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It's all Good' TV on memory lane

Strictly Come Dancing favourite Len Goodman celebrates the return of his nostalgic travel series Holiday of My Lifetime

By Gemma Dunn

Published 30/01/2016

Len Goodman and Jasper Carrot
Len Goodman and Jasper Carrot
Len Goodman and Valerie Singleton
Len Goodman and Lisa Riley

If you're struggling to think of a holiday partner, why not try former professional ballroom dancer Len Goodman out for size? He's humble, fun, proactive - "this morning I've put the washing on, got a bit of salmon out of the freezer, and now I'm putting the kettle on" - and, above all else, he's picked up some top tips from his BBC One series, Holiday of My Lifetime.

Returning for a second season, the daytime show - which sees the popular TV personality lead a line-up of celebrity guests down memory lane to relive their favourite childhood summer holidays - will air a total of 25 episodes over a five-week run.

"People are going to be sick of me!" Goodman cries, hooting with laughter. "'Not him again', they'll be saying."

Renowned for his long-standing spot on BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing, and a role as head judge on the American adaptation, Dancing with the Stars, it's hard to imagine anyone would grow tired of the vivacious, Bromley-born host.

Striking up friendships with hordes of famous faces during his 11 years on screen, Goodman admits he "jumped at the chance" to film another term of Holiday of My Lifetime, after enjoying it so much the first time around.

"I love Britain, which is a strong start. And to be paid to explore different places that I've never been to, or heard of, and replicate the time, is great. It's not until you visit that you realise how beautiful and diverse our nation really is," says the 71-year-old, who also runs a ballroom dance school in Dartford, Kent.

"Out of the 25 celebrities we had, everyone was a smasher; we had such a laugh reliving their humorous and heart-warming memories. And, apart from two days in Wales - Barry Island with Jasper Carrott and Llandudno with Melanie Sykes - the weather was great."

Lisa Riley, Toyah Willcox, Pam St Clement, Edwina Currie, Jake Wood, Valerie Singleton and Dan Walker are among the names to feature in the latest series, with destinations such as Haworth, Llangollen, Dartmoor, Bournemouth, Bude, the New Forest and Aberdeen.

The presenter's Strictly co-star Anton du Beke is also packing his suitcase, for a visit to the bright lights of Blackpool, but don't ask Goodman to pick a favourite.

"I can't pick one!" he protests. "Every one of the trips had something about it. For example, I've never been on a narrow boat before, and there I am on the Norfolk Broads with Fiona Phillips.

"They've all been lovely. I've been everywhere, from Herne Bay to the West of Ireland."

Holiday of My Lifetime doesn't simply rely on the destinations for its hit of nostalgia, as it harks back to sights, sounds and smells, in addition to sharing family photographs, archive footage, retro tasty treats and historical insights.

Expect a time before air-con and sat-navs, as journeys are made using an overheated Seventies banger, or a camper van with an eight-track tape player.

"When you get to a certain age, everything was better in the past," muses Goodman, who married his partner of 10 years, Sue Barrett, in 2012, and has a son from a previous marriage.

"Strictly takes you back to a more elegant era with ballroom dancing, and it's the same with this show. For people sitting indoors watching, suddenly they're in the New Forest and they're reminiscing. You can't beat a holiday in Britain, especially when you get lovely weather."

This year will see Goodman celebrate 12 years on the Strictly panel, and the hard-but-fair judge is a keen advocate of success on the dance floor. However, he reveals that he doesn't approve of the romances between some of the celebrity contestants and their professional partners.

"I'm a traditionalist. I don't like it if one of the celebrities is already married or in a serious relationship, but what people get up to is their business. It's not for me to impose my standards on them."

A consummate professional, he's made his mark on the much-loved BBC One show (and is currently on the live tour), but says he "can't hold the gauntlet forever".

"I guess a natural replacement would be Anton du Beke," Goodman ponders.

"He's done ballroom dancing his whole life like me, and he's got a bit of personality, I guess."

Holiday of My Lifetime, BBC1, Monday, 3.45pm

Belfast Telegraph

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