The Strictly final proved Craig Revel Horwood is the one thing keeping the show afloat - if he quits millions will follow, analysis by Alex Davies

Craig Revel Horwood

Craig Revel Horwood has faced exit rumours since the finale

BBC
Alex Davies

By Alex Davies


Published: 18/12/2023

- 15:00

Updated: 18/12/2023

- 15:26

In a world where the slightest offence can have you lynched by the #BeKind mob, Revel Horwood's candor needs protecting more than the sequins, says GB News' Digital Entertainment Editor

Another year and another Strictly Come Dancing champion has been crowned.

In what was a result that caught absolutely nobody off-guard, Coronation Street actor Ellie Leach and pro partner Vito Coppola lifted the Glitterball.


The finale did its best to try and keep viewers entertained despite the foregone conclusion - there was a group number of all this year's cast, a remarkable return to the ballroom for Amy Dowden, and finally a perfect score of 40 for Leach.

But despite peaking higher than last year's finale, its average audience not only underperformed in comparison, but it marked one of the most woeful performances from any Strictly finale in recent memory.

Approximately 8.7 million tuned in on average - a standalone number that is definitely not one to be sniffed at.

However, it marks a steadying decline for the Beeb's most prized possession as more and more year upon year seem to be tuning out.

WATCH HERE: Ellie and Vito win this year's Strictly Come Dancing

Arguments as to why vary - have people grown tired of seeing trained performers pitted against novices? Or have people decided its not worth wasting their time week after week only to see the results leak online without fail?

It may be hard to pinpoint exactly why Strictly is shedding viewers but it shouldn't be lost on critics that it is still a somewhat ratings powerhouse.

But that could all change next year if some rather worrying rumours that have since emerged from the finale come to fruition.

The Mirror has reported that panto villain judge Craig Revel Horwood looks set to ditch his spot on the panel next year having been on the show since the very beginning.

Much of the concern stems from the fact the typically hardened judge was overcome with emotion in several instances during the finale and exhibited body language which - apparently - signifies an imminent departure.

Revel Horwood's even responded to criticism calling for his head online, telling one disgruntled fan: "You're entitled to your wrong opinion, that's fine."

And according to odds shared exclusively with GB News by bettingsites.co.uk, Revel Horwood is odds-on at 1/3 to leave the show for good.

The BBC can't let that happen.

Craig Revel Horwood and his fellow judges

Craig Revel Horwood and his fellow judges during the 2023 finale

BBC

I'm well aware Revel Horwood's stern act is exactly that, an act, but it's the only thing that stops Strictly becoming a monotonous back-slapping love-in that's showered in sparkles - putting glitter on a certain domestic pet's excrement springs to mind.

He also knows how to get the exact right balance of constructive criticism, professional advice, words of stern warning, and the occasional upbeat parting word without coming across as bitter or nasty.

The same can't be said for head judge Shirley Ballas, for example, whose comments each year land her in hot water for supposed favouritism with a particular demographic of contestants.

Finalist Layton Williams even had to explain to two concerned This Morning presenters earlier this year that there wasn't a feud or anything, Ballas just has the subtlety of a Piers Morgan doorstep rant following a royal court case.

WATCH NOW: Craig Revel Horwood defends his strict scoring

Meanwhile, Bruno Tonioli's replacement Anton du Beke is too busy waving his arms about or crying or waving his arms about and crying to deliver anything substantial for each pair to mull over, and Motsi Mabuse manages to say a lot of words without actually saying anything at all.

That's why Revel Horwood is essential because amid the palm-blistering applause, the clutching of tissues when the cameras are on to wipe away non-existent tears, the childish chants from the balcony of professional dancers, and the vanilla-est of vanilla presenting duos, he actually offers something different.

For now, Revel Horwood has remained tight-lipped about his future on the show and whether 2024 could be the first series without him on the panel.

But given the year-on-year declining ratings and the fact we are in a world where the slightest slip-up can have you lynched by the #BeKind mob, Revel Horwood's candor needs protecting more than the sequins of the outfits.

If he were to leave the show, there is no doubt millions of viewers would follow suit and switch off.