After more than two decades on the air, Strictly Come Dancing has been home to some truly unforgettable routines, but sadly, it’s not always for the reasons that the celebrities had been hoping for.
While it’s often the performances with perfect scores that become the stand-outs of a series, there have been a select few stars who’ve made Strictly history by failing to impress the judges.
To give those celebs their moment to shine, we’ve gone back through the Strictly archives to discover the lowest-scoring routines ever, featuring infamous former contestants like John Sergeant, Ann Widdecome and Nancy Dell’Olio.
Here’s our countdown of the 10 Strictly numbers that bagged the show’s lowest scores ever*…
Susannah Constantine’s Samba (2018)
Craig, Darcey, Shirley and Bruno voted: 1, 4, 4, 3
Susannah Constantine didn’t exactly get off to the best of starts when she took to the Strictly dance floor for the first time.
This novelty routine choreographed by Anton Du Beke – which saw him emerging from under her enormous hoop skirt – was largely panned by the judges, who wanted to see him give the What Not To Wear star a more serious routine.
Susannah Constantine’s Foxtrot (2018)
Craig, Darcey, Shirley and Bruno voted: 1, 4, 3, 4
Unfortunately, when Susannah and Anton came back a week later, they ended up bagging an identical score, with Susannah becoming first contestant to be eliminated that year.
It may or may not surprise you to hear that this will not be the last time you see Anton Du Beke on this round-up.
Nancy Dell’Olio’s Waltz (2011)
Craig, Len, Alesha and Bruno voted: 1, 4, 3, 4
Although it’s her incredibly camp Halloween week performance that’s stayed with us most, Nancy’s first routine of the series was the one which earned her the lowest score of her series.
Bruno Tonioli compared Nancy’s performance to a “curtain stuck on a spin cycle”, after she suffered a spot of difficulty with her feather boa.
Still, what it lacked in points, it more than made up for in camp value.
John Sergeant’s Cha Cha Cha (2009)
Craig, Arlene, Len and Bruno voted: 1, 3, 4, 4
Dragging Kristina Rihanoff along the floor is what most Strictly fans remember John Sergeant for – but believe it or not his Paso Doble was actually one of his highest-scoring routines.
The same can’t be said for this Cha Cha Cha (which, for some reason, included the journalist speaking into his hand like a mobile phone), leading Craig Revel Horwood to dust off his seldom-used “1” paddle.
Two weeks after this routine, John decided he’d had enough of being the show’s novelty contestant, and withdrew from the contest out of concern he might actually go on and win the whole thing.
Ann Widdecombe’s Salsa (2010)
Craig, Len, Alesha and Bruno voted: 1, 4, 4, 3
Perhaps surprisingly, this is Ann Widdecombe’s sole entry on this list, earning just one point from Craig due to an apparent “illegal lift”.
At one stage in this number, Anton can even be seen audibly counting the beat so the former Tory MP can get back into the swing of things.
Anneka Rice’s Charleston (2019)
Craig, Motsi, Shirley and Bruno voted: 2, 3, 3, 3
Anneka Rice immediately emerged as one of our personal faves during her time on Strictly in 2019, though we have to admit this had little to do with her dancing.
The Challenge Anneka star managed to survive the first dance-off of the series, but her Movie Week Charleston – inspired, of all films, by Kill Bill – was not enough to save her from the axe… or, indeed, earn her any more than 11 points.
Disappointingly, video of Anneka’s Charleston appears to have been scrubbed from the internet, but enjoy the above photo of her channelling Uma Thurman anyway.
James Cracknell’s Tango (2019)
Craig, Motsi, Shirley and Bruno voted: 2, 3, 3, 3
In the same series as Anneka was this performance from Olympian James Cracknell, which also pulled in a score of just 11 from the panel.
Eventually, James became the first star of his series to be eliminated, with the judges choosing to save footballer David James in his place (more on him in a second…).
Fiona Phillips’ Waltz (2005)
Craig, Arlene, Len and Bruno voted: 2, 2, 4, 3
Daytime presenter Fiona Phillips made no secret of the fact she didn’t exactly have the best of times on Strictly Come Dancing, largely due to her disagreements with professional partner Brendan Cole and struggles with learning her routines.
“I felt so self-conscious, but I thought, ‘I will have a professional dancer and it’s a nice programme’,” she recalled in 2021. “But Brendan is a rough old taskmaster and really wanted to be number one or nothing. I just wasn’t very good.”
Again, we can’t seem to get our hands on video footage of Fiona’s low-scoring Waltz, but you can catch a glimpse of her chemistry with Brendan in the video below:
David James’ Paso Doble (2019)
Craig, Motsi, Shirley and Bruno voted: 2, 3, 2, 3
We’re not quite sure what was in the water back in 2019, but three of the 10 dances on this low-scoring list came from that series, and from three different celebrities, no less.
David James got off to a shaky start with this routine, but he did manage to turn things around somewhat, surviving two dance-offs before he was eventually shown the door.
Quentin Wilson’s Cha Cha Cha (2004)
Craig, Arlene, Len and Bruno voted: 1, 1, 3, 3
Still, no one has ever come close to Quentin Wilson’s first and only performance back in 2004.
The former Top Gear star holds a few unenviable Strictly records, including the lowest ever score from the judges, the only single-digit score and the only time more than one member of the panel has given out a “1”.
* Oh, hello! Yes, there are a few other routines that only managed to bag 12 points, but they didn’t lead to any of the judges reaching for the dreaded “1” paddle, so they’ve been spared from this list.
Jacqui Smith and Jason Bell also got scores of 12 during the 2020 series, but there were only three judges on the panel that year, meaning everyone’s points were lower than usual.