'Strictly Come Dancing' stars in tears as they pay tribute to Caroline Flack in special show

Pasha Kovalev and Caroline Flack dancing in the 'Strictly 2014' final. (BBC)
Pasha Kovalev and Caroline Flack dancing in the Strictly Come Dancing 2014 final. (BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli breaks down in tears as he pays tribute to Caroline Flack in a special new show.

The 40-year-old TV presenter died by suicide on 15 February while awaiting trial on charges of assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton.

She will be remembered in Strictly: The Best Of The Final, celebrating her winning the 12th series of the celebrity dance contest in 2014 and becoming the first contestant to score a perfect 40/40 in her final three dances.

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Tonioli is in tears as he recalls: “She was such fun and great to be with. She really was a joy. We will always love Caroline and we will never forget her.”

Embargoed to 0001 Friday August 24 File photo dated 12/12/17 of Bruno Tonioli, who according to his Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas colleague "loves to run around in his underwear".
Bruno Tonioli becomes tearful paying tribute to Caroline Flack. (PA)

Blowing a kiss to camera he adds: “We love you, my love.”

Flack’s dance partner Pasha Kovalev says: “We saw how she transformed into that beautiful dancer with a big heart on her sleeve. That series will always have a special place in my heart.”

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Host Claudia Winkleman describes her as a champion “who stands out amongst them all', while co-presenter Tess Daly adds: “She lit up the Strictly ballroom every single week.”

Dancer Janette Manrara’s voice cracks as she says: “The highlight was her showdance. You could feel she was lost in the moment. As a performer you can’t ask for more. It is a memory I hold close to my heart.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 15/09/2020 - Programme Name: Strictly The Best Of - TX: 19/09/2020 - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows:  Claudia Winkleman, Tess Daly - (C) BBC - Photographer: screen grab
Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly remember Caroline Flack on Strictly: The Best Of The Final. (BBC)

“I think overall she would have said her Strictly journey was magical. I'm so happy she was able to pick up that glitterball and win.”

And judge Craig Revel Horwood says: “She could turn her hand to any style of dance and be incredible.

“To perform three dances in the final to that level is phenomenal.”

Flack died a month before she was due to face trial, accused of assaulting Burton, though he did not want the charges to go ahead.

Caroline Flack's 'Strictly Come Dancing' win will be remembered with a special tribute show. (PA)
Caroline Flack's Strictly Come Dancing win will be remembered with a special tribute show. (PA)

Flack firmly denied being an abuser, and said in an unpublished social media post released by her family that the incident was an argument and accident.

An inquest recently revealed Flack had had suicidal thoughts prior to her death and had been prescribed medication for insomnia in December 2019, just after being charged.

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Her family have accused the Crown Prosecution Service of pursuing a “show trial” against her because she was in the public eye.

Strictly: The Best Of The Final – looking back at all 17 past series of the show – will air on BBC1 at 8.10pm on Saturday, 10 October.

For confidential emotional support at times of distress, contact The Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.org.

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