Belfast Telegraph

Strictly bosses considering Helen Richey as Len Goodman replacement

Strictly Come Dancing bosses are hoping to hold a meeting with Australian judge Helen Richey about replacing Len Goodman.

Strictly Come Dancing bosses are keen to replace seasoned judge Len Goodman with his Australian counterpart Helen Richey.

Len, 72, announced in July (16) that he would be stepping down as head judge on the U.K. reality show following the 2016 series, and BBC executives had been reportedly looking at professional dancers such as Anton Du Beke and Brendan Cole to replace him.

However, they are now casting their net wider and want to hire a woman to hit their diversity targets, and are reportedly keen to hold talks with Helen, who judges the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars.

“Helen is known across the dancing world and highly respected," a source told Britain's The Sun newspaper. “She’s been a judge in Australia for 12 years so is used to the cameras and has a similar calm temperament to Len."

Helen, 71, formerly competed in ballroom and Latin dancing and following her retirement she became a leading coach and competition adjudicator. She has been a judge on the Australian show since it began in 2004, the same year Len become a judge on the first season of Strictly.

If she is hired, Helen will join returning judges Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood.

Len previously gave his backing to Anton and former Strictly professional Karen Hardy, but according to The Sun, Brendan was ruled out of the race for being perceived as "too cocky".

The news comes shortly after TV presenter Ore Oduba, who works for BBC Sport, and DJ/presenter Melvin Odoom, known for The Xtra Factor, were announced as the show's latest contestants.

“I’ve been such a huge fan of the show for over a decade," Ore said in a statement. "So to actually take to the Strictly stage myself, I don’t think I’ve been more nervously excited – aside from on my wedding day. Let’s hope for fewer tears.”

They join politician Ed Balls, pop star Will Young, and presenter Laura Whitmore.

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