Arlene Phillips says Len Goodman 'will be missed' after his death
‘He didn’t want anyone to know he was ill’: Arlene Phillips says Len Goodman ‘will be missed’ as she pays tribute to former Strictly co-star after his death
Arlene Phillips has paid tribute to her former Strictly Come Dancing co-star Len Goodman after his death aged 78.
The Strictly Come Dancing legend died at a hospice in Tunbridge Wells on Saturday following a short battle with bone cancer, days ahead of his 79th birthday.
Appearing on Lorraine on Tuesday, Arlene, 79, said Len ‘didn’t want anyone to know he was sick’ and told how ‘he will be missed’ by everyone who knew him.
Arlene and Len were both part of the inaugural Strictly judging panel in 2004 alongside Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood.
Choreographer Arleen recalled how Len wasn’t sure about the show in the beginning.
Friend: Arlene Phillips has paid tribute to her former Strictly Come Dancing co-star Len Goodman after his death aged 78
Icon: The Strictly Come Dancing legend died at a hospice in Tunbridge Wells on Saturday following a short battle with bone cancer , d ays ahead of his 79th birthday
She said: ‘We did the pilot together and he had to rush off to get to dinner with [his wife] Sue and he was like, “I’m not sure about this. If you’re doing it, I’m doing it otherwise were are not doing it.”
‘And then the show that started off slowly became this monster.’
Arlene added: ‘He put the strict in Strictly, he didn’t like any of the fluffy stuff.’
The TV star told how former judge Bruno messaged her after Len’s death, saying he wasn’t aware the dancer had been ill.
She said: ‘Bruno messaged me yesterday and he didn’t know he was ill, he didn’t want anyone to know he was ill. He was out on the golf course in the early morning.’
Arlene was famously dropped from the Strictly judging panel after the 2008 series and replaced by Alesha Dixon.
She recalled how Len supporting her during this period, saying: ‘We shared a lot even when I was dropped Len was always there, he will be missed and he will be missed because when people met him, they were warmed by him.
‘They way he spoke, there was always truth whether they like it or not it was what they needed.’
Co-stars: Arlene and Len were both part of the inaugural Strictly judging panel in 2004 alongside Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood
Candid: Arlene, 79, said Len ‘didn’t want anyone to know he was sick’ and told how ‘he will be missed’ by everyone who knew him
She said: ‘They way he spoke, there was always truth whether they like it or not it was what they needed’
Len’s colleagues on Dancing With The Stars were left blindsided by the long-term judge’s death after they were kept in the dark about his bone cancer diagnosis.
Those who worked with him in the United States claim he was ‘laughing and joking’ during his final season on Dancing With The Stars in November.
While some acknowledged that the characteristically jovial Len was ‘slowing down,’ they attributed it to his advancing years and remained unaware he was battling a terminal cancer diagnosis.
An insider told The US Sun: ‘Len was such a pro that the moment the cameras and light came on, he became the consummate showman.’
According to the source, he told show bosses: ‘Don’t bother asking me to do a dance for my farewell, because that ain’t happening, I just like to shuffle around these days!’
Len was a successful professional ballroom dancer, winning the British championships in his late twenties before retiring from the sport and opening a dance school.
Much later in life, he chaired the judging panel on Strictly Come Dancing from its launch in 2004 until 2016, and on its U.S. counterpart for most of the period from 2005 until 2022.
He took a warm, supportive but critical approach as he watched celebrities taking on tangos and waltzes, adding a down-to-earth touch to the otherwise frequently flamboyant panel of judges.
Arlene added: ‘He will be missed and he will be missed because when people met him, they were warmed by him’
‘Len … appealed to all ages and felt like a member of everyone’s family. Len was at the very heart of Strictly’s success. He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said.
Len was born and grew up in London, and said he only took up dancing reluctantly at the age of 19 after a doctor said it would help him recover from a foot injury.
As a teacher, he said his priority was to make ballroom dancing “enjoyable and sociable”.
Speaking in 2012, following treatment for prostate cancer, he said he most hoped to be remembered for being “genuinely nice”.
‘I would like there to be people who can honestly say: ‘Len! Oh yeah, there was more good than bad in him,’ he said.
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