Len Goodman reveals he stepped down from Strictly because of his fear of dying soon

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman has revealed he quit the show because he was worried he would not have spent enough time with his family before he dies.

The ballroom favourite shocked fans when he announced he will stand down following the live final on Saturday.

He told The Sun: “Maybe I have got one or two years left in me being a judge, but it’s the right time and I’ve had a wonderful 12 years.

“My father died when he was 79 and I’m 72. God willing I’ll live to be 99, but there’s always that chance that in six or seven years I could be brown bread.

“So I want to spend more time with my family as I’ve now got a granddaughter. I want to be able to do all these things.”

It has not yet been announced who will join Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood on the panel, although professional dancer Anton Du Beke is a hot favourite.

Len has charmed and delighted fans with his one-liners, but he initially thought the show could not succeed.

He said: “Before it started I said to my wife Sue, ‘I can’t see this working. Nobody’s interested in ballroom dancing and most of the celebrities I’ve never heard of’. But they went in all guns blazing on a Saturday night, with Bruce Forsyth, my hero, hosting it and a big band.

“How the Head Judge thing came about, I don’t know. But during the first show, after a couple of dances, Bruce said, ‘Right, now we will turn to our judges and we’ll start with our Head Judge, Len Goodman’.

“That was the first I’d heard that I was Head Judge — and I don’t get any more money for it!”

He added: “As much as I know it’s the right time to leave I guarantee next year I’ll be sitting with my wife watching it and I’ll say I should have done one more.

“I’ll be scoring them as well and sit back while having my spring rolls and just enjoy it for once.

“Strictly gave me everything, so I would never desert them because there was something better.

“It’s a bit like playing cards, you’ve got to know when to hold them and when to fold them.

“I would much rather leave and people say, ‘What a shame’ than people think, ‘Thank heavens, he’s off now’, you know?”

But it might not be the last we see of Len on the panel if there are charity or Christmas specials: “If they ask me it will be hard to turn down,” he said.

More in this Section

Cynthia Erivo hopes Harriet Tubman film prompts more movies about black womenCynthia Erivo hopes Harriet Tubman film prompts more movies about black women

Idina Menzel: Powerful use fear to keep people in their placeIdina Menzel: Powerful use fear to keep people in their place

Ricky Gervais: I make Golden Globes a spectator sportRicky Gervais: I make Golden Globes a spectator sport

The Young Offenders will return for a third seriesThe Young Offenders will return for a third series


REVIEW: This superb adaptation of A Christmas Carol puts a contemporary twist on Dickens' classic tale, writes Alan O'RiordanReview: A Christmas Carol, Gate Theatre, Dublin

Move over quinoa.Everything you need to know about fonio, the ancient grain we’ll all be eating in 2020

The former heptathlete and all-round super woman chats to Lauren Taylor about how to stay fit in pregnancy and body confidence after a baby.Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill: ‘There’s still a lot of stigma attached to exercising pregnant’

Behaving aggressively is a stage many toddlers go through. The author of The Wonder Weeks explains how parents should deal with kids who kick & bite.Ask an expert: How can I stop my toddler kicking and biting?

More From The Irish Examiner