Len's Final Countdown
The BBC have announced that the upcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing will be Len Goodman's last.
Len said: “In 2004, I was asked to take part in a brand new BBC Saturday night show and who would have thought me, old Len Goodman, would still be part of this amazing series more than 10 years on. This adventure began when I was 60 and now that I’ve reached my 70s, I’ve decided after this year it’s time to hand the role of Head Judge to someone else. It is an honour being part of the wonderful Strictly Come Dancing family and I’m looking forward to my last series very much and to whatever comes next.”
Len, Bruno, Craig and Darcey are all returning for 2016 alongside hosts Tess and Claudia, but this will be the final year we'll hear "Seveeeeeeeen!" and "It's a 10 from Len".
The announcement has sparked speculation about the future make-up of the judging panel. Will he be replaced, or could we have a three-judge panel like Dancing With The Stars?
Several names have already been suggested, including Karen Hardy and Ian Waite, both of whom have regular analyist roles on It Takes Two, former pro Flavia Cacace, Camilla Sacre-Dallerup, who served as a judge on the Strictly live tour in 2015, and current pro Anton du Beke, who has been with the show since the beginning and may be looking to move into a non-competitive role.
I would hope that all of the names above are considered. Any replacement for Len must have a ballroom and latin background in order for the series to retain any level of integrity, which even with Len on the panel has been questionable in recent years.
Last series, in virtually every case, the dance-off result was decided before we got to Len's vote, and in most of those cases he said he agreed with his colleagues. Perhaps we need someone with some differing opinions.