Craig Revel Horwood: I thought Strictly would be car-crash television

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has said he thought the show would be a disaster when it first aired in 2004.

Revel Horwood was part of the original line-up of judges, alongside Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Arlene Phillips, but thought it would not last long.

He told a BBC Radio 5 live documentary: “Show one, series one, it was May of 2004. I recall it well,” the Daily Mirror reported.

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The original judging line-up (Guy Levy/BBC)

“There were no fanfares, we were creating the show from the beginning. I said, ‘It’s a terrible idea, what an awful idea. It’ll be car-crash television’.

“I said, ‘It’ll be the end of my career’. And I really thought it would be off in three weeks. Len and I, after the first show, said, ‘That was absolutely terrible.

“‘No one’s going to think that’s a good idea. How can it possibly be a good idea getting a celebrity to try and learn in one month what it’s taken most dancers since the age of three to do in 10 to 15 years?'”

Strictly Come Dancing Launch 2017 – London

Revel Horwood with current judges Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli (Matt Crossick/PA)

Revel Horwood added that the large budget that comes with being the biggest entertainment show on television was not always so lavish.

He said: “Way back then, we had a very low budget, no one knew what we were doing.”

Revel Horwood added. “I think we spent about two-and-a-half pence on the scenery, and about 10p on the lighting.

“After about two weeks, three weeks, the popularity was just growing and growing. It’s just insane, actually. It’s been sold on to over 56 countries worldwide. What other BBC show’s ever done that?”

Strictly Come Dancing 2017

This year’s cast includes Susan Calman with partner Kevin Clifton (Guy Levy/BBC)

Professional dancer Anton Du Beke, who has been part of the ensemble since the start, said it was originally planned to be a very different programme.

He revealed: “When we went in for our first meeting, it was called Pro Celebrity Come Dancing. It was supposed to be sort of a take on the old golf shows.

Strictly Come Dancing 2017

Anton Du Beke with current partner Ruth Langsford (Guy Levy/BBC)

“The pros went, ‘How long do you see each dance lasting, a whole record?’. I said, ‘It’s three minutes. Nobody wants to see three minutes of terrible dancing’.”

Puttin’ On The Glitz: The Strictly Story is on Radio 5 live on Saturday at 8pm.


 

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