Francesca ShillcockTake a look at what the winners of Strictly have been doing since lifting the Glitterball trophy…
The stage is set, the lights are on and we can smell the fake-tan already, it can only mean that Strictly Come Dancing's first live show is finally upon us. This Saturday will see 15 hopeful celebrities take to the floor alongside their professional dance partners for the first time as they commence the race to the final to become the winners of Strictly. But what about those that came before? There have been many familiar faces over the years that have been lucky enough to lift the iconic Glitterball trophy, but where are they now? Click through the gallery to find out...
She holds the honour of being the first ever winner of the much-loved BBC ballroom competition and it seems that since appearing on Strictly Come Dancing, Natasha Kaplinksy hasn't stopped. Natasha was partnered with Strictly veteran Brendan Cole in 2004 for the show's first series and the two sailed all the way to the final and became the champions.
Since then, the former BBC journalist and newsreader has been focused predominantly on her charity work. Natasha has been an ambassador for Save the Children charity since 2010 and also co-founded the mother and baby company Mum & You that aims to give back to mums in need. As well as leading a busy career, Natasha keeps busy with her two children that she shares with husband Justin Bower.
In the second series of Strictly Come Dancing, actress Jill Halfpenny impressed the judges so much, the phrase 'The Jill Halfpenny Jive' was coined after their triumphant routine. The EastEnders actress took to the floor to compete in the BBC ballroom competition, which aired the same year as the first series, and was partnered with professional Darren Bennett.
The two performed their highly-acclaimed jive for the final and received a perfect score before winning the Glitterball trophy. After winning the show, Jill's performing bug didn't leave her as she went on to star in West End show Chicago, taking the role as Roxie Hart in 2005. Since then, Jill's acting career has continued to flourish. Jill has appeared in BBC's Waterloo Road, Three Girls and ITV drama Liar.
Darren Gough had big boots to fill after Natasha and Jill's triumphant win, but the former cricketer eventually sailed through to the final in 2005 and went on to become to first man to lift the trophy. The sportsman, who retired from professional cricket in 2003, received top marks during his time on the competition and was popular enough with the viewers to become the series three champion.
Two years after winning Strictly, Darren returned to the ballroom for the Christmas special and once again took home the trophy. Since leaving his dancing days behind him, Darren has taken up presenting on Talksport, appearing on their Drivetime show.
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Following in Darren's footsteps was fellow former England cricketer Mark Ramprakash. The former England captain swapped cricket helmets for sequins and glitter in 2006 as he took to the ballroom with professional partner Karen Hardy, waltzing to the final and becoming the series four champion. Mark also took part in the Sport relief edition of Strictly Come Dancing in 2008, which he won with former EastEnders actress, Kara Tointon.
After winning the competition in 2006, Mark continued playing professional cricket up until 2012 when he retired after a 25-year career. Since his retirement, Mark has been a batting coach for Middlesex, his former team, and still coaches for England's batting team.
Alesha Dixon certainly proved that she had the moves when taking part in Strictly Come Dancing's fifth series. The former Mis-Teeq singer and rapper joined the BBC show alongside professional partner Matthew Cutler in 2007 and the couple went on to become series five champions. Since winning the show, Alesha has had a non-stop career. Two years after her win, she joined Craig Revel Horwood, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli on the judging panel, offering her best comments and critique to the hopeful contenders.
Alesha was a judge on Strictly for three years before joining Britain's Got Talent as a judge – a position she still holds today. In between the dancing and judging, Alesha has enjoyed a successful solo career, releasing three studio albums, and has also tried her hand at presenting, most recently the BBC dance competition, The Greatest Dancer.
Holby City and Casualty actor Tom Chambers took part in series six of Strictly Come Dancing, partnering up professional Camilla Dallerup. The pair went on to win the series, which aired in 2008, but his dancing didn't stop there. As well as continuing his TV acting career in Waterloo Road, Tom started a stage career after Strictly. The actor went on to star in West End show Top Cat in 2011 and was a part of the show for two years.
Tom also appeared in detective period drama Father Brown in 2014 and 2015. More recently, however, Tom returned to his musical theatre roots and starred in stage show Crazy For You, which toured the UK.
Following in Natasha Kaplinsky's footsteps as a BBC journalist, Chris Hollins swapped the newsroom for the ballroom in 2009, partnering up with Ola Jordan. Known for his shimmying samba and cheeky Charleston, the latter for which he received a perfect score – Chris and Ola were the only contestants in the whole series not faced with the dreaded dance-off and were named champions in the grand finale.
Since winning Strictly, Chris continued working for the BBC, hosting and presenting shows such as The One Show and Watchdog, and more recently Secret Britain alongside Denise Lewis and Ellie Harrison.
Kara Tointon put on her dancing shoes in 2010 to compete in the BBC ballroom competition. The former EastEnders actress was partnered with professional Artem Chigvintsev, and the pair sailed through the competition to the final, lifting the Glitterball trophy as the series winners. And it seems that Kara and Artem did more than win the trophy, they won each-other's hearts. The pair were an item for four years before calling it quits in 2014. After Strictly, Kara went on to star on stage in shows such as Pygmalion, and also starred in ITV show, Mr Selfridge.
