Len Goodman

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Len Goodman
Len Goodman 1.JPG
Goodman in 2007
Born Leonard Gordon Goodman
(1944-04-25) 25 April 1944 (age 70)
Bromley, London, England
Occupation Television personality, dance teacher, dancer
Years active 1963–present
Spouse(s) Cherry Kingston (m. 1972–87)
Sue Barrett (m. 2012)

Leonard Gordon "Len" Goodman (born 25 April 1944)[1] is an English professional ballroom dancer, dance judge, and coach. He appears on television dance programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars. He also runs a ballroom dance school in Dartford, Kent.[2]

Early life[edit]

Goodman was born in Bromley, London[3][4] the son of Louisa Adelaide (née Eldridge) and Leonard Gordon Goodman, an electrician.[5][6] One of his maternal great-great-grandfathers was a Polish immigrant.[7]

Goodman moved to Blackfen near Welling (then in Kent) when he was six years old and attended Westwood Secondary Modern School where he was a member of the cricket team.[8] Goodman started dancing at the age of 19 after a short time as an apprentice welder for Harland and Wolff in Woolwich. Goodman turned professional, won various competitions, and retired from dancing after winning the British Championships at Blackpool in his late twenties.[4] Goodman is a recipient of the Carl Alan Award, in recognition of outstanding contributions to dance and, in 2006 and 2007, was nominated for the Emmy Award in the Outstanding Reality/Competition Program category.[1]


Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

Main article: Strictly Come Dancing

Since Strictly Come Dancing began in the UK in 2004, Goodman has appeared as head judge on the dance competition for BBC One, in all series of the show and as of the 2014 series, Goodman appears on the panel with Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood.

Dancing with the Stars[edit]

Goodman is head judge on Strictly Come Dancing's American adaptation, Dancing with the Stars, appearing in all series of the programme since 2005 with Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and since 2014, Julianne Hough. In 2014, it was announced that Goodman would be leaving the show after the Spring 2015 series.[9]


From 30 March to 9 April 2012, Goodman hosted a three-part BBC One documentary that was broadcast in the United States by PBS for the 100th anniversary of the voyage and sinking of RMS Titanic,. It capitalised on his experience as a welder at Harland and Wolff.[10] Goodman interviewed descendants of survivors and introduced viewers to memorials and significant sites in the United Kingdom.

Len Goodman on the cover of Dartford Living, October 2008

In 2013, Goodman presented the BBC Four programme Len Goodman's Dance Band Days. He also hosted Len Goodman's Perfect Christmas on Boxing Day on BBC One.

In August 2014, Goodman was one of a number of well known faces taking part in ITV's two-part documentary series Secrets from the Clink.[11][12]

From 20 October 2014, Goodman hosted BBC One show Holiday of My Lifetime.[13] On 17 November 2013, Goodman and Lucy Worsley presented the BBC Four show Dancing Cheek to Cheek.[14]


In 2013 and 2014, Goodman presented a Sunday evening music show on BBC Radio 2 during Paul O'Grady's weeks off. Goodman played music that he grew up with mostly of an easy nature together with his spoken memories of his young life and family.

Other work[edit]

Goodman has featured in advertisements for food emporium Farm Foods with his catchphrase "It gets a ten from Len".

Personal life[edit]

Goodman married his dancing partner, Cherry Kingston,[15][16] but they were later divorced.[16] He then had a long term relationship with a woman named Lesley who, he wrote, "decided to give up nursing and live with me and help me run the dance school – which was great, because she was full of ideas. Things rolled along pretty nicely for a year until out of the blue Lesley dropped a bombshell. She was pregnant!"[16] Goodman was 36 at this time. Lesley, he wrote, was the ex-wife of "a bloke called Wilf Pine who had managed [the band] Black Sabbath. Lesley and Wilf got married in Connecticut...."[17] Goodman and Lesley's son James William Goodman was born 26 January 1981, but at age 12 moved with his mother back to her native Isle of Wight after Lesley and Goodman broke up.[16] As of 2012, James teaches Latin and ballroom dancing at his father's Goodman Dance Centre.[18]

On 30 December 2012, Goodman married his companion of over ten years, Sue Barrett, a 47-year-old dance teacher, in a small ceremony at a London dining club Mosimann's.[19]

Goodman is a West Ham United fan and was featured on the BBC football show Football Focus on 26 September 2009.[20] He is also a keen cricket fan, and, in 2009, took part in a celebrity Ashes cricket game.[21]

Goodman was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2009,[22] which was treated surgically at a London hospital.


