len-goodman

Len Goodman films final episode of Strictly – and there's a surprise in store for fans

Gemma Strong

Emotions ran high on Monday evening as Len Goodman filmed his very last Strictly Come Dancing episode. The 72-year-old, who is stepping down as head judge on the show after 12 years, dusted off his ballroom shoes and took part in a very special farewell group dance for the Christmas Day special.

Len's fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood had previously teased about the prospect of Len performing for the final show, telling the Mirror: "I'm hoping we might see him dance, because Len's a fantastic dancer." And it seems he did just that, delighting those lucky enough to be in the audience.

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Len Goodman films final episode of Strictly, performs group dance

Len Goodman has filmed his final episode of Strictly Come Dancing

The Christmas show, airing on 25 December, will see six Strictly alumni - Melvin Odoom, Denise Lewis, Frankie Bridge, Pamela Stephenson, Ainsley Harriott and Gethin Jones - competing for the coveted Christmas silver star trophy. They will be partnered with pro dancers Anton Du Beke, Gorka Marquez, Chloe Hewitt, Pasha Kovalev, Janette Manrara and Karen Clifton. 

Earlier this year, Len shocked Strictly fans by announcing his decision to leave the show. Since then, there has been a great deal of speculation about who will take his place on the panel alongside Craig, Bruno Tonioli and Darcey Bussell.

Among those tipped for the position are former judge Arlene Phillips and pro dancer Anton Du Beke. Darcey, meanwhile, recently revealed that Len is backing Australian Dancing with the Stars judge Helen Richey to replace him.

Helen Richey tipped to replace Len Goodman as Strictly Come Dancing judge

Len is reportedly backing Helen Richey to replace him on the judging panel

"Len has said that he had already given some ideas of who he believes should take his space and those are the experts in the field," she told the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show last week. "So the Australian show Dancing with the Stars has just finished, and he's said there's the perfect women there.

"She's an old time Strictly judge and knows the knowledge. She has been a judge in the field for years."

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