Strictly: Has Len Goodman’s replacement finally been decided?

It could be a big return to the BBC dance show

Strictly Come Dancing’s choreography expert Karen Hardy has revealed that she could well be the next head judge on the dancing competition.

Leader of the judging panel Len Goodman is due to retire from his duties after this series and Karen, who was a professional dancer on the show between 2005 and 2008, has admitted that her name may have been mentioned for the job.

Karen is still involved in the programme as a critic of the routines and when asked if she might be in line to replace Len, told Bang Showbiz: “Let’s just say, there’s been rumblings going around. But let’s just say, if an email comes in, I won’t say no.”

She won the competition with Mark Ramprakash in 2006 and now presents a feature called Choreography Corner for spin-off show Strictly Come Dancing – It Takes Two, where she offers her views on the latest performances.

Also working as a teacher and a judge on the ballroom dancing competition scene would make her perfect for the role, she added, saying that she was a big fan of all of the judges who include Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood as well as Len.

She said: “I love Darcey, I love them all. I’ve been a judge for 15 years so it’s not something I’d be in fear of. I’m told everyone loves me and I didn’t realise it until recently.

“Let’s just keep our fingers crossed. See what the Gods have in store for me… I keep trying to walk away but somehow they keep bringing me back.

“I’ve been on there since series three now and I was speaking with Brendan Cole on set yesterday and he said, ‘My God, Karen, we’ve been on his show a long time’ and we love it. I don’t want to call me an oldie but they love the oldies. I’ve shared a lot of knowledge over the years.”

In the meantime, Karen has signed up to judge alongside Len and Craig for the live tour of the show, which could be seen as training for next year’s TV series.

She said of being asked on the tour: “It was a bit of a shock, the email came in. The tour doesn’t start until the end of January. The celebrities won’t be announced until nearer the time. I’m the new judge with Len and Craig on the tour and then they’ll be announcing the lovely celebrities as the weeks go along.

“It’ll be exciting and, for me, I know there are 12 million people out there watching Strictly but I think getting into a stadium and seeing the passion of how much people love Strictly and dancing. I can’t wait.”

Karen went on: “I’m not going to lie to you but I’m still in shock. Basically the email came in, I looked at the screen and then I looked away at my work and I sort of double took.

“I just thought, ‘Oh you’re joking?’ and then I ran into my room and jumped on the bed – I literally did that. I must confess. I never saw that coming.”

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