
Len has an idea of whom he'd like to see replacing him as head judge

She said: “Len has said that he has already given some ideas of who he believes should take his space, and those are the experts in the field.

“So the Australian show ‘Dancing with the Stars’ has just finished, and he’s said there’s the perfect woman there.

“She’s an old time Strictly judge and knows the knowledge. She has been a judge in the field for years.”

That’ll be Helen Richey, who served on Australia’s version of our show through fifteen series, until it came to a complete end last month. Helen is, like Len, a former competitive dancer, and one of the world’s leading dance coaches.

Channel7
Helen Richey has the knowledge for the role, according to Len

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she lived in the UK for 27 years, during which time her competitive career included becoming undefeated All England Latin Champion as well as the South of England Latin Champion and the Imperial Latin Champion.

Len will certainly leave large dance-knowledgeable shoes to fill, and the BBC is sending him off in grand style, with a special tribute programme over Christmas. 

Other names in the mix to replace Len include Karen Hardy, Anton du Beke, Brendan Cole and former judge Arlene Phillips.

Meanwhile, Bruno Tonioli has thrown a spanner into the works, by hinting that he could be following Len out of the ballroom this year, due to his exhausting schedule combining ‘Strictly’ duties with judging ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in the US. 

Bruno said earlier this month he’s “keeping his options open”, saying: 

“I don’t know. They have to ask me first and then I’ll think about. Nothing is for granted in show business.

“I never sign for more than a year.”

However, this could be passed off as what we call the ‘Daniel-Craig manoeuvre’ - giving his bosses something to think about when it comes to contract renewal time, particularly as, like Bond, ‘Strictly’ continues to dazzle the fans - in no small part due to the ongoing success of Ed Balls and his unique dancing style…

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