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Strictly Come Dancing: Past Winners Ranked from Best to Worst!

Strictly Come Dancing: Past Winners Ranked from Best to Worst!

Right! We’ve seen the first dances of the Class of 2023 on Strictly Come Dancing and you will probably already have thoughts on who is A+ and who ‘Could Do Better’. Watching the show set us thinking about past series and first impressions and end results.

Who is your favourite ever winner of Strictly Come Dancing? And which celebrity do you believe to have been the best performer on the show? In this article, we look back at the 20 celebs who have won the coveted glitterball and rank them from best to worst!

Taking part in Strictly Come Dancing has had a huge impact in the careers of television presenters, actors, musicians and even politicians. Some won over the public with their impassioned performances, while others gained notoriety for having two left feet!

Looking back through the 20 past winners, one thing becomes clear: to win Strictly you need more than just coordination and a sense of rhythm; the champions of the past all brought some other key ingredients, such as style, charm, personality and pizzazz!

As you get ready for the 21st series of the hit BBC show, why not peruse our list of past winners. The celeb we rated most highly is at the top, and you can scroll all the way to the bottom to find out which winner we felt was lucky to be a champion!

Let us know in the comments who would be your best and worst Strictly Come Dancing winner of the past.

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1. Kara Tointon – Series 8, 2010

Kara Tointon – Series 8, 2010
Image source: https://youtu.be/iMMS6AG5_e0?si=Y7y16WmKJMJY6CCy
Image credit: BBC

EastEnders actress Kara Tointon might only have been up against the likes of hapless MP Anne Widdecombe in the 2010 series of Strictly Come Dancing, but she nevertheless put on a stunning performance to win the show. As well as a remarkable talent for everything from ballroom to Latin dance routines, Kara shared an undeniable chemistry with her dance partner Artem Chigvintsev, which led to a televised kiss when they emerged as series winners. Indeed, the pair went on to date for four years before splitting up in 2014. Meanwhile, Kara’s career has seen her take up roles in popular shows such as Lewis, Mr Selfridge, and The Sound of Music Live.

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2. Jill Halfpenny – Series 2, 2004

2. Jill Halfpenny – Series 2, 2004
 Image source: https://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/1391205/Strictly-Come-Dancing-sick-Jill-Halfpenny-The-Drowning-BBC-video
Image credit: GETTY

Joining Kara near the top of our rankings is fellow EastEnder Jill Halfpenny, whose jive to Elton John’s I’m Still Standing went down in Strictly history as Jill and her dance partner Darren Bennett scored a perfect 40 for the first time in the show’s history. Jill and Darren’s showstopping performance was so popular that they were invited to revive it at the Royal Variety Performance at the London Coliseum, and the pair then went on to be crowned Champions of Champions in a special one-off Christmas edition of  Strictly. Jill, whose career started with a role in hit teen drama Byker Grove, followed up her 187-episode spell on EastEnders with roles in Waterloo Road, Humans, Dark Money and Inside No. 9.

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3. Alesha Dixon – Series 5, 2007

Alesha Dixon – Series 5, 2007

Mis-Teeq singer Alesha Dixon broke the record for the highest average score by a Strictly Come Dancing champion when she won series 5 in 2007, wowing the judges with her style, charm, charisma and incredible dance moves. Alesha and her partner Matthew Cutler beat actor Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace in the final, delivering a performance that received a staggering 4.5 million votes. Becoming a champion elevated Alesha’s career, and record labels were fighting over her before she released The Alesha Show in November 2008 on Asylum Records. She scored top 10 hits with The Boy Does Nothing and Breathe Slow, and has since continued her solo career as well as landing jobs as a judge on America’s Got Talent: The Champions, and as a host at the Eurovision Song Contest.

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4. Ore Oduba – Series 14, 2016

Ore Oduba – Series 14, 2016

With an average score of 35.7, Children’s BBC presenter Ore Oduba fought off tough competition from Hollyoaks actor Danny Mac to win series 14 of Strictly, consistently impressing the judges with his highly animated dancing style and evocative use of facial expressions. Ore’s jive to Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars was a big hit, as was his toe-tapping performance to Singin’ in The Rain. Appearing on the show certainly seemed to do Ore’s TV career no harm, as the London-born presenter who started his life on screen with children’s news show Newsround went on to present This Morning, BBC Sport highlights programmes and even the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

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5. Caroline Flack – Series 12, 2014

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Image source: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/rylan-clark-beautiful-caroline-flack-dances-strictly-095558008.html
Image credit: AP

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6. Harry Judd – Series 9, 2011

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Image source: https://www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/news/14167994.mcflys-harry-judd-wins-strictly-christmas-final/
Image credit: BBC

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7. Abbey Clancy – Series 11, 2013

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Image source: https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/abbey-clancy-says-would-love-6437657
Image credit: BBC

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8. Mark Ramprakash – Series 4, 2006

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Following in the footsteps of fellow cricketer Darren Gough who won Strictly the previous year, former England batsman Mark Ramprakash danced his way to success with partner Karen Hardy. Ramprakash was at the peak of his sporting prowess when he appeared on the show, having proven himself as one of the most prolific batsmen in county cricket, and he could have passed for a professional dancer when he performed a salsa to Hot Hot Hot in the final. Ramps topped the leaderboard multiple times and became the first celebrity to score a perfect 40 in series 4. After becoming a Strictly champion, he returned to his cricket career but did come back to the dancefloor in 2008 for a special edition of Strictly that he won, dancing a samba with fellow Strictly champion Kara Tointon.