In October 2011, Goodman appeared on the UK's Who Do You Think You Are?,[23] in which he discovered that one of his maternal ancestors was a silk-weaver who died a pauper in the Bethnal Green workhouse. Goodman's great great grandfather Wincenty Sosnowski came from Poland,[24] where he fought in the anti-tsarist November Uprising[25] for which he was awarded Virtuti Militari, Poland's highest military decoration for heroism and courage.[26]


  1. ^ a b Biography from. TVGuide.com (25 April 1944). Retrieved on 23 October 2011.
  2. ^ Graham, Natalie (4 December 2005). "Dancer takes steps to clear home loan". The Times (London). Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2008. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b Wignall, Alice (5 December 2006). "Dancing was what the doctor ordered for Len Goodman". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 6 August 2008. 
  5. ^ Goodman, Len (25 August 2008). "I'm no goody two shoes: Len Goodman reveals his colourful life from his barrow-boy roots to judging the stars' dance moves". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 1 April 2009. 
  6. ^ "Start building your family tree today". 
  7. ^ "Featured Articles – Len Goodman". TheGenealogist.co.uk. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  8. ^ Len Goodman (3 September 2009). Better late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom. Ebury Press. ISBN 0-09-1928036. 
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ "Titanic with Len Goodman". PBS. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  11. ^ "Watch! Secrets from the Clink teaser". RTE.ie. 5 August 2014. 
  12. ^ [3]
  13. ^ "BBC One - Holiday of My Lifetime with Len Goodman". BBC. 
  14. ^ "BBC Four - Dancing Cheek to Cheek: An Intimate History of Dance". BBC. 
  15. ^ Goodman, Len (25 August 2008). "I'm no goody two shoes: Len Goodman reveals his colourful life from his barrow-boy roots to judging the stars' dance moves". UK: Excerpted autobiography, Better Late Than Never (Ebury, 2008), part 1, in Daily Mail. Retrieved 31 December 2012. Henry Kingston ... was a former world champion dancer and a top coach. ... One day, Henry asked if I'd like to partner his teenage daughter, Cherry, and train for some competitions. 
  16. ^ a b c d Goodman, autobiography excerpt, part two, 29 August 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  17. ^ Goodman, Len (2008). Better Late Than Never: My Story. Ebury Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-0091928025. 
  18. ^ "Biography". James Goodman Dance (official site). Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  19. ^ "Len Goodman: Strictly Come Dancing judge, 68, marries long-term girlfriend". Daily Telegraph (UK). 31 December 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  20. ^ BBC SPORT | Football | Football Focus | It's strictly West Ham for Len Goodman. BBC News (26 September 2009). Retrieved on 23 October 2011.
  21. ^ "Len Goodman plays cricket! - Photo - DWTS - Dancing With The Stars". 
  22. ^ Heldman, Breanne L. (29 June 2009). "Dancing With the Stars' Len Goodman Tangos With Cancer". E! Online. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  23. ^ "Strictly judge Len Goodman's ancestors died in the workhouse". The Daily Telegraph (London). 2 March 2011. 
  24. ^ "Slavery, bigamy, adoption... A new series of Who Do You Think You Are? unearths more shocking secrets from the stars' pasts". The Daily Mail (London). 29 July 2011. 
  25. ^ "Grudziądz. Telewizja BBC kręciła film w Cytadeli". Gazeta Pomorska (Bydgoszcz, Poland). 9 March 2011. 
  26. ^ Len Goodman at bbc.co.uk/iplayer. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved on 23 October 2011.

External links[edit]