Denise Van Outen Reveals Why She Turned Down Strictly Hosting Job Before It Was Offered To Tess Daly

"Maybe I was an idiot turning that down."
Denise Van Outen
Denise Van Outen
Scott Garfitt/Shutterstock

Denise Van Outen has claimed she turned down the chance to present Strictly Come Dancing before the job was offered to its current host Tess Daly.

Speaking on The Matt Haycox Show, DVO was asked whether she had any career regrets, to which she made the revelation about the possibility of once hosting Strictly.

“When they first came up with the idea, I was offered Strictly Come Dancing,” she explained, revealing that she knew its original host Sir Bruce Forsyth “really well”.

“He came to me and approached me to be his sidekick. He said to me, ‘There’s this show, it’s all ballroom, it’s gonna be celebrities’. And he said, ‘I want to open the show with a song and dance with you, and close it with you’, because he knew that I danced and sang.”

However, when the full format of the show was explained to her, Denise turned him down on the spot, admitting she thought it “sounded really boring”.

“So, they gave it to Tess Daly,” she continued. “Then it became a huge hit, and I was thinking maybe I was an idiot turning that down.”

Tess Daly in the Strictly Come Dancing studio
Tess Daly in the Strictly Come Dancing studio
BBC/Guy Levy

Denise was insistent it wasn’t a decision she looks back on with regret, though.

She added: “Actually, when I look back, Tess has done it so well for many years, but just kind of does that, and she’s associated with it.

“Whereas, I went on to do Broadway, I’ve done film, I’ve done theatre in the West End – I’ve done so many other things. And, I wouldn’t have had such a varied career if I’d taken it. So, actually, for me, it worked out.”

Of course, Denise did get her time in the Strictly ballroom in the end, when she competed on the show back in 2012, making it to the final with professional partner James Jordan.

Denise at the Strictly red carpet launch in 2012
Denise at the Strictly red carpet launch in 2012
Tim P. Whitby via Getty Images

In 2021, she tried out a different style of performance when she signed up for Dancing On Ice, but was forced to withdraw early on in the series due to an injury.

Tess has hosted Strictly since its launch in 2004, and will be back to front its landmark 20th series, alongside co-host Claudia Winkleman, when it returns to our screens in the autumn.

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