28/09/2016 12:28 BST | Updated 29/03/2018 15:07 BST

'Strictly Come Dancing': 12 Most Controversial Moments Ever

Anton Du Beke's racism scandal isn't the only moment that's shocked fans.

Considering it’s a show that is synonymous with family-friendly light entertainment, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ hasn’t half landed itself in a few scandals over the years.

While ‘Strictly’ might seem like the polite, unassuming auntie in the reality TV family tree, it’s still managed to become embroiled in controversy on a number of occasions, either for accusations of racism, its pro dancers’ behaviour behind the scenes and even one memorable incident that was brought up in the House of Commons.

Here are just 12 of the most controversial moments in ‘Strictly’ history...

  • Anton Du Beke Apologises After Racist Comment
    Anton Du Beke Apologises After Racist Comment
    Pro dancer Anton became embroiled in a scandal in 2009, when he used a racial slur to describe his partner, Laila Rouass, during an off-air conversation.

    While he later insisted that he'd only used the term 'p**i' as backstage 'banter' (*eyes roll wildly in head*), he did unreservedly apologise in a statement.
  • Brucie Rushes To Anton's Defence
    Brucie Rushes To Anton's Defence
    Former 'Strictly' host Sir Bruce Forsyth took a bit of heat himself after the racism scandal, when he insisted Anton hadn't done anything wrong.

    He said at the time: "We used to have a sense of humour about this. You go back 25, 30, 40 years and there has always been a bit of humour about the whole thing."

    Brucie was later forced to backtrack in a more official capacity, with a statement saying: "To be absolutely clear, the use of racially offensive language is never either funny or acceptable."

    Oh dear.
  • Arlene Phillips Gets The Chop
    Arlene Phillips Gets The Chop
    Michael Boyd/PA Archive
    After five years on 'Strictly', Arlene was suddenly axed from the panel in 2009, when she was replaced by then-champion Alesha Dixon, 26 years her junior.

    The decision faced a huge backlash at the time, with many accusing the BBC of age discrimination, particularly when Harriet Harman even brought up the issue in the House of Commons. 
  • John Sergeant Dances Off The Show (Not Dragging Kristina Behind Him, Though)
    John Sergeant Dances Off The Show (Not Dragging Kristina Behind Him, Though)
    John Sergeant was not a good dancer. Lovely man, we're sure. Very bright, very successful. Rubbish dancer. The judges knew it, he knew it and the public knew it - yet he stayed in the contest week after week.

    When more proficient dancers wound up being sent home over John each week, he eventually decided to step down from the contest, as die-hard 'Strictly' fans grew angrier.

    He said: "The trouble is that there is now a real danger that I might win the competition. Even for me that would be a joke too far."
  • Anthony Ogogo And Oti Mabuse Make Race Observation
    Anthony Ogogo And Oti Mabuse Make Race Observation
    Mike Marsland via Getty Images
    When Anthony Ogogo and Oti Mabuse became the second contestants eliminated in 2015, they both came out and suggested they stood less of a chance at winning because they were both black.

    While Anthony said he was surprised the BBC chose not to 'mix up' the minority contestants and professionals, Oti said: "It's no wonder that I got partnered with Anthony and that we got voted off second week, obviously people at the BBC don't want to see a black person win."

    She later retracted her statement, and was welcomed back on the show in 2016, where she was partnered with Danny Mac.
  • Ola Jordan Lays Into The Judges
    Ola Jordan Lays Into The Judges
    Eamonn McCormack via Getty Images
    Ola Jordan raised eyebrows when she suggested that pro dancers on 'Strictly' weren't paid enough, particularly in comparison to the judges, who she accused of not knowing enough about ballroom.

    Bruno Tonioli had some harsh words for her in response, fuming: "Those are the terms of the negotiations. If you don’t like it, stop moaning and fuck off."
  • James Jordan Asks: 'Why Sack Me?'
    James Jordan Asks: 'Why Sack Me?'
    Jonathan HordleRexShutterstock
    Of course, Ola's husband James Jordan is the king of hitting out at 'Strictly', which he seems to do whenever the opportunity arises.

    He departed from 'Strictly' in 2014, accusing bosses of 'sacking' him.

    When a tweet from the show said he'd be missed, he fired back simply: "So why sack me?"
  • The 'Strictly' Curse
    The 'Strictly' Curse
    At this point, the 'Strictly' curse has become synonymous with the show, with a load of stars breaking up with their partners during or immediately after their time on the show, and a handful even getting together with their professional partner.

    For examples of stars who've fallen victim to the curse in the past, click here.
  • Craig Revel Horwood On Kristina Rihanoff
    Craig Revel Horwood On Kristina Rihanoff
    Eamonn McCormack via Getty Images
    On the subject of the 'curse', Kristina Rihanoff has some experience in that domain. She got together with Joe Calzaghe shortly after their time on the show, splitting in 2013.

    It was around this time that she was partnered with Ben Cohen, who would later become the father of her child.

    Judge Craig Revel Horwood later joked that Kristina was 'gutted' to be partnered with Daniel O'Donnell in 2015, adding: 'It was rather obvious she wasn’t going to get a hot, young celeb after everything that’s happened. 

    "It’s natural to fall in love with your dance partner when you’re spending so much time together and Kristina managed it a few times!"

  • Jamelia Accuses The Show Of Favouring Peter Andre
    Jamelia Accuses The Show Of Favouring Peter Andre
    Anthony Harvey via Getty Images
    After landing herself in a record five dance-offs, Jamelia made the rather surprising move of accusing the show of favouring Peter Andre, when she lost out to him in 2015.

    On 'Loose Women' that week, she said: "It wasn’t until they re-recorded Pete’s standing ovation, I’d say that was the moment we knew we were going home."

    Like Maleficent at a christening, James Jordan also offered his take, suggesting Peter was being given an unfair advantage by opening or closing the show each week.
  • Ola And Kristina's Sexy Calendars
    Ola And Kristina's Sexy Calendars
    It was reported while Ola Jordan and Kristina Rihanoff were still on the show, that 'Strictly' bosses were unhappy with their annual racy calendars, claiming they clashed with the show's family-friendly image.

    The accompanying image is one of the photos from Ola's calendar the year after. It's safe to say she was not here for that critique.
  • 'Doping' Accusations
    'Doping' Accusations
    Richard Stonehouse via Getty Images
    In April 2016, a London doctor alleged that he'd prescribed performance-enhancing drugs to a number of athletes, including two 'Strictly' pros.

    A 'Strictly' spokesperson later countered: "In the absence of any evidence or further information being presented to us, we will not be commenting."
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