Our very own Gareth worked on the first 2 series of Strictly Come Dancing, and his first job on the show was the find and cast the panel of judges. At the time The X Factor had their panel of judges - all well-known names on ITV big money deals. So it was a tall order to find personalities for the BBC who were going to make an impact...
Ballroom dancing is not a maintream subject - until Strictly Come Dancing came along (and the movie Strictly Ballroom) and it was seen as elitist and old-fashioned. So what Gareth wanted to do was to find new and fresh voices in the world of dance to judge the show. Who are the good characters out there, who all share a common love - dance?
Gareth had heard of Arlene but have never met her, and as soon as he called her in for a meeting they got on so well. She is one of the kindest and genuine people you'd meet. She's a woman who is well-respected and feared in the dance world (as she doesn't suffer fools in the rehearsal room!) and this is what Gareth wanted to capture on TV - a woman who was passionate about her subject and anything less than your best is just not good enough.
A panel needs light and shade to work, so we wanted to find someone with a fun personality, but someone who was also credible. Bruno and Arlene knew each other of old, and they had an instant chemistry which is always helpful. And so they worked well with each other.
Then next we needed to find someone who was a bit more straight talking. Someone who will at times create a bit of a drama off the dance floor. Craig fitted the bill, and instantly hit it off with the rest of the team.
Len is the real expert - he's the man who lives and breathes the ballroom world, and his expertise was crutial to the authenticity of the series.
Once we found our 4 judges Gareth then worked with them on finding their own voices, how to work as a team and as individuals and how to create a show within a show when Bruce went over to talk to them. It worked and the panel are a big success.
So who will be Len's replacement as the new Strictly Come Dancing judge? Well we'd love to see Arlene go back, but if that doesn't happen we have an eye on a client of ours who is already the talk of the press in the UK. Here's the showreel we did for him in our private 1 to 1 presenter training. See what you think! And comment below...