Craig Revel Horwood on Strictly 2018, his love for Berkshire and being slapped by a fan in Newbury
PUBLISHED: 12:48 12 November 2018
Strictly’s waspish judge talks candidly about the show, why same sex couples should be given the chance to dance together and the day one irate fan slapped him on the face in Newbury
Craig Revel Horwood is the Strictly judge we all love to hate, though secretly we think he does a great job. He’s been on the judging panel right from the beginning of the show back in 2004 and in that time has had many celebrities in tears (if they’re terrible) or bursting with pride if they’ve done a good job.
Away from the show, he’s a man in demand, popping up on stage around the country and when Strictly finishes this year you’ll be able to see him playing the Wicked Stepmother in pantomime at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking over Christmas and New Year 2018/19.
Here, Craig, 53, reveals why he still loves every episode of the show and why Berkshire holds a special place in his heart.
Who are you tipping to win Strictly this year? (this article originally published on 17 October in our November 2018 issue)
I’ve got my eye on Casualty star Charles Venn and Karen Clifton. They make a really great dancing couple.
You’ve been doing the show now for 14 years. How do you keep so enthusiastic about it?
Every year there is a new and different energy from the celebrities which keeps it fresh and vibrant. No two years are ever the same.
Do you think audiences are ready to see same sex couples dance?
Yes, without a doubt, and I have always been a strong advocate for the idea.
Who’s the naughtiest host? Claudia or Tess?
Claudia Winkleman without a doubt!
How does the show feel different now that Shirley Ballas is head judge?
Shirley explains things more technically than Len used to which is great for aspiring dancers wanting to learn more about dancing.
Did you still see Len socially?
Sadly no, it would be great to catch up with him.
Over the years, who has been your favourite contestant and why?
Cricketer Mark Ramprakash who came from the dance gutter and worked his way up to win in 2006. He was an absolute inspiration.
You are known for being the show’s toughest judge. Has this ever got you in trouble when you’re out in public?
Yes! I had my face slapped one day in Newbury, which was quite a shock.
Away from Strictly, can you describe your ideal day out?
A romantic picnic with someone special in a field by a stream would be wonderful.
Do you still go out dancing yourself? And if so, where do you like to go?
Sadly, I no longer go out dancing.
Do you feel differently about your family after appearing on Who Do You Think You Are?
Yes, it was really exciting to learn so much more about my family and to draw on my clog dancing heritage in the piece I choreographed for The Ballet Boys.
You’ve come a long way from Ballarat. Do you think you will ever live back in Australia and would you go back to Melbourne?
No, I don’t think so.
Who’s your closest friend?
My boyfriend, Jonathan Myring. He’s a real keeper.
You have friends in Berkshire. What do you like so much about the county and where would you recommend Berkshire Life readers to eat and drink in Berkshire?
I would recommend going to see a show at the enchanting Watermill Theatre in Newbury, they have a splendid bar and restaurant. You’ll have a great night out there.
You are a patron for the National Osteoporosis Society. Why does this mean so much to you?
My mother suffers from horrible arthritis and encouraging people to dance at an early age can help save people from the same fate.
What, if anything, do you miss about pre mobile days?
Nothing at all. In my job my mobile is an absolute lifeline – it helps me know what I am supposed to be doing next.
After more than 30 years in showbiz, do you have any ambitions left?
Who knows what might come along? I’m looking forward to something fabulous!
2019 looks set to be busy for you. Are you looking forward to starring as Miss Hannigan in Annie?
Yes I absolutely love the character of Miss Hannigan. It’s a dream role for me.
What are you planning to do for Christmas and New Year?
I will be playing the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella in pantomime at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking so that will keep me very busy.
• Alistair McGowan on getting involved with the Mane Chance gala and his tour with Jasper Carrott - The impressionist, actor, singer, writer and now pianist shares some thoughts on everything from music to the less welcome sounds of Heathrow before appearing in Berkshire