Len Goodman slammed for 'casual racism' after saying he doesn't want Strictly Come Dancing to lose 'Britishness' with foreign professionals

Emma Powell
Mocked: Len Goodman's comments didn't sit well with fans of the show: BBC

Former Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman has faced a backlash online after claiming that the show is in danger of employing too many foreign dancers.

Goodman – who was replaced by Shirley Ballas last year – suggested that he didn't want to the show to lose its 'Britishness’.

“I think all those pros are brilliant but I do like that you've got Kevin [Clifton] from Grimsby, and Anton [Du Beke] from up the road," he told the Daily Mail.

“You don’t want to end up with a load of people from, you know, as good as they are. It’s nice to have some British dancers in there.”

Speaking out: Len Goodman with former fellow judge Darcey Bussell (Getty Images)

AJ Pritchard, Amy Dowden, Clifton and Du Beke were the only dancers from Britain last series which included professionals from Slovenia, Australia and Russia among other countries.

Goodman’s comment didn’t sit well with fans who slated his “casual racism” and mocked his comments.

British star: Professional Kevin Clifton with Susan Calman last series (PA)

One tweeted: “Pretty sad to see quotes that Len says #strictly will lose its Britishness if it employs more foreign dancers - as he continues to judge in the US. Variety is the spice of life!”

Another posted simply: “Racist.”

Despite arguing in favour of more British dancers, Goodman deemed Brendan Cole’s departure a “bloody tragedy”.

The New Zealand-born dancer was dropped from the show last month after 14 years.

Speaking about the decision, Goodman said: “I’m so sad – I don't understand why.

“You can’t say he didn't do a great job. He did and there was always a bit of an edge with him: the bad boy of ballroom – he didn't mind answering you back.

“I hope me leaving didn't cause it and I just hope Anton doesn’t go the same way. It’d be a bloody tragedy – he’s got so much character.”

Cole had been a regular on the BBC ballroom show since the first series in May 2004, which he won with news reader Natasha Kaplinsky.