9 of the biggest Strictly Come Dancing scandals

·5-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Strictly Come Dancing is the ultimate weekend entertainment. The costumes, the dancing... the drama. The BBC show has found itself at the centre of all sorts of scandals, from cheating allegations to fix claims, and now a big discussion around the Coronavirus vaccine. Ahead of the 2021 show kicking off (it starts on Saturday 25 September, people), let's take a look back at some of the biggest dramas to date.

The Coronavirus vaccine

Before Strictly Come Dancing 2021 even kicked off, the show was making headlines amid speculation some of the professional dancers were refusing the Coronavirus vaccine.

While the BBC has refused to comment on the vaccination status of the show's professionals, a spokesperson said strict safety guidelines were in place. "We do not comment on speculation of somebody’s COVID vaccination status," the statement said. "Strictly Come Dancing production has, and will, continue to follow strict government guidelines to ensure the safety of all on the show."

They also responded to rumours that three professional dancers had threatened to quit the show over the COVID vaccine, adding, "This is simply untrue."

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Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton

In December 2018, shortly after Stacey's Strictly Come Dancing win, the presenter split from her boyfriend of five years, Sam Tucknott. By April 2019, news spread that Stacey and dance partner Kevin were now an item.

Kevin was previously married to Strictly professional Karen Clifton, but the pair announced they were splitting in March 2018.

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Katya Jones and Seann Walsh

We all remember the Seann Walsh kissing drama of 2018, don't we? The professional dancer and comedian came under fire when they were pictured kissing in London during the 17th series. Katya was married to Srictly Come Dancing professional Neil Jones, while Sean was dating actress Rebecca Humphries. They both apologised at the time and said it was a "drunken mistake".

When James Jordan was 'sacked' from the show

After eight series of Strictly, James Jordan departed from the show in 2014. When the official account tweeted their sadness about the dancer leaving, he insinuated he had actually been pushed out. They wrote, "It’ll be sad not having @artemchigvintse and
@The_JamesJordan around. Best of luck. We’ll miss you #scd #sadtimes.”

He allegedly replied, "So why sack me?"

A BBC spokesperson said in response that James had been offered "a reduced role on the show" and declined it.

When Ola Jordan accused the show of being a 'fix'

James' professional dance partner wife Ola Jordan later quit the show in 2015, a year after her husband left. She told The Sun at the time that she thought the show was rigged, commenting, "Some of the marking is way off. People are over-marked and under-marked. All the pros talk about the marking. We ask each other, 'What is all that about? Why are they trying to over-mark that person?'."

However, a BBC spokesperson denied the claims, stating: "Each judge scores each dance independently, based on its merits and on their expert opinion."

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Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev

Rachel Riley from Countdown announced she was splitting from her husband of 15 months, Jamie Gilbert, during her time on Strictly in 2013. Less than a year later, she and Strictly partner Pasha Kovalev got together, though they insist there was no crossover between the romances. The couple went onto secretly tie the knot in Las Vegas in December 2019 and welcomed their daughter Maven days later. Pasha left the BBC show in 2019 after eight years, and they are currently expecting their second child.

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Joe Calzaghe and Kristina Rihanoff

One week into the boxer's stint on series seven of Strictly in 2009, Joe Calzaghe split from his girlfriend of five years, Jo-Emma Larvin. He denied it was because of Kristina at the time, explaining, "We spend a lot of time together and we get on as well, so that's really good, and we really enjoy the training, and that's about it really. That's it."

But it wasn't long before he and professional dance partner Kristina Rihanoff went public with their relationship, though they split four years later in 2013.

He said in a statement, "Kristina and I have had several terrific years together. She is a wonderful woman but we have mutually and amicably decided to go our separate ways."

Photo credit: Fred Duval - Getty Images
Photo credit: Fred Duval - Getty Images

Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff

Following his appearance on the show in 2013, rugby player Ben Cohen and his wife of 11-years announced their split in 2014. Though he and Kristina originally denied they were romantically involved, the pair were papped on holiday in 2015, and welcomed their first child together, Mila, in 2016. The Strictly partners are still together now.

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Flavia Cacace, Matt Di Angelo, Vincent Simone and Jimi Mistry

This one is as awkward as it is complex. During Strictly Come Dancing 2007, professional dancer Flavia Cacace dumped her long-term dance partner and boyfriend of eight-years, Vincent Simone (who was also on the show) for Eastenders actor Matt Di Angelo.

She and Matt then split in 2010, and Flavia went on to marry actor Jimi Mistry in 2013, who she met on the 2010 series of Strictly. As of 2016, she and Vincent (her boyfriend of eight years pre-2007, keep up!) are professionally dancing together again, and she and Jimi are still together.

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