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Denise Van Outen reveals why she turned down Strictly Come Dancing host job

Denise van Outen attending the Top Gun: Maverick premiere
Denise Van Outen declined a job offer to host Strictly Come Dancing. (Image credit: Joseph Okpako/WireImage via Getty)

Denise Van Outen has admitted that she turned down the opportunity to host Strictly Come Dancing.

Talking on The Matt Haycox Show podcast (opens in new tab), the TV star revealed that she initially regretted declining the offer, but confessed how it wouldn’t have allowed her to branch out to different career paths if she had accepted the role.

She told Matt that she was offered the gig from former Strictly presenter Bruce Forsyth, who left the show in 2014 and sadly passed away in 2017. 

She said: “I was offered Strictly Come Dancing. I knew Bruce Forsyth really well. And I've done a few shows with him. We used to sing together. And he came to me and approached me to be sidekick in the new Strictly Come Dancing

“He said to me: ‘There's this show, it's all ballroom, it's gonna be celebrities. I want to open the show with a song and dance with you, and close it with you’ because he knew that I danced and sang."

Bruce Forsyth dancing with Tess Daly

The job went to Tess Daly instead, who still presents the show alongside Claudia Winkleman. (Image credit: BBC)

“And I remember sitting there and I went to him: ‘Bruce, it sounds really boring.’”

After the dancing competition became a huge success, Denise expressed regret over turning it down, but made it apparent that she wouldn’t have had the wide-spread career she’s had if she had taken up the offer.

She continued: “So, they gave it to Tess Daly. And then it became a huge hit, and I was thinking maybe I was an idiot turning that down.

“But, actually, when I look back, Tess has done it so well for many years, but just kind of does that, and she's associated with it. Whereas, I went on to do Broadway, I've done film, I've done theatre in the West End, I've done so many other things.

“I wouldn't have had such a varied career if I’d taken it. So, actually, for me, it worked out.”

Denise Van Outen and James Jordan on Strictly

Denise appeared on Strictly in 2012 alongside James Jordan and was a runner-up.  (Image credit: BBC)

Denise competed in Strictly Come Dancing in 2012 with her professional partner James Jordan and came second.

She has also appeared in Chicago on the West End and Broadway, as well as The Masked Singer UK and Dancing On Ice, amongst many other projects.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 returns this Autumn on BBC One.

Grace Morris
Grace Morris

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides for must-watch shows and the latest TV news. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.


You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series and much-loved soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.