len goodman
Judge Len Goodman attends the 'Strictly Come Dancing' Season 8 Launch Show at BBC Television Centre on September 8, 2010 Stuart Wilson/Getty Images

Former professional ballroom dancer Len Goodman has announced he will leave his judging role on BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing at the end of 2016.

The 72-year-old television personality – who also runs a ballroom dance school in Kent – has starred on the dance competition show for 12 years when he began in 2004 as head judge. He has appeared in every series of the show and flashed his grading cards alongside a panel comprising Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood in the 2015 series.

Goodman has told BBC bosses that he feels that the end of 2016's run is the right time to "hand the role of head judge to someone else," and plans to continue the new series before standing down at the end of the year.

He stated: "In 2004, I was asked to take part in a brand new BBC Saturday night show and who would have thought me, old Len Goodman, would still be part of this amazing series more than 10 years on.

"This adventure began when I was 60 and now that I've reached my 70s, I've decided after this year it's time to hand the role of head judge to someone else.

"It is an honour being part of the wonderful Strictly Come Dancing family and I'm looking forward to my last series very much and to whatever comes next," he added.

The BBC's Director of Content Charlotte Moore, praised the Strictly veteran, adding: "After 12 years, our wonderful head judge Len has decided it's time to hang up his Strictly Come Dancing shoes!

"I know we are all going to miss him tremendously, but I also know Len's final series is going to be full of unmissable moments and I hope audiences will give him the special send-off he so deserves," she continued.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that both female hosts, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, will be returning for the new series.

Louise Rainbow, executive producer of Strictly Come Dancing said: "We are absolutely delighted that Tess, Claudia and our judges are all returning for another year. Whilst we will be sad to say goodbye to Len, as our way of saying thank you, we are all determined to make this series the most spectacular, most glittery and entertaining yet."

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