As Strictly 2014 draws to a close, we thought we’d take a wistful look over the last ten years and ask the British public for their favourite moments from the entire series. It goes without saying (prepare from some shameless bragging here) that our ultimate favourite is the moment when our very own Karen Hardy and her partner, Mark Ramprakash won Strictly in 2006. That aside and in no particular order, here’s what you all said:
1) Zoe Ball and Ian Waite’s Tango
In series three, Zoe and Ian enjoyed top-three positions on the leaderboard for the majority of their Strictly tenure. However, their finest moment was undoubtedly week seven’s Tango, which was rewarded with 38 points – including two 10s. Ian’s extremely complex yet striking choreography was performed beautifully, prompting Bruno to call the dance “poetry in motion”. Len praised the drags, Arlene commented that “your tango made me tingle” and Craig called the pair the classiest couple in the competition. This was one of the dances Zoe and Ian chose to perform in the final, in which they came third, but it remains a firm fan favourite.
2) Jill Halfpenny and Darren Bennett’s jive
Series two winners, Jill and Darren, hold the record for the highest-scoring Jive in Strictly history. First performed in week three and gaining 35 points, it was awarded the coveted 40 points in week eight’s final. Fast-paced and joyful, the Jive incorporated so many elements that Craig said it was “phenomenal – the amount of detail in your work is extraordinary; awesome”. Arlene was so impressed that she expressed hopes of working with Jill and Darren in the future and Len said it was “the best dance of the series”. Bruno admitted that he was so transported, he couldn’t judge it. They subsequently won the 2004 Christmas Show with another Jive.
3) Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy’s Argentine Tango
The Argentine Tango is one of those dances that always bewitches an audience and this, from series four, was chosen by many people on social media.
Mark and Karen – aka the future winners – wowed viewers in week 11 with their version, danced to Tina Turner’s Golden Eye. Karen’s steamy steps perfectly evoked the seductive darkness of a Buenos Aires club – little wonder Bruno called it “tango with a bite”. Len went on to add that it was the “first dance I’ve seen that deserves to be in the final” and Craig gave the Holy Grail of verdicts: “one word: am-az-ing”. Scoring a massive 39 points, it was this dance that helped secure the pair’s progression into the final.
4) Scott Mills as a crab
There have been some incredible outfits over the last decade; all testament to the talents of the Strictly costume department. Halloween Week is always one that we look forward to, yet it was for Movie Week in series 12 that we were treated to another memorable moment: Scott Mills dressed as a crab. While the costume itself wasn’t much more than red shirt and trousers, plus make-up fit for the best dressed crustacean, it all served to emphasise his dancing deficiencies. Dancing to Under The Sea with partner, Joanne Clifton, Scott sidestepped, bobbed and smiled his was to 25 points. Craig compared him with a “lobster on acid”, yet the audience saved the pair for another week and the memory of a literally red-faced Scott lives on.
5) Kara Tointon and Artem Chingvintsev’s Argentine Tango
Kara and Artem consistently scored above 30 throughout series eight and were quickly tipped for the final, even though this was Artem’s first ever Strictly. The Argentine Tango from week seven was incredibly sultry. Of course, we know now that there was more than just dancing bubbling under the surface, making the performance even more powerful. Artem’s endearing emotions and Kara’s skills made them a dream pairing on the dance floor, at least. The dance scored 38 points with Bruno summing it up simply: “fantastic choreography, fantastic dancing, fantastic tango!”
6) Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler’s Cha Cha Cha
It would be fair to say that Alesha and Matthew dominated series five from the word go, topping the leaderboard eight times. Their Cha Cha Cha to Crazy In Love was awarded tens from all but Craig (who scored them nine) and has become an iconic moment in Strictly’s history. Bursting with attitude, the confident performance made Bruno’s pulse race, Craig called it ‘fab-u-lous’ and Arlene stated that Alesha and Matthew were a sure thing for the final. They reprised the dance for the final and despite dropping a point, they were still crowned the eventual winners.
7) Ann Widdecombe and Anton Du Beke’s Tango
Perhaps not anyone’s first choice for a Strictly contestant, but Ann Widdecombe was game, that’s for sure. Most of her dances with the ever-patient Anton were entertaining and they survived through audience votes (rather than the judges’) until week 10. Ann’s crowning moment was surely the Tango in week four, in which she ‘flew’ onto the dancefloor. The comedic performance elicited more laughter from the audience than applause, with Craig likening it to “dancing hippos”. It may have scored just 21 points, but Len praised the use of many basic steps, while Alesha tactfully said how Ann was taking Strictly “to a whole new level”.
8) Chris Hollins & Ola Jordan’s Charleston
If you’d said at the beginning of series seven that a BBC sports reporter would be crowned champion, few would have believed it. And yet, that’s just what happened. Chris and Ola started slowly, gradually creeping up the leaderboard as the weeks progressed and it was with this exuberant Charleston in week 11 that they were finally declared serious contenders. Cheeky and fun, incorporating scissors and many other complicated Charleston elements, the judges adored the dance enough to award is 38 points. Chris and Ola performed it again in the final, scoring top marks across the board.
9) John Sergeant and Kristina Rihanoff’s Paso Doble
Some favourite moments are notable for reasons other than the contestant’s dancing prowess. A fine case in point is John Sergeant’s Paso Doble from series six. Stilted, Kristina did her best to dance around her awkward partner and the judges only awarded the lack-lustre performance 21 points. However, the viewers at home adored John’s efforts and repeatedly kept him in the show until he took the decision to withdraw. Goes to show how much we love the underdog!
10) The judges – various
It’s not just the dances that have cheered us up on those cold Saturday evenings; the judges have done their fair share of entertaining us too.
Whether it is Len’s hilarious comments, Bruno’s theatrics or Craig being put in his place; Darcy’s poise, Arlene’s knowledge or Alesha’s enthusiasm, Strictly wouldn’t be Strictly without those judges. It’s hard to choose any one moment that encapsulates the judges’ contributions adequately, but their disco dance routine in Blackpool for series 12 was great fun.
It’s tough to whittle the best bits down to just 10; of course, there are hundreds more amazing moments. However, with Strictly growing ever stronger in the ratings battles, you can be sure that there will be plenty more fantastic moments to come.