More recently, however, Kara returned to the stage to play the role of Olivia in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Twelfth Night. As well as enjoying a successful acting career, Kara has also recently become a mum to her first child, Frey, with her fiancé, Norwegian-born Marius Jensen.
He was a teen heart-throb that rose to fame and one quarter of pop-rock band McFly, but in 2011 Harry Judd became the king of the ballroom. Harry swapped his drumsticks for dancing shoes for the show's ninth series and was partnered up with Aliona Vilani. Harry impressed the judges fairly quickly, receiving his first ten in week four from Alesha Dixon, which was the first ten of the series.
Since winning Strictly, Harry has enjoyed being part of super-group McBusted (McFly and McBusted combined) and has also been on dad duties. Harry shares two children with his wife Izzy Judd, and the two married in 2012. More recently, as part of McFly, Harry announced that the band is due to release new music and perform a one off show at the O2 in November.
Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith arrived in the BBC ballroom straight from the London 2012 Olympics for the show's tenth series. And it seems that Louis was on a winning streak that year – after receiving a bronze and two silver medals that summer he then went on to lift the iconic Glitterball trophy with professional dance partner Flavia Cacace.
Since winning gold in Strictly, Louis was rewarded an MBE, competed in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and also represented Great Britain in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. After Rio, Louis picked up his dancing shoes again to join touring stage show, Rip It Up, which also featured fellow Strictly champs Harry Judd, Jay McGuiness and JLS' Aston Merrygold.
From the catwalk to the cha-cha-cha, supermodel Abbey Clancy joined the Strictly family in 2013 with her professional partner Aljaž Škorjanec. The two received top marks throughout and went on to become series 11 champions. Before Strictly, Abbey was best known for her modelling work after winning Britain's Next Top Model and went on to pose for Sports Illustrated and Esquire magazine.
Abbey has also tried her hand at TV work, featuring on shows such as This Morning and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. After Strictly, Abbey went on to present the show that made her name, Britain's Next Top Model and has also returned to the modelling world. As well as enjoying a successful career, she has also enjoyed family life with footballer husband Peter Crouch, with whom she shares four children.
Radio and television presenter Caroline Flack embraced all things glitter and gold for Strictly Come Dancing's twelfth series in 2014. Partnering up with professional dancer Pasha Kovalev, Caroline sailed through the competition and the pair went on to become the series winners.
Not only were Caroline and Pasha the winners, they were the first couple of the series to receive a perfect score in the semi-finals, followed by an additional three perfect scores in the final which gave them a perfect total of 120, a record not yet matched in the show's history – go Flackers! After winning Strictly, Caroline returned to her TV presenting roots, hosting shows such as Love Island, The X Factor and Text Santa. But her dancing days weren't over – in 2018 Caroline made her debut in West End show Chicago, taking on the role of Roxy Hart.
The Wanted singer Jay McGuiness made quite an impression in 2015 when he joined Strictly and was partnered with professional Aliona Vilani. The couple received the highest week 3 score in the history of the competition (37) for THAT iconic Pulp Fiction-themed jive and sufficiently became the series champions.
Since winning the ballroom competition, Jay has continued dancing, appearing in stage show Rip It Up: The 60s at the London Palladium along with Harry Judd, Aston Merrygold and Louis Smith in 2018, and has recently returned to the West End starring in Big The Musical.
Sports broadcaster Ore Oduba took the ballroom in 2016 pairing up with pro-partner Joanne Clifton and, like Jay, sufficiently became the king of jive. Their routine to "Runaway baby" received a score of 39 out of 40 in week four and the pair sailed through to become the series 14 champions.
Before Strictly, Ore enjoyed a successful career in broadcasting, appearing on shows such as Match of the Day Kickabout, The One Show and as a sports presenter for BBC Breakfast. Since lifting the Glitterball trophy, Ore has returned to his TV work presenting This Morning and the World Athletics Championships and BBC's Young Dancer.
Joe McFadden waltzed into the Strictly competition to become the series 15 champion in 2017, along with professional partner Katya Jones. Before joining the BBC ballroom competition, Joe worked as an actor on shows such as Heartbeat, Casualty, and Holby City – the latter he appeared in for three years. After becoming the 2017 champion, Joe went on the Strictly Come Dancing Live! Tour and more recently, has joined stage show Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
She's the current Strictly Come Dancing champion, and since lifting the Glitterball trophy last year, Stacey Dooley has not stopped. As well as enjoying a new relationship with her former professional-partner and fellow champ, Kevin Clifton, Stacey has been all systems go in her career.
Since winning the show, she has hosted The One Show, BBC's Children in Need, New Year Live and has also been appointed as Grazia magazine's new contributing editor for Investigations. She is also currently starring in new show, Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over, which sees her visit various different families across the country that are living in extraordinary circumstances. Who will be the next champion of the ballroom?