Strictly Come Dancing: Where are the winners now?

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Strictly Come Dancing’s star-studded list of winners includes the likes of Caroline Flack, Alesha Dixon and Louis Smith.

As the BBC series prepares to crown its 2019 winner, we look back at some of the show’s most talented and best-loved winners.

Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole – 2004

Natasha Kaplinsky (Ian West/PA)

The former BBC presenter was the first ever winner of Strictly.

She was way ahead of her fellow competitors, collecting the highest marks for eight of the 10 dances featured in the first series.

In the final, she finished 39 points ahead of the runner-up, EastEnders star Christopher Parker.

New Zealand-born Cole’s relationship with fellow professional dancer Camilla Dallerup ended soon after series one.

She called off their engagement, kicking off the so-called “Strictly curse” which has seen a host of celebrity contestants and dancers split from partners either while competing on, or following, the show.

Professional dancer Cole, who appeared in the first 15 series of the BBC One programme, announced in 2018 that his contract for the show had not been renewed.

This year he competed in The X Factor: Celebrity, which saw stars from various fields try their hand at singing.

Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova – 2005

Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova (BBC/PA)

The no-nonsense Yorkshire cricketer bowled everyone over when he appeared on the show in 2005.

Incredibly, he won series three despite never finishing top of the judges’ leaderboard.

But it was his dance journey that captivated the voting public – going from a blokey sports figure noticeably embarrassed to be seen in sequins to embracing his inner-Fred Astaire with a vengeance.

The sportsman’s terrific Paso Doble to Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood by The Animals earned 36 points, a perfect way to cap his win.

Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler – 2007

Alesha Dixon (BBC/PA)

It’s no exaggeration to say Strictly changed the former Mis-Teeq singer’s life. Until her series five win, she was best known as a has-been pop star.

Tentative at first, Dixon grew in confidence. Her bubbly personality made her just as much a favourite with the public as her fantastic Latin routines.

In 2009, the BBC sparked an outcry when Dixon replaced Arlene Phillips on the judging panel.

Far from convincing when it came to technical assessments of the dancing celebs, Dixon quit Strictly for Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2012.

Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev – 2010

Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev (Guy Levy/PA)

There was magic in the air whenever ex-EastEnders actress Tointon danced with Strictly professional Chigvintsev during series eight in 2010.

Irrespective of the routine, whether it was ballroom or Latin, the couple were a perfect match on the dancefloor.

Her poise and his athleticism drew gushing praise from the judges and loads of votes from the viewers week after week.

Tointon later performed in the West End, and most recently appeared in The Man In The White Suit at the Theatre Royal Bath and Wyndham’s Theatre.

Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace – 2012

Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

The gymnast won silver and bronze on the pommel horse for Britain at the 2012 Olympics, and went on to win the BBC dancing contest later that year.

He then announced his retirement from the sport and was made an MBE for services to gymnastics.

But less than a year later, he was back in the gym training in a bid to return to international competition at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

He topped off the year by winning Strictly for a second time during a panto-themed Christmas special.

Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev – 2014

Pasha Kovalev and Caroline Flack (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Flack got her TV break playing Bubbles in the sketch show Bo’ Selecta! before going on to host spin-off show The Xtra Factor for three years.

But a winning turn on Strictly in 2014 saw her career reignited.

The following year she secured the job that has defined her public image since: hosting ITV2’s Love Island.

Kovalev went on to marry his 2013 Strictly partner, maths whizz Rachel Riley, and the couple are now expecting their first child together.

Earlier this year, he announced he was leaving Strictly after eight years on the show.

Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton – 2016 

The sports television presenter, who had no previous dance training, beat former Hollyoaks star Danny Mac and ex-Eternal singer Louise Redknapp to win the coveted Glitterball Trophy.

Joanne Clifton and Ore Oduba won Strictly Come Dancing in 2016 (BBC)

Ore and his professional partner, Joanne Clifton, were awarded their first perfect 40 score of the series for their showdance in the final.

He has gone on to host the Strictly tour, and became a father when his wife, Portia, gave birth to son Roman in January 2018.

Oduba has also hosted fast-paced BBC game show Hardball.

Dancer Clifton announced she was leaving the series the year after winning it and has gone on to enjoy a successful West End career.

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton – 2018

Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

The investigative documentary-maker waltzed to victory in last year’s edition of Strictly.

After lifting the Glitterball Trophy, Dooley was struck by the “Strictly curse” and split up with her boyfriend, Sam Tucknott.

Only later did Dooley and professional partner Clifton admit to being an item.

Since winning Strictly, she has gone on to present an episode of Panorama titled Stacey Meets The IS Brides, and a reality show about up-and-coming make-up artists called Glow Up.

In the current series of Strictly, Clifton was partnered with Anneka Rice, but they were eliminated in the second week of the competition.

He later stepped in to take the place of Neil Jones for two weeks and partnered Alex Scott after Jones injured himself.

The final of Strictly Come Dancing 2019 is on BBC One on Saturday at 7.05pm.