Strictly Come Dancing pays tribute to Caroline Flack in festive countdown

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
·3-min read

Strictly Come Dancing has paid tribute to former champion Caroline Flack in a special Christmas episode looking back on the 25 best performances from the show’s history.

The former Love Island host, who took her own life in February at the age of 40, appeared twice in the top ten with routines from her 2014 appearance on the show.

Her Charleston to Istanbul (Not Constantinople) with partner Pasha Kovalev was voted the fifth best of all time by Strictly viewers while her showdance to Angels by Robbie Williams came eighth.

Strictly Come Dancing 2014
Flack and Kovalev performing the Charleston (Guy Levy/BBC)

Host Tess Daly said Flack was  “one of the highest-scoring female celebrities ever to grace the Strictly dancefloor” while co-host Claudia Winkleman described her as “the brilliant Caroline Flack”.

Reflecting on their victory, Kovalev said: “Winning Strictly was such an incredible feeling, it’s truly hard to describe.

“For Caroline it was proof that all of her hard work paid off and she took home the glitterball trophy.”

Judge Craig Revel Horwood added: “I think Caroline was a really worthy champion.”

The duo’s showdance, which took eighth place on Strictly: The Christmas Countdown, was praised by former judge Alesha Dixon, who said: “What was so beautiful about Caroline and Pasha’s showdance was she was her authentic self within the dance, you could see her heart, you could see her passion.

Strictly Come Dancing 2014
Tho duo performing the showdance (Guy Levy/BBC)

Kovalev added: “Through the dance Caroline managed to show her real emotions and I think that is the key why audiences could connect and feel exactly what was happening on the dancefloor.

“The final spin of our dance was beautiful because that is when she believed that she is a dancer.”

Revel Horwood continued: “This dance made the countdown because it’s beautiful, it shows Caroline at her very best.

“Beautiful technique, beautiful emotion and beautifully danced.”

The list was topped by The Wanted singer Jay McGuiness and his partner Aliona Vilani for their 2015 jive to You Never Can Tell/Misirlou  from Pulp Fiction.

Strictly Come Dancing 2015
Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani dancing the jive (Guy Levy/BBC)

The star, who won his series, said: “I can’t believe that we are number one, I am so happy. Oh my god, it’s just amazing.

“Like many dances, it’s one of those where anything could go wrong but on the night it all just came together perfectly.

“At the end of the dance it was a huge flood of relief but also I was overwhelmed.

“Having that dance as number one is the best Christmas present, so thank you very much.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2016
Ed Balls and Katya Jones dancing to Gangnam Style (Guy Levy/BBC)

Professional dancer Oti Mabuse, who won the 2020 series of the show with comedian Bill Bailey, had two sambas in the top five, with her routine with 2019 winner Kelvin Fletcher to La Vida Es Un Carnaval taking third place and her performance to Magalenha with Danny Mac in 2016 coming in second.

Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls was celebrated for his famous salsa to Gangnam Style with Katya Jones, taking fourth spot on the countdown.