Strictly Come Dancing winners: Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice to Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole - where are they now?

We catch up with the 19 Strictly Come Dancing winners and find out what happened after they lifted the glitter ball trophy.

By Katie Archer Updated: 14 July 2022 - 1.00am
BBC Strictly Come Dancing winner and TV presenter Stacey Dooley

From newsreaders to cricketers and actors to singers, the 19 winners of Strictly Come Dancing have come from a range of diverse backgrounds.

And while, unlike in some TV talent contests, they haven't donned sequins and shiny shirts in order to find fame, the kudos of lifting the glitter ball does raise profiles and can lead to unexpected career opportunities. 

So what does the future hold for this year's Strictly winner? We look at what the show's previous champions have done since.

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Strictly Come Dancing 2022: The judges

Strictly Come Dancing all winners: Every year - full list

  • 2004 - Natasha Kaplinksy
  • 2004 - Jill Halfpenny
  • 2005 - Darren Gough
  • 2006 - Mark Ramprakash
  • 2007 - Alesha Dixon
  • 2008 - Tom Chanbers
  • 2009 - Chris Hollins
  • 2010 - Kara Tointon
  • 2011 - Harry Judd
  • 2012 - Louis Smith
  • 2013 - Abbey Clancy
  • 2014 - Caroline Flack
  • 2015 - Jay McGuiness
  • 2016 - Ore Oduba
  • 2017 - Joe McFadden
  • 2018 - Stacey Dooley
  • 2019 - Kelvin Fletcher
  • 2020 - Bill Bailey
  • 2021- Rose Ayling-Ellis

Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole, 2004

The first ever winners of the programme were one of only eight couples to take part and their victory was somewhat overshadowed by rumours of a romance when they both split with their partners shortly after the series wrapped.

Newsreader Kaplinsky anchored various BBC news bulletins before leaving for Five News in 2008, and went on maternity leave twice before leaving Channel 5 in 2010.

The mum-of-two now does TV presenting and newsreading work for ITV.

Jill Halfpenny and Darren Bennett, 2004

Strictly Jill Halfpenny and Darren Bennett Rex

Strictly was such a success after its launch series that the Beeb decided to follow it up with another run later the same year, and the autumn/winter slot became Strictly's permanent home.

Actress Halfpenny was a favourite of the show for many years, often coming back for Christmas specials and live tours.

Following her win, she had a stint in school drama Waterloo Road, was one of the main stars of antenatal class series In The Club, and has appeared in TV favourites including Wild At Heart, Death In Paradise, Inspector George Gently and Ordinary Lies.

Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova, 2005

Cricketer Gough went right back to his sports career after picking up the glitter ball trophy.

He left the Essex team to make a triumphant return to his former club Yorkshire as captain in 2007, and retired in 2008.

Since then, his status as winner has seen him become the face of Costcutter in 2010 and a brand ambassador for Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar in the same year.

Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy, 2006

Strictly Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy Rex

Cricketers continued their run of success the next year when Ramprakash was voted best in the ballroom.

Victorious Ramprakash went right back to his day job at Surrey, which he stayed until he retired in 2012. He has since acted as batting coach for the England team.

A keen footballer, he plays for Arsenal’s Ex-Pros and Celebrities side and also won a Sport Relief spin-off of Strictly with Kara Tointon in 2008.

Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler, 2007

Strictly judge panel with Alesha Dixon Rex

The former Mis-Teeq singer has arguably achieved more thanks to Strictly than any other contestant.

So good were Dixon’s routines that less than two years later she joined the show's judging panel, controversially ousting ballroom expert Arlene Phillips. She served three years on the panel before being snapped up by Simon Cowell as a Britain’s Got Talent judge in 2012 and has made various guest judge appearances on the X Factor.

Dixon also relaunched her music career after Strictly, releasing three solo albums. She's about to welcome her second child and is judging new series Britain's Got Talent: The Champions.

Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup, 2008

Holby City and Casualty star Chambers delighted Strictly fans with his foxtrot and stormed to victory as a popular winner.

Since hanging up his dancing shoes, Chambers has enjoyed roles in Waterloo Road and period drama Father Brown.

He has kept one foot on the dancefloor though, starring in a stage version of Top Hat which toured the UK before a run in the West End, and returning for the Strictly Christmas Special in 2008 and 2015.

Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan, 2009

Strictly Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan Rex

BBC sports presenter Hollins was an unexpected champion when he partnered pro Jordan to victory.

After winning, he returned to his job as BBC Breakfast's lead sports journalist, and continued to deliver the early-morning sports news until the programme relocated to Salford in 2012.

Since then, Hollins has done a variety of other presenting work including Watchdog, The One Show, Food Inspectors and Secret Britain.

Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev, 2010

Ex-EastEnder Tointon gained more than just the glitter ball trophy from Strictly – she also came away with a new boyfriend in pro partner Chigvintsev, although the pair eventually split.

Tointon has carved out a successful career on the stage since Strictly, with roles as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion and two Alan Ayckbourn plays. 

In 2011, she starred opposite Dougray Scott in the film Last Passenger and in 2017, she debuted as Olivia in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Twelfth Night.

Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani, 2011

Strictly Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani Rex

McFly drummer Judd rejoined his bandmates after being crowned 2011’s Strictly winner and went on to release more music.

He and the rest of McFly teamed up with their friends Busted in 2013 to form the supergroup McBusted and had two hit tours together before going their separate ways. McFly were said to be writing a long-awaited sixth album in early 2017 but no release has been forthcoming.

In 2012, Judd married Escala violinist Izzy Johnston and, after documenting their struggles to start a family, the couple welcomed their second child in 2017.

Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace, 2012

Not content with being a medallist at the London Olympic Games, Smith decided to go for more glory in that year’s Strictly, and ended up with the gold medal.

The gymnast has not let his time in the ballroom affect his training and was a competitor at the Rio Olympics in 2016 where he won silver on the pommel horse.

Smith has made many appearances on TV chat shows and panel quizzes as one of the most popular Olympians of the 2012 team and returned to Strictly in 2014 to win the Christmas Special.

He announced his retirement from gymnastics at the end of 2018 and has since been starring in West End show Rip It Up, where he performs hits from the 60s and 70s. Co-stars have inluded fellow Strictly winners Harry Judd and Jay McGuinness, and former contestant Aston Merrygold.

Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec, 2013

Strictly Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec Rex

It was straight back to the day job for model Clancy, who has continued to appear as a cover star on magazines and in high-profile fashion shoots and shows.

She returned to the series that made her a star, Britain’s Next Top Model, as host in 2015, helping more wannabe models start out on the journey that she had begun nine years earlier.

Clancy also published a Mills & Boon novel, Remember My Name, in 2016, and she and husband Peter Crouch had their fourth child earlier this year.

Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev, 2014

Defecting from X Factor to Strictly turned out to be a great move for Flack when she won the contest with three perfect 40 scores in the final.

Swapping between Saturday night rivals didn’t hurt her career, either, as Flack was invited back to the X Factor in 2015 – this time as co-host of the main show alongside former Xtra Factor colleague Olly Murs.

Flack may have only lasted one series at the helm, but she chalked up more reality show success as the presenter of ITV2’s summer hit Love Island.

Tragically, Flack took her own life in February 2020.

Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani, 2015

Strictly Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani Rex

The Wanted singer McGuiness looked a little bit mortified on his first week in the Strictly studio ready to show off his ballroom skills, but the risk paid off for the pop star.

McGuiness notched up the highest week three score ever with his Pulp Fiction-themed jive and won legions of fans who saw him through to victory alongside Aliona, the first professