Craig Revel Horwood — things you didn't know about the Strictly Come Dancing judge

Craig Revel Horwood on Celebrity Gogglebox
Craig Revel Horwood is best known for being a Strictly Come Dancing judge. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Craig Revel Horwood has become a household name as the acid-tongued judge on Strictly Come Dancing. Famed for his strict critique and ability to spot an ‘illegal lift’ from a mile off, Craig has been with the BBC hit show since its very first episode back in 2004.

But it's not just Craig's a-ma-zing (sorry, we couldn't resist!) judging skills that have got him to where he is today. Strictly might be his Saturday job, but the Australian-born star has made a career for himself as an award-winning choreographer, director and West End performer. He’s also a talented singer and recently toured the country with his sell-out solo show The All Balls and Glitter Tour.

He’s certainly a man of many talents — here are a few other things to know about him…

Craig Revel Horwood discovered his passion for dancing at school 

Craig Revel Horwood was born on 4 January 1965 to mum Beverley and dad Phil. He’s one of five children and has three sisters and one brother. Craig’s late father was a former Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant, but sadly he was an alcoholic, an addiction which Craig has openly discussed in interviews, admitting it ‘tore his family apart."

Growing up in Ballarat, Australia in the 70s, Craig was encouraged to play ‘macho’ sports like cricket and football, but it was dancing that captured his imagination. His first fell for the art-form aged 13, revealing to The Daily Mail: “A girl in the school orchestra called Amanda suggested I go to exercise classes with her. I thought they were Jane Fonda workouts but it was jazz ballet. I fell in love with it and decided I wanted to become a dancer.”

Craig Revel Horwood

Craig was born in Australia. (Image credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

He's a former drag queen

In the early days of his stage career, Craig worked as a dancer in the drag queen musical La Cage Aux Folles. Having become accustomed to performing in heels every night, Craig decided to invent his own female alter-ego, a drag queen named Lavish.

Inspired by Joan Collins’ look in Dynasty, Lavish wore huge shoulder pad dresses, six-inch stilettos and an incredible auburn wig. "I used to go to clubs and sing as myself but people weren't interested," Craig told The Mirror. “And then I turned up as a woman and suddenly everyone was interested. Thankfully, in the Eighties, big hair and shoulder pads were in.” 

Sadly, Craig had to kill Lavish off in the end as she became too popular and took over his life!

He became a British citizen in 2011

After starting out as a dancer in Melbourne, Craig left his native Oz in 1989 to further his career in London. He appeared in a number of West End stage productions including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS and Miss Saigon

Although he’s best known for being a judge on Strictly, Craig’s day job is working as a director/choreographer, something that he’s achieved great success at. He’s choreographed productions of West Side Story, Calamity Jane, Sunset Boulevard and Chess, just to name a few. 

Since 2012 he’s directed the UK tour of Strictly Come Dancing and is currently working on Strictly Ballroom the Musical. Having called England his home for over 30 years, Craig was made a British citizen in August 2011.

Craig Revel Horwood with the cast of Strictly Ballroom The Musical

Craig with the cast of Strictly Ballroom The Musical — Kevin Clifton and Maisie Smith. (Image credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

He was reluctant to say yes to Strictly

In 2004 came the call that would change Craig’s life when he invited to audition to be a judge on a new BBC dance show. 

During the audition he was asked to comment on a clip of two dancers and replied with a cutting verdict of, “Dull, dull, dull.” And from that moment on Strictly’s ‘Mr Nasty’ was born, although Craig has admitted he was convinced the show would be a flop. How wrong he was! 

Famed for his witty criticisms and savage put-downs, Craig has used his ‘1’ scoring paddle on numerous occasions, and insists he only gives contestants a ‘10’ for perfection. 

Up until last year, Craig had appeared in every single episode of Strictly but was forced to miss a week when he came down with Covid in November 2021. He’s also been a judge on Dancing with the Stars in New Zealand and Australia.

Strictly Come Dancing judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke

Strictly Come Dancing judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke. (Image credit: BBC)

You can have his voice as your ringtone!

Over the years Craig has become famous for his catchphrases on Strictly, and he is renowned for exaggerating his vowels in a dramatic way. 

His famous one-liners "It was a complete di-sah-ster, darling", "Three words: Fab-u-lous" and "That was ah-ma-zing" are all available as ringtones through his website, with all the profits going to the Royal Osteoporosis Society, which he’s been a proud patron of since 2009. 

During his work for the good cause, Craig met the Society’s Royal patron Camilla, Queen Consort, and the pair danced a cha-cha-cha together.

Craig Revel Horwood attends the Julien Macdonald Fashion Show for National Osteoporosis Society at Lancaster House

Craig is famous for his Strictly one-liners. (Image credit: Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for the National Osteoporosis Society)

He's still friends with his former wife

Craig is loved up with horticulturist beau Jonathan Myring, who popped the question to him while they were in the bath. 

The happy couple live in a gorgeous country house in Hampshire, complete with seven acres of land and its own vineyard. They’re currently planning their wedding, which had to be put on hold due to the Covid pandemic, but this won’t be the first time Craig’s been hitched.

In 1990 he got wed to wife Jane, and the pair even planned to start a family together. "I was both gay and straight, but being bisexual wasn't a big issue for me or her". The marriage ended after just two and a half years when Jane met someone else... but the exes remain firm friends. "Jane runs my website. We go on holidays together, it's amazing," Craig told Daily Mail.

He would love to be a dad

With a wedding on the horizon, Craig has admitted that he and future husband Jonathan would love to have a family one day. 

In a chat with OK! Magazine the Strictly judge said: "If we did become parents I think we would definitely adopt rather than go down the surrogacy route as there are so many children out there who need a home. But I'm no spring chicken, darling, so we might have to adopt kids that are old enough to push me around in a wheelchair!"

Craig Revel Horwood and his partner Jonathan Myring.

Craig and his fiancé Jonathan Myring. (Image credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

He's performed a musical of his life

During 2022 Craig traveled up and down the country with his one-man show The All Balls and Glitter Tour. 

Loosely based on his first autobiography All Balls and Glitter, Craig described the show to ITV’s This Morning as being, “a bit like Desert Island Discs where I’m singing my own music and the songs from my own life.” 

Songs on the setlist included ‘My Way’, which Craig performed at his father’s funeral, his go-to audition piece ‘Greatest Love of All’, and the very first song he ever wrote aged seven, the hilariously titled ‘A Pimple on your Bum’.

Craig Revel Horwood's fact file 

Most frequently asked questions about the Strictly judge…

How old is Craig Revel Horwood?

Craig Revel Horwood is 57, he was born on January 4, 1965.

Is Craig Revel Horwood married?

Craig Revel Horwood got engaged to partner Jonathan Myring in March 2020.

Does Craig Revel Horwood have any children?

Craig Revel Horwood does not have any children, but has said he would love to adopt one day.

Where was Craig Revel Horwood born?

 Craig was born in Ballarat, Victoria in Australia.

How tall is Craig Revel Horwood?

Craig Revel Horwood is six foot two.

Twitter: @CraigRevHorwood

Instagram: @craigrevel

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Laura Morgan
Freelance writer

Laura has been a journalist for over a decade, writing about soaps, TV entertainment, fashion, beauty, and food. After graduating from university, she started her career working at a national soap and TV magazine. During her seven-year stint there she joined the cast of Emmerdale for a tour around the famous village, partied with soap stars at awards bashes, interviewed her acting idol David Suchet, and sat in the front row of Strictly Come Dancing

Her heart lies with the soaps, and her all-time favourite character has to be EastEnders' Pat Butcher - no one rocked a big earring quite like her. She's also a huge fan of detective crime dramas, particularly old school Inspector Morse, Endeavour, and adaptations of Agatha Christie's Marple and Poirot. When she's not writing, she loves a spot of second-hand shopping and going on adventures with her young son.