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9. Louis Smith – Series 10, 2012

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Being an Olympic gymnast can be a useful aid when attempting to win Strictly Come Dancing, and so it proved for Louis Smith who arrived on the show fresh from winning a silver medal at the London Olympic Games just months earlier. After a somewhat patchy start, Smith’s dances started to receive higher and higher scores and he topped the leaderboard for the first time after performing a tango, then did so again with a Charleston. Louis and his partner Flavia Cacace were up against stiff competition in the form of trained dancer Denise Van Outen, but after they prevailed Louis said: “It was brilliant. The training was harder than gymnastics as everything was a new challenge. I never expected to win – I just went out every week with the aim of doing my best.”

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10. Natasha Kaplinsky – Series 1, 2004

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Image source: https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/brendan-cole-reveals-truth-natasha-11962171
Image credit: BBC

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11. Kelvin Fletcher – Series 17, 2019

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Image source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/3W6MbQ3xM7NH45LCpVnyrBv/kelvin-fletcher
Image credit: BBC

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12. Darren Gough – Series 3, 2005

Darren Gough – Series 3, 2005

Still laying a strong claim to being the celebrity who improved most during the course of a single series of Strictly Come Dancing is former England and Yorkshire cricketer Darren Gough, who partnered with Lilia Kopylova in series three and won the show despite never achieving a top score. While his average of 31.2 does not put him in the top echelon of Strictly’s past winners, fast bowler Darren won over viewers by proving himself to be lighter on his feet than anyone expected and committing himself to the adventure of Strictly with perhaps more guts and gumption than many of his peers. His appearance on the show helped to boost his media career, and after he retired from cricket in 2008 he went on to become a presenter on TalkSport, presenting the afternoon drive-time show with Adrian Durham.

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13. Bill Bailey ­– Series 18, 2020

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Image source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/4NL66J3gt9K7qHHsD16vtJJ/bill-bailey
Image credit: BBC

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14. Jay McGuiness – Series 13, 2015

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Image source: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/dec/19/jay-mcguinness-wins-strictly-come-dancing-2015
Image credit: Guy Levy/BBC/PA

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15. Joe McFadden – Series 15, 2017

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Image credit: Guy Levy/BBC/PA

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16. Rose Ayling-Ellis – Series 19, 2021

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17. Hamza Yassin – Series 20, 2022

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Image credit: Guy Levy/BBC/PA Wire

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18. Stacey Dooley – Series 16, 2018

Stacey Dooley – Series 16, 2018
Image source: https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/17301157.stacey-dooley-wins-strictly-come-dancing/
Image credit: BBC

Sometimes it’s not the best dancers who prevail on Strictly Come Dancing, but the contestants who viewers find they can really relate to. That was very much the case with series 16 winner and TV presenter Stacey Dooley, who fended off competition from the likes of professional dancer Ashley Roberts to win in her very own down-to-earth style. There was nothing down-to-earth about the chemistry between Dooley and her dance partner Kevin Clifton, however, and the pair became an item after the show. This year they welcomed their baby girl named Minnie into the world!

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19. Tom Chambers – Series 6, 2008

Tom Chambers – Series 6, 2008

Tom Chambers is a reliably good actor in shows like Holby City, Casualty, Waterloo Road and Father Brown, and reliably good pretty much describes the performances that helped him to win series six of Strictly Come Dancing. There was nothing spectacular about Tom’s dances, but he is a bit of a heartthrob and the public certainly took a shine to him as he and partner Camilla Dallerup won with an average score of 34.5.

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20. Chris Hollins – Series 7, 2009

Chris Hollins – Series 7, 2009

Despite being bottom of our list of Strictly Come Dancing’s past winners and the owner of the unfortunate title of lowest-scoring finalist of the series, BBC Breakfast presenter Chris Hollins is nevertheless a champion after viewers took him to their hearts and voted him to glory. Chris brought a lot of spirit and commitment to his performances, and he was helped immensely by the talents of his partner Ola Jordan, but still emerged with an average score of 30.9 – the record lowest average judges score of any Strictly Come Dancing winner. But try telling that to Chris, who won fair and square with his upbeat personality and enthusiastic performances, before going on to present Cash in The Attic, Watchdog and Secret Britain.

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