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Len Goodman stepping down as Strictly Come Dancing judge

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Strictly Come Dancing's head judge Len Goodman is leaving the show after the next series. The 72-year-old has led the judging panel ever since the programme began 12 years ago, but has said he feels now is the time to step down.

"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," Len said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to my last series very much, and to whatever comes next."


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Len with his fellow Strictly Come Dancing judges, Bruno, Darcey and Craig

Len will be joined by his fellow judges Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood for his final season, which will begin in the autumn. Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will also return to host the hit show.

Speaking about his time on Strictly, Len told the BBC: "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. It is an honour being part of the wonderful Strictly Come Dancing."

Charlotte Moore, the director of content at the BBC, said: "After 12 years, our wonderful Head Judge Len has decided to hang up his Strictly Come Dancing shoes!

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Len has appeared on Strictly ever since it began in 2004

"I know we are all going to miss him tremendously, but I also know Len's final series is going to be full of unmissable moments and I hope audiences will give him the special send-off he so deserves."

Louise Rainbow, executive producer of Strictly, added: "We are absolutely delighted that Tess, Claudia and out judges are all returning for another year. Whilst we will be sad to say goodbye to Len, as our way of saying thank you, we are determined to make this series the most spectacular, most glittery and entertaining yet."

The BBC have confirmed that Len is not retiring, and will continue to present shows on Radio 2. It is not yet known whether he will continue to work on the US version of Strictly Dancing with the Stars.

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