Strictly 2012: Denise Van Outen in centre of dancing row

Published by Alison Potter
Published on 15 October 2012

As soon as TV presenter Denise Van Outen signed up to the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing, many voiced concerns about her dancing ability. The 38-year-old has had successful stints in the West End dancing in musicals Chicago and Legally Blonde.

Strictly 2012: Denise Van Outen in centre of dancing row

Denise Van Outen
Reality TV star
born 27/05/1974

And this weekend she topped the leaderboard after her impressive jive.

Despite reportedly suffering from whiplash during last week’s rehearsals, Denise took to the stage with partner James Jordan to execute a perfect cartwheel during her incredibly energetic routine.

Winning praise from all the judges, she was awarded four scores of eight, ensuring the stage school star was unbeatable with an impressive 32 out of 40.

Such a high judges’ score is generally only seen later in the competition when the celebrity contestants have developed their dancing skills, but this is only the second time the Strictly celebs have taken to the dancefloor.

Viewers of the hit BBC ballroom dancing show are becoming more vocal in their complaints over Denise’s “unfair advantage”.

Many have taken to Twitter to vent their frustration and express concerns that it’s “cheating” to have a professional West End dancer in the competition.

The trained dancer certainly flaunted her pedigree during her remarkable jive and while the judges were complimentary, the audience at home was unimpressed.

Fashion journalist Hilary Alexander tweeted: “Fantastic jive from James and Denise Van Outen - and so it should be! She's had plenty of West End experience #strictly.”

Amidst the uproar a BBC spokesman has defended the former Big Breakfast host, saying that while her showbiz career has involved stage performances, she’s never had ballroom or Latin dancing training.

But former TV presenter Johnny Ball, 74, who was the first voted out of the competition this weekend following a dance off against Daybreak's Richard Arnold, has hinted that he agreed with the viewers’ complaints.

He told the Daily Mail: “All actors and actresses have done stage school which includes dance and movement.

“It’s sad that the judges can’t take that into consideration.”

While there’s been no comment from Denise herself, BBC bosses will no doubt be celebrating as Strictly beat its ITV rival The X Factor in the ratings war on Saturday night.

Strictly Come Dancing won an average audience of 9.9million viewers, while X Factor notched up a disappointing 8.8million.