Deciding not to go for a promotion can sometimes seem like an odd thing to do. That's why a lot of fans were asking why Strictly Come Dancing's Craig Revel Horwood's head judge elevation didn't come about after Len Goodman retired. Didn't he want it? Well, he's now spoken out and finally revealed why.
When Goodman left the show, speculation was rife as to who would replace him. He'd been part of the series ever since it started way back in 2004, so his replacement was always going to be a big deal. Of course, Horwood's name was mentioned among the possible successors. And it turns out, the judge did carefully consider it. But after a lot of think, he opted out of the race.
In a new interview with The Express, Horwood said: "I don’t see myself as a mediator. The role as head judge... you have to be the mediator and I am who I am and love the job I do. I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I didn’t want the responsibility, I like where I am at the moment I think it’s good."
After a lot of discussions, the job eventually went to Shirley Ballas, who completed her first Strictly season as head of the panel last year. It had previously seemed as though there might be a bit of tension between the pair after the choreographer called the Queen of Latin's feedback "frighteningly technical" and described her as a "villain" during an interview with The Sun.
But he's firmly put any suggestions of bad blood to bed now by insisting that he thought Ballas was a "fantastic choice" to replace Goodman. He added: "It’s great having a woman in that position as well because we have a very even amount of commenting which I think is fantastic. She also knows exactly what she is talking about and she tells people the truth and I love that I thought she was fantastic."
Although Ballas hasn't officially confirmed whether she will be returning to Strictly this year, Horwood hinted that he expects to see her back on the panel. Not only that but he thinks it's going to be a "really good" season with her. "She knows exactly what she is talking about and she tells people the truth and I love that I thought she was fantastic," he continued.
Opening up about whether she will come back to Strictly for another series, Ballas recently revealed that she has been asked by producers. However, it is still unclear on whether she would get a pay rise that would see her earn the same amount as her predecessor Goodman should she accept the offer.
Speaking on Loose Women, Ballas made it clear she wasn't happy about the gender pay gap but thought that she had to prove herself in her first series. Now though, she expects BBC bosses to make some changes. She said: "I do believe if a woman is doing the same job then everyone should be on equal pay. I do understand my first time on Strictly was a trial, you’ve got to see you can do the job... I’m sure [the BBC will] be fair." Fingers crossed the BBC follows Horwood's lead on this one and plays to its women-supporting strengths.
Ballas' appointment was landmark decision from the BBC as it gave Strictly a judging panel with equal numbers of both genders for the first time. The show also made waves when it became the first prime-time show to be presented by two women when Claudia Winkleman replaced Bruce Forsyth. Following the late star's retirement, she joined Tess Daly on presenting duties.
The Strictly panel itself is proof of the value of great chemistry in any line-up. Darcey Bussell's kindness and Bruno Tonioli's comedy provide the light relief and Revel Horwood's strong opinions provide the shade, while new head judge Shirley Ballas keeps them all in line. All of the show's judges are in roles that suit their personalities down to the ground and it shows. It's all part of that sparkly Strictly magic.