In the lead-up to this year’s Strictly launch, the BBC has been showing celebrations of past performances in specially-curated highlights show, with Saturday night’s focussing on the best moments from finales gone by.
This included a celebration of former winner Caroline Flack – who died by suicide earlier this year – including tributes from those who knew and worked with her.
“For me, Caroline was one of the best, best dancers we’ve ever had come into Strictly Come Dancing,” professional dancer Janette Manrara recalled. “Whenever she was around you, you couldn’t help but smile.”
Through tears, she continued: “There was just something about Caroline [on the night of the Strictly final]. She was beaming and so for it to just culminate in that one moment…what an amazing moment for her.
“Watching her do that showdance and just how beautiful she looked in white is a memory I’m going to hold really close to my heart forever and ever.”
Caroline’s dance partner Pasha Kovalev agreed: “We saw how she transformed into that beautiful dancer. A dancer with a big heart on her sleeve.”
He added that the moment he and the star won the show “such an incredible experience” that “will always hold a special place in my heart”
Long-serving judge Bruno Tonioli said: “I love Caroline, she was such fun. Great to be with, I mean she really was a joy.
“We will always love Caroline and we will never forget her. We love you, my love.”
The show ended with a dedication to Caroline’s memory.
Viewers praised the touching tributes on social media, with many revealing that they were crying as they watched:
After winning Strictly in 2014, Caroline hosted The X Factor alongside Olly Murs, as well as the revival of Love Island, which went on to become the presenting job she was most known for. She died in February, at the age of 40.
Rewatch Caroline and Pasha’s showdance below:
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