Strictly Come Dancing judges Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood have revealed they never thought the series could be a hit

Strictly Come Dancing judges Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood have revealed they never thought the series could be a hit. Speaking to TV Times writer Emma Bullimore for BBC5Live documentary Puttin’ on the Glitz: The Strictly Story, Bruno remembered the atmosphere when the show launched in 2004.

“It was petrifying, we had no idea what we were doing,” said Bruno, who was part of the original panel alongside Craig, Len Goodman and Arlene Phillips.

“We didn’t know how we were going to be received, because it’s never been done before. Combining ballroom and judges and celebrities, it was an unknown entity and nobody knew what was going to happen.”

Craig added: “I thought it was an awful idea, car crash television. I said, it’ll be the end of my career. And I really thought it would be off the air in three weeks. Len and I, after the first show, said no, that was absolutely terrible, no one’s going to think that’s good.”

Series one featured celebrities such as David Dickinson, Claire Sweeney and Lesley Garrett and was won by Natasha Kaplinsky, dancing with Brendan Cole.

Brendan and Anton du Beke (dancing with Charlotte Hawkins and Ruth Langsford this year) are the only two professional dancers who have been on the show since series one. Anton remembers the days when it was a struggle to get journalists interested in the show.

“It was terribly exciting, the very first press launch was at Claridges. Brucie and Tess introduced the celebrities and dancers, and then the press only came up with about four questions. It was unbelievable, no one knew what to ask!”

 

To listen to the full documentary and discover more Strictly secrets tune into BBC 5Live, Saturday 16th September (tomorrow night) at 8pm.