Shirley Ballas pays tribute to Strictly icon Len Goodman and fights back tears on Loose Women speaking about last hug

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26 Apr 2023, 17:07

Shirley Ballas pays tribute to Strictly icon Len Goodman and fights back tears on Loose Women

Credit: Rex

Viewers of Loose Women were in pieces as they watched Shirley Ballas try and hold back tears as she recalled seeing national treasure Len Goodman for the last time.

The Strictly head judge spoke about her late friend who passed away in a hospice over the weekend after a short battle with bone cancer.

TV star Shirley has known Len, 78, since she was nine-years-old and shared her grief over losing the much-loved dancing icon.

"I've known Len from a very small child and I have a lot of good friends in the industry and we all loved Len. 

Shirley Ballas

Credit: ITV

"He was a really big part of our lives and he was an icon and humour. He could make the rain go away and he was such a beautiful human being.

"Of course later in my career I trained with him. He was probably responsible for saying to me, 'Shirley, you can take your work seriously, but stop taking yourself so seriously' because I was such a person that wanted to learn all about the technique. 

"And he taught me more about the human spirit. So and I will take that with me forever. He's was just so wonderful. He really was.

"I went to see the launch show last year when Mark [her pro dancer son] decided he was going to do Dancing with the Stars and I saw Len there and I got my last and final cuddle with him there," she said. 

"It was still even though it got quite frail. I thought because I hadn't seen him in a while. 

"He was still you know full of humour. 'Come on over here' you know and he liked a cuddle. I kind of felt like he didn't look the best that I had seen. As a philosophy in the dancing industry, we knew that everybody kept close quarters. We don't put it all out there."

On what she has learnt from Len over the years, she said: "He taught me a lot about how when things go really low for you, pick yourself up. That's what he did."

Talking about the next season of Strictly, she added: "I'm very excited. I don't think I could ever fill Len's shoes but I could my fluffy slippers on. 

Len Goodman

Credit: Disney

"He was always cheerful. He was extraordinary and will be greatly missed and every step I take on this new series I will be thinking of him."

She posted on Twitter: "Thank you @loosewomen for having me on the show today to pay tribute to the wonderful Len Goodman. I wore my black dress for the first time out of respect and I think of the red hearts as hearts of all the @bbcstrictly and @officialdwts pros who I know loved Len so very much…"

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