Since its first ever series back in 2004, Strictly Come Dancing has awarded 18 celebrities with its iconic glitterball trophy. Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse were the latest couple to sashay away with it and this year Rose Ayling-Ellis and professional dancer, Giovanni Pernice, are favourites to win.
We can’t believe the show has been entertaining us for almost two decades now and has, without a doubt, revived our love and lust for ballroom dancing. From where it all started with Natasha Kaplinsky to Alesha Dixon and Stacey Dooley, we take a look back at the Strictly Come Dancing winners and what they’re up to since departing the dance floor.
Strictly Come Dancing winners (stacked)
BBC newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky was the first celebrity to dance her way to victory in the summer of 2004 with professional dancer Brendan Cole. She finished 39 points ahead of her fellow finalis, Christopher Parker, and received the highest points for eight out of the 10 dances on the series.Since the competition, Natsha went on to have two children, Arlo and Angelica and was awarded an OBE for her services to the Holocaust Commission. She continued her career in journalism leaving the BBC in 2008, before joining Channel 5 and then ITV.
Also in 2004 (but this time in December) soap actress Jill Halfpenny also became a Strictly champion alongside her dance partner Darren Bennett. Their Jive was the first ever Strictly routine to score a full house of 40 points, so we're not surprised she went on to win!Jill was most well known for starring as Rebecca Hopkins in Coronation Street and Kate Mitchell in EastEnders. After Strictly she continued her acting career before stepping onto the West End, performing in plays such as Uncle Vanya and even Chicago. Now, she's a broadcaster for BBC Radio 2, which she's been doing since 2017.
English cricketer Darren Dough stole the glitterball trophy from the likes of Zoe Ball and chef James Martin, despite never reaching the top of the Strictly leaderboard with his dance partner, Lilia Kopylova. The pair also went on to win the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special in 2005. Darren retired from his cricketing career in 2008. The following year he became a presenter on the sport radio station Talk Sport, which he is still currently doing.
You may remember England cricketer Mark Ramprakash was the first ever contestant to restart a routine on Strictly after his microphone got caught in his dance partner's dress. However despite the hiccup, they still received the highest score! He was the second cricketer to bowl through and take home the glitterball in 2006. The sportsman soon departed from playing on the cricket pitch to coaching on it instead, and became the batting coach for the England cricket team. He then departed this role in 2019.
Former R&B singer Alesha Dixon lifted the glitterball in 2007 alongside her dance partner Matthew Cutler in what was a very close final, as she finished just two points ahead of actor Matt Di Angelo. Since her time on the dance floor, we've seen Alesha sit on the Strictly judging panel herself from 2009 to 2011, before leaving to judge on Britain's Got Talent, America's Got Talent and then Australia's Got Talent.
Holby City and Casualty actor Tom Chambers' Strictly win alongside Camilla Dallerup became somewhat controversial, as despite scoring the lowest of the three finalists the public still made him their winner. Tom clearly enjoyed his time on the dance floor, as he starred in a stage version of the musical Top Hat, before returning for two Strictly Christmas Specials in 2008 and 2015.
Ola Jordan helped breakfast presenter Chris Hollins dance his way to victory in 2009. After the show he continued with his presenting career at the BBC for various shows including The Rescues, Cash In The Attic, and The Food Inspectors. He is also a presenter for BT Sport Live.
It wasn't just the glitter ball that Eastenders actress Kara Tointon left with at the end of her time on Strictly, but a new love with her professional dance partner Artem Chigvintsev. The pair even celebrated their win with a kiss - how romantic! Since Strictly Kara continued a successful acting career taking to the stage too. Her most notable role was playing Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion in the West End and the ITV live production of The Sound of Music, where she played Maria.Sadly, Kara and Artem's Strictly romance didn't last and the couple decided to part ways in 2014.
McFly drummer Harry Judd stole the winning spot in series 9 with professional dancer Aliona Vilani, beating fellow finalists Chelsee Healey & Jason Donovan. Harry fought hard to take the winning spot and didn't top the leaderboard until week 7, but from then on he received high 30s throughout the rest of the competition.Since Strictly, Harry returned to the band McFly and released new music with them in 2020. More recently he welcomed baby number three into the world with his wife, Izzy Judd.
Louis took home bronze and glitter in 2012 after his success at the 2012 Olympics and on the Strictly dance floor, with dance partner Flavia Cacace. In the final he danced against Denise Van Outen and Girls Aloud's Kimberley Walsh, receiving the lowest score from the judges. But it didn't matter, as the British public voted for him to be their winner. Louis continued to represent Great Britain in the Olympics before retiring and swapping gymnastics for the theatre. He even continued doing some dancing too and took part in this years series of The Masked Dancer and won!
Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Skorjanec's routine regularly stole the show, so we weren't surprised when the pair were crowned the Strictly winners in 2013.After the show Abbey went on to become a judge Britain's Next Top Model and welcomed her fourth child with husband Peter Crouch in 2019.
Caroline Flack and partner Pasha Kovalev became the first and still are the only Strictly couple to receive 40 points for all three dances in the final. Caroline continued a successful TV career after the show, presenting on the X-Factor alongside Olly Murs and on ITV's Love Island. Sadly, Caroline took her own life in February 2020 and our thoughts are with all who knew her. Since Caroline's passing, her mum Christine has become an advocate for mental health.
Jay McGuiness was one of four members from boy band The Wanted and won with partner Aliona Vilan. The singer credited much of his success to his dance partner and on winning told her: "You deserve it so much, you really do." After taking a musical break for seven years, The Wanted are now back together and are embarking on a UK tour in 2022.
The TV and radio presenter was known for wearing his heart on his sleeve throughout the competition, regularly getting emotional throughout the series. But he shed tears of joy after beating Louise Redknapp and ex Hollyoaks star Danny Mac, which saw him take home the glitter trophy.In 2019 he began his musical theatre career, starring in the UK Tour of Grease and made his West End debut in January 2020.
Joe McFadden was the second Holby City actor to win Strictly with partner Katya Jones. He may not have been a natural dancer at the start, but he certainly came out on top beating Alexandra Burke, Debbie McGee and Gemma Atkinson in the final. After Strictly he performed in the UK tour of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert.
The journalist and broadcaster beat show favourite, Joe Sugg, with her dance partner Kevin Clifton. The couple had clearly fallen for each other while on the show as shortly after it was announced they were a couple. Stacey went on to make two more documentaries and made appearances on other TV shows, including Glow Up and most recently presented DNA Family Secrets alongside Turi King, which helps people find out secrets about their families through DNA tests. Stacey and Kevin are also still together.
Despite entering as a replacement for reality TV star Jamie Laing who injured his foot, former Emmerdale actor Kelvin stole the show and came out on top with his dance partner Oti Mabuse. Kelvin is a self-confessed 'petrol head' and has taken part in many motorsport races, including the British GT Championships.
Bill blew everyone's socks off and became the oldest contestant in Strictly history to take home the glitterball trophy. It was a big moment for his partner Oti Mabuse too, as their victory marked her second win. Bill's back to doing what he loves best, which is making us laugh, as well as playing his guitar and spending lots of time outdoors.
EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis, who was the first ever deaf contestant to take part in Strictly, and her professional dancer Giovanni Pernice beat GBBO star John Whaite and Johannes Radebe for the Glitterball after a tense 2021 finale. Rose, who plays Frankie on the BBC soap, was applauded by deaf communities over the world for raising awareness of sign language and how being deaf doesn't affect your ability to dance.