Come Dancing

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Come Dancing
GenreTalent show
Created byEric Morley
Presented byGuest presenters
Peter West
Terry Wogan
Peter Marshall
David Jacobs
Angela Rippon
Rosemarie Ford
Narrated byBarri Haynes
Ray Moore
Bruce Hammal
Charles Nove
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes424
Original networkBBC One
Original release29 September 1949 (1949-09-29) –
29 December 1998 (1998-12-29)
Followed byStrictly Come Dancing
Related showsTelevision Dancing Club (1948–64)

Come Dancing is a British ballroom dancing competition show that ran on and off on the BBC from 1949[1] to 1998. Unlike its follow-up show, Strictly Come Dancing, contestants were not celebrities.

The show was created by Eric Morley, the founder of Miss World, and began in 1949 by broadcasting from regional ballroom studios, with professional dancers Syd Perkin and Edna Duffield on hand to offer teaching. In 1953, the format changed to become a competition, with later series seeing regions of the United Kingdom going head to head for the coveted trophy.

In 1950, Come Dancing joined Television Dancing Club, and the two programmes ran on alternate weeks until 1964, when the latter finished.[2] At its peak, in the late 1960s and 1970s, it attracted audiences of ten million.[3] The last regular series was aired in 1995[3] (with no series in 1982 or 1987), this was followed by International Come Dancing specials in 1996 and 1998. The final episode, a 50th anniversary special, was aired on 29 December 1998.[4]


The many presenters over the years included Peter West,[5] McDonald Hobley,[6] Charles Nove,[7] Terry Wogan,[8] Brian Johnston,[6] Angela Rippon,[8] Michael Aspel,[9] David Jacobs, Judith Chalmers,[8] Pete Murray[10] and Rosemarie Ford.[8] Commentators included Ray Moore and Bruce Hammal.


In 2004, a relaunched celebrity version entitled Strictly Come Dancing, hosted by Bruce Forsyth (2004–13), Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman (2014–) debuted on BBC One, and became a success with Saturday evening audiences. The title is an amalgamation of the titles of both the 1992 Australian film Strictly Ballroom and Come Dancing. The format of the newer show has been successfully exported to other countries as Dancing with the Stars or similar names in local languages.


  1. ^ James J. Nott (2015). Going to the Palais: A Social and Cultural History of Dancing and Dance Halls in Britain, 1918-1960. Oxford University Press. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-19-960519-4.
  2. ^ "Television Dancing Club". Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Come Dancing waltzes back". The Bolton News. 24 October 2003. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  4. ^ "BBC Programme Index". Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  5. ^ "Obituary: Peter West". the Guardian. 3 September 2003. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  6. ^ a b "BBC - Cult - Classic TV - Come Dancing (1949-1998)". Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  7. ^ "BBC - Radio 2 - Presenters - Charles Nove". Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  8. ^ a b c d "First episode of Come Dancing". Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Michael Aspel: 'I'm just not a happy person'". The Independent. 24 May 2004. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  10. ^ "BBC - History of the BBC, Actor, DJ, Come Dancing presenter – Pete Murray did it all". BBC. Retrieved 2 April 2022.

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