Strictly Come Dancing: Len Goodman is voted the greatest EVER judge by die-hard fans... with Darcey Bussell coming in a close second

Strictly Come Dancing legend Len Goodman has been voted the show's greatest ever judge by die-hard fans.

The former ballroom dancer, 75, who quit the primetime favourite in 2016 after 12 years on the panel, said he was 'shocked and flattered' to be voted the nation's top judge in a poll launched by RadioTimes.com.

It comes as South African dancer Motsi Mabuse is set to replace Darcey Bussell on the judging panel when this year's Strictly couples take to the dance floor for the first time on Saturday. 

Amazing: Strictly Come Dancing legend Len Goodman has been voted the show's best ever judge in a poll by die-hard fans (pictured above on the show's red carpet in 2016)

Amazing: Strictly Come Dancing legend Len Goodman has been voted the show's best ever judge in a poll by die-hard fans (pictured above on the show's red carpet in 2016)

Len finished top in the poll of all seven judges who have appeared on the Strictly panel since the show began in 2004.

Speaking to Radio Times about the honour he said: 'I'm so flattered and shocked. Usually, I'm popular with old people and old people don't usually do polls.'

As well as being the head judge, Len earned an army of fans for his no-nonsense approach to critique, and became well-loved for his famous 'seven!' and 'from Len a ten' catchphrases. 

Thrilled: The former ballroom dancer, who quit the show in 2016 (above), said he was 'flattered and shocked' to finish top of the poll

Thrilled: The former ballroom dancer, who quit the show in 2016 (above), said he was 'flattered and shocked' to finish top of the poll

Iconic: Since Since leaving Strictly Len has continued to appear on the US version Dancing With The Stars, alongside Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba (pictured above on Monday)

Iconic: Since Since leaving Strictly Len has continued to appear on the US version Dancing With The Stars, alongside Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba (pictured above on Monday)

Glamorous: Darcey Bussell - who quit the Strictly panel in April after seven years - finished behind Len in second place

Glamorous: Darcey Bussell - who quit the Strictly panel in April after seven years - finished behind Len in second place

Showman: Bruno Tonioli - who has been a judge since the first series of Strictly and is beloved for his flamboyant critiques - was in third place

Showman: Bruno Tonioli - who has been a judge since the first series of Strictly and is beloved for his flamboyant critiques - was in third place

Opinionated: Craig Revel- Horwood - who is branded the so-called 'Mr Nasty' of the Strictly panel - finished in fourth place

Opinionated: Craig Revel- Horwood - who is branded the so-called 'Mr Nasty' of the Strictly panel - finished in fourth place

Since leaving Strictly Len has continued to appear on the US version Dancing With The Stars, alongside Bruno and Carrie Ann Inaba. 

Darcey - who quit the panel April after seven years - finished in second place, with the longest-serving judges Bruno Tonioli, 63, and Craig Revel-Horwood, 54, in third and fourth place respectively.

Arlene Phillips, 76, was in fifth place after appearing on the panel from 2004 to 2009. Her replacement Alesha Dixon, 40, was in sixth. 

In last place was the current head judge Shirley Ballas, 59, who replaced Len in 2017.

Lovely: Arlene Phillips, 76, was in fifth place after appearing on the panel from 2004 to 2009 (pictured above in 2008)

Lovely: Arlene Phillips, 76, was in fifth place after appearing on the panel from 2004 to 2009 (pictured above in 2008)

Pretty: Alesha Dixon - who replaced Arlene on the panel in 2010 for two series - was in sixth place. She has since joined rival channel ITV as a judge on Britain's Got Talent (above in 2011)

Pretty: Alesha Dixon - who replaced Arlene on the panel in 2010 for two series - was in sixth place. She has since joined rival channel ITV as a judge on Britain's Got Talent (above in 2011)

Dance icon: Shirley Ballas, 59, who took over from Len as head judge in 2017, finished in last place in the poll

Dance icon: Shirley Ballas, 59, who took over from Len as head judge in 2017, finished in last place in the poll

Stunning: It comes as South African dancer Motsi Mabuse is set to make her debut on the Strictly panel when the live shows begin on Saturday

Stunning: It comes as South African dancer Motsi Mabuse is set to make her debut on the Strictly panel when the live shows begin on Saturday

The poll comes as Motsi is set to join the Strictly panel for the new series when it officially kicks off on Saturday.

The dancer - who has judged on the German version since 2011 - has repeatedly insisted she will not be biased towards sister Oti.

Len shared his thoughts on Motsi having to judge her professional dancer sister Oti on This Morning earlier this month, saying: 'I don’t know. I don’t know if they’ll do something when that happens? I can imagine it’s awkward if you’ve got to judge a relative.' 

'You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It’s difficult to give a true critique maybe? But I’m sure she’ll be able to do it.'

On Saturday this year's 15 celebrities will take to the dance floor with their professional partners for the first time, with stars including Catherine Tyldesley, James Cracknell and Mike Bushell hoping to wow with their moves.

Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday at 7pm on BBC One. 

Coming soon: Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday at 7pm on BBC One

Coming soon: Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday at 7pm on BBC One

 

Strictly Come Dancing: Len Goodman is voted the greatest EVER judge by fans

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