Len Goodman was praised by the cast of Strictly Come Dancing during Saturday night’s launch show.
Tess Daly, Claudia Winkleman, Anton Du Beke, Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and others were among the stars who shared their memories of the beloved icon, who lost his battle with bone cancer earlier this year at the age of 78.
Claudia, 51, opened the tribute as the Strictly presenter told the audience: ‘He was part of Strictly Come Dancing from the very beginning and he was crucial to the show. He meant so much to all of us and we would like to share some of our favorite memories of Len with you.”
Tess, 54, went on to say he was a ‘real gentleman’. She added: “He was just so good-natured, so warm and the Len you saw on TV was the Len you saw in real life. There was no separation.”
Shirley Ballas, 63, described Len as a “personal friend” and someone who was “loved and respected around the world.”
Tribute: Len Goodman was praised by the cast of Strictly Come Dancing during the launch show on Saturday night
Opening: Strictly hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly led the way and shared their fond memories of their former colleague
Craig, 58, called Len one of his “best friends” and added that he would have loved to say “goodbye” to the late entertainer.
‘I don’t think I’ll meet anyone that funny. He was someone who really made other people laugh. I loved our little fights, and that bonded us and gave us a truly wonderful friendship.
“If you asked me if Len is one of your best friends, I would say absolutely. I would like to say goodbye to him,” the judge said.
Anton, 57, remembered Len as kind and a good friend.
He said: ‘He lived a life and he brought all that experience to the show. He told you when you were dancing terribly, but he did it in such a nice way that you didn’t mind.
“Len is someone you would want to have as a friend and I have been fortunate to have Len as a friend for many years.”
He added, “There’s a Matt Monroe song and the song is, ‘I’ll only miss him when I think about him,’ but I think about him every day.”
Fans flocked to X – formally known as Twitter – to express their sadness and gratitude to the dance show for featuring the legendary head judge.
Funny: The touching tribute featured clips of Len’s memorable moments on the show, with many of the clips showing the funny man’s witty one-liners
Heartbreaking: Craig, 58, called Len one of his ‘best friends’ and added he would have loved to say ‘goodbye’ to the late entertainer
Beautiful memories: ‘I don’t think I’ll meet anyone so funny. “He was someone who really made other people laugh,” he said
Seven: After 12 years on Strictly, Len walked away in 2016 and was replaced as head judge by girlfriend Shirley Ballas, who still serves in that role today
Sad: Fans flocked to
One wrote: ‘I think they should rename the glitterball trophy to the Len Goodman trophy.’
A second wrote: Oh the tribute to Len Goodman broke me, followed by some sad emojis.
A third said: ‘so emotional…what a phenomenal human being Len Goodman was.’
The tribute featured clips of Len’s memorable moments on the show, with many of the clips showing witty one-liners from the funny man, such as: ‘You floated across the floor like butter on a hot crumpet’, ‘That was a mango from a tango ‘ and ‘I’m going to go home and make pickled walnuts!’
The much-loved chief judge was in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells in Kent after a short illness with bone cancer.
He died peacefully in April, just six months after his retirement, and would have been 79 the next day.