Strictly Come Dancing is Ten!

Step-By-Step – An Affectionate Glance at Ten Glorious Years of Strictly Come Dancing

Here at Karen Hardy Studios, Strictly Come Dancing is in our bones, we are immensely proud of our connections with the TV show.

Of course, our very own Karen Hardy was crowned champion of ‘Strictly’ in 2006 and her iconic ‘Glitterball’ trophy shines bright in our studio today.

So many stars from the BBC’s most popular TV programme have spent time with us and danced in our luxurious Imperial Wharf venue over the years – thank you one and all.

It has been ten glorious years since the glitterball first lit up BBC television centre to launch a TV show that changed the course of Saturday night television.

Back in the day Tony Blair was Prime Minister, singer Eamon topped the charts with “I Don’t Want You Back” and Arsenal FC played a whole Premier League season with losing a single game.

Also that year, Shrek 2 pipped Harry Potter at the box office, the Olympics went home to Athens and the world said farewell to Superman actor Christopher Reeve at the age of 52.

One of the secrets of Strictly Come Dancing’s success over the past 3,652 days has been the undoubted mission to keep everyone on their toes.

In its time there have been “SEVEN” different judges to pick up the paddle including Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Arlene Phillips, Alesha Dixon and Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey, who made a one-off appearance in 2009.

In the main show alone there have also been 38 professional dancers helping 145 celebrities find their feet on the dancefloor since ‘Strictly’ got off the ground.

Did you know? No professional has ever won the show twice, but four dancers have won it at the first time of asking, namely, Brendon Cole (the first series), Darren Bennett, Artem Chigvintsev and Alijaz Skorjanec.

Actually, having observed that the ‘Strictly’ producers make sure the show is always one step ahead of the competition, some things never change; Brendon Cole and Anton Du Beke are the only professionals to have appeared in all 11 series (bless ’em).

And, of course, the legendary (and recently retired) Sir Bruce Forsyth is one of just three presenters to grace the main show alongside Tess Daly who will now lead the way with Claudia Winkleman by her side full time.

Many former contestants and dancers in ‘Strictly’ have gone on to join the presenting team elsewhere.

Alesha Dixon (now involved with Britain’s Got something or other) won Strictly in 2007 and joined the judging panel two years later and Zoe Ball, who claimed third place in series three (2005), has gone on to present the weekday sister show “Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two”.

In fact, the one-time ‘Queen of kids TV’ often shares the BBC2 screen alongside her former dance partner Ian Waite and our Studio boss Karen Hardy.

Perhaps surprisingly, the most successful celebrities to take part in Strictly Come Dancing are connected to the world of sport, rather than showbiz.

Cricketers Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash have both won the show, as has Olympic gymnast Louis Smith, sports journalist Chris Hollins and Abbey Clancy, the wife of Premier League footballer Peter Crouch.

The only actors to claim the crown are former Eastenders Jill Halfpenny and Kara Tointon and Holby City’s Tom Chambers.

Musicians who got into the right rhythm and went all the way in ‘Strictly’ were McFly drummer Harry Judd and, of course, singer-cum-TV personality Alesha Dixon.

Also making the headlines, by winning the very first series was newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky.

And while the a long list of fabulous celebrity contestants, dancers, judges and presenters – along with the famous “Strictly” band – have enticed millions of people to tune in, there is more to it than that – Strictly Come Dancing has the X Factor!

We are all intrigued to watch the celeb/pro-dancer relationships develop over the weeks, we are all thrilled by the apparent progress of absolute beginners and by the comedic routines of John Sergeant, Russell Grant and Ann Widdecombe.

But, at the heart of Strictly Come Dancing – the reason why it is so appealing to so many people – is the dancing.

It is because of the variety, beauty and excitement of the Rumba, Salsa, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Tango, Cha-Cha-Cha, Quickstep, Jive, Foxtrot, Paso Doble, American Smooth, Charleston and Argentine Tango – these are the main reasons why the producers have picked up 13 industry awards and the show has “gone the distance”.

However, the undisputed champion of longevity is its predecessor Come Dancing, which ran for 49 years until 1998 – the bar is set high!

But for now, congratulations to everybody for a decade of decadent dance on Strictly Come Dancing – here’s to the next ten!

Over the past decade, three celebrity chefs, James Martin, Gary Rhodes and Dave Myers have dared to dance on ‘Strictly’, so just for fun, we have come up with Strictly Come Dancing’s “Recipe for Success” – a perfect dish for a Saturday evening at home, enjoy!

Please follow instructions carefully… Take one portion of raw celebrity and one dancer (pre-prepared), mix them together (ensure you allow enough time for flavours to develop) and add salsa flavouring. Apply dressing, then fold in an extra-large portion of effort. Place all of the ingredients into the oven and cook for one hour at gas mark SEVEN!


More than a dance studio