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Len Goodman

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Years active

1.83 m

Professional dancer

Len Goodman



Len Goodman Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman will never quit

Full Name
Leonard Gordon Goodman

25 April 1944 (age 80) (
Bromley, Kent, England

Television personality, dance teacher, dancer

Sue Goodman (m. 2012), Cherry Kingston (m. 1972–1987)

Louisa Goodman, Leonard Gordon Goodman

TV shows
Dancing with the Stars, Strictly Come Dancing, Holiday of My Lifetime, Strictly Come Dancing, Auto‑B‑Good

Similar People

Making of DWTS: A Conversation with Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli

Leonard Gordon Goodman (born 25 April 1944) is an English professional ballroom dancer, dance judge, and coach.


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He appears on television dance programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars. He also runs a ballroom dance school in Dartford, Kent.

Len Goodman Len Goodman Goodman Dance Academy Dance Lessons

Len goodman lisa vanderpump dancing on dwts 5 21 13

Early life

Goodman was born in Bethnal Green, London. His birth was registered in Bromley, Kent, the son of Leonard Gordon Goodman, an electrician, and Louisa Adelaide (née Eldridge). One of his maternal great-great-grandfathers was a Polish immigrant.

Goodman moved to Blackfen when he was six years old and attended Westwood Secondary Modern School where he was a member of the cricket team. Goodman started dancing at the age of 19, after a short time as an apprentice welder for Harland and Wolff in Woolwich.

Goodman turned professional, won various competitions, and retired from dancing after winning the British Championships at Blackpool in his late twenties. Goodman is a recipient of the Carl Alan Award, in recognition of outstanding contributions to dance and, in 2006 and 2007, a show in which he appeared was nominated for the Emmy Award in the Outstanding Reality/Competition Program category.

Strictly Come Dancing

Since Strictly Come Dancing began in the UK in 2004, Goodman has appeared as head judge on the dance competition for BBC One, in all series of the show and until the 2016 series, Goodman appeared on the panel with Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli, and Craig Revel Horwood. However, in July 2016, Goodman announced he would be leaving the show at the end of that year's series. His final appearance was on the Christmas Day Special. On 9 May 2017, it was announced that Shirley Ballas would take over from Goodman as head judge.

Dancing with the Stars

Goodman has been the head judge on Strictly Come Dancing's American adaptation, Dancing with the Stars, appearing in all seasons of the program since 2005 with Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and, since 2014, Julianne Hough. He left the show for season 21, but returned the following season.

Other television work

From 30 March to 9 April 2012, Goodman hosted a three-part BBC One documentary that was broadcast in the United States by PBS for the 100th anniversary of the voyage and sinking of the RMS Titanic. It capitalised on his experience as a welder at Harland and Wolff. Goodman interviewed descendants of survivors and introduced viewers to memorials and significant sites in the United Kingdom.

In 2013, Goodman presented the BBC Four programme Len Goodman's Dance Band Days. He also hosted Len Goodman's Perfect Christmas on Boxing Day on BBC One.

In August 2014, Goodman was one of a number of well known faces taking part in ITV's two-part documentary series Secrets from the Clink.

In November and December 2013, Goodman and Lucy Worsley presented the BBC Four three-part show Dancing Cheek to Cheek.

In October 2014, Goodman hosted BBC One show Holiday of My Lifetime. The show returned for a second series in February 2016, where he was featured with Dan Walker, Carol Kirkwood, and many more In November 2015, Len and chef Ainsley Harriott presented the BBC show Len and Ainsley's Big Food Adventure, a 10-part series exploring world cuisine in England and Wales.

Since 2017, Goodman has presented family game show Partners in Rhyme, based on Matt Edmondson's game, Obama Llama.


Since 2013, Goodman has presented a Sunday evening music show on BBC Radio 2 during Paul O'Grady's weeks off. Goodman plays music that he grew up with, mostly of an easy nature together with spoken memories of his young life and family.

Other work

In 2006, he appeared on an all singing/dancing version of The Weakest Link and beat Stacey Haynes in the final to win the prize money of £8050 for charity.

Personal life

Goodman married his dancing partner, Cherry Kingston, but they were later divorced. He then had a long-term relationship with a woman named Lesley who, he wrote, "decided to give up nursing and live with me and help me run the dance school – which was great, because she was full of ideas. Things rolled along pretty nicely for a year until out of the blue Lesley dropped a bombshell. She was pregnant!" Goodman was 36 at this time. Lesley, he wrote, was the ex-wife of "a bloke called Wilf Pine who had managed [the band] Black Sabbath. Lesley and Wilf got married in Connecticut...."

Goodman and Lesley's son, James William Goodman, was born 26 January 1981, but at the age of 12 moved with his mother back to her native Isle of Wight after Lesley and Goodman broke up. As of 2012, James teaches Latin and ballroom dancing at his father's Goodman Dance Centre.

On 30 December 2012, Goodman married his companion of over ten years, Sue Barrett, a 47-year-old dance teacher, in a small ceremony at a London dining club Mosimann's.

Goodman is a West Ham United fan and was featured on the BBC football show Football Focus on 26 September 2009. He is also a keen cricket fan, and, in 2009, took part in a celebrity Ashes cricket game.

Goodman was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2009, which was treated surgically at a London hospital.


In October 2011, Goodman appeared on the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?, in which he discovered that one of his maternal ancestors was a silk-weaver who died a pauper in the Bethnal Green workhouse.

Goodman's great great grandfather, Wincenty Sosnowski, came from Poland, where he fought in the anti-tsarist November Uprising for which he was awarded Virtuti Militari, Poland's highest military decoration for heroism and courage.

Other television work

  • Strictly Come Dancing (2004–2016)
  • Dancing with the Stars (2005–present)
  • Titanic with Len Goodman (2012)
  • Len Goodman's Dance Band Days (2013)
  • Len Goodman's Perfect Christmas (2013)
  • Dancing Cheek to Cheek (2013)
  • Secrets from the Clink (2014)
  • Holiday of My Lifetime (2014–present)
  • Perspectives: For The Love of Fred Astaire (2015)
  • Len and Ainsley's Big Food Adventure (2015)
  • Strictly Len Goodman (2016)
  • Len Goodman's Partners in Rhyme (2017–present)
  • Publications

  • Smith, Rupert (2005), Strictly Come Dancing; dance consultant: Len Goodman. London: BBC Books ISBN 0-563-52293-3
  • References

    Len Goodman Wikipedia

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