Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman has denied that stars like Denise Van Outen and Kimberley Walsh have an unfair advantage on the show because of their stage experience.

Some viewers have questioned whether there’s a level playing field on the BBC One show, because Denise, Kimberley and Westlife’s Nicky Byrne know more about dancing than the likes of cricketer Michael Vaughan and ex-EastEnder Sid Owen.

But the head judge told The Sun: “What is strange about Strictly is it is a pretty level playing field for everyone. People are saying that as Denise has been in Chicago and Kimberley went to stage school, they have an advantage.

“Equally, with the Olympians and their ethos of training, they have an advantage and so it goes on. But at the end of the day, you can make a case for everyone having a bit of advantage – but none of them have done ballroom or Latin before.”

Len told the newspaper: “I will treat everyone equally… It was like when we had Heather Mills on [Dancing With The Stars] and everybody asked if we would take into account the fact she only had one leg. You have to judge it on what you see.”