Len Goodman doesn't remember the 'Strictly Come Dancing' winners.

Len Goodman

Len Goodman

The 72-year-old head judge insists he is never particularly impressed by the star names that sign up for the show because he isn't "celebrity savvy", and when it comes to their work on the dancefloor, the past contestants that stay in his mind are always those who were popular despite their lack of ability.

He admitted: "I'm not very celebrity savvy - I know the odd sports person but not the others. I'm a keen golfer, so it was great to shake hands with Tony Jacklin when he was on the show - unfortunately he couldn't dance and was out week one.

"I very clearly remember Ann Widdecombe but I can't remember who won it that year. I very clearly remember John Sergeant but I couldn't tell you who won it that year.

"And in five years' time, I will very clearly remember Ed Balls but I probably won't be able to tell you who wins - so what does that say about me and most of the people watching?

"The overriding thing about Strictly is, as much as we love the dancing, it's about entertainment and the people watching tend to remember the entertainers way more than they do the dancers."

The ballroom expert is set to bow out from the show at the end of the current series, but admitted he was reluctant to sign up in the first place as he worried it would be a "mickey take" and the celebrity contestants wouldn't be able to reach the required standard.

Speaking to the show's host Claudia Winkleman for the festive edition of Radio Times magazine, he said: "I had lots of qualms, lots!

"Firstly I was very worried it might be a mickey take of my little world of ballroom dancing, which of course was totally wrong. I also didn't think the professionals would be able to teach a non-dancer celebrity in a few days to any high standard.

"And I didn't expect ballroom dancing with celebrities would be a success. So it took me a few days to decide."

But Len - who is also a judge on American spin-off 'Dancing With the Stars' - is delighted he signed up as the show "absolutely" changed his life.

He said: "Thank heavens I did say yes, because it absolutely changed my life. Never ever have I regretted doing it, I've been so privileged to be part of the show."

Fans have been distraught over Len's decision to leave the show, but he insists it will be fine without him.

He said: "I've had so many people say to me, 'Len, it won't be the same without you!' But of course it will be.

"'Strictly' is far bigger than any one person. No-one is irreplaceable."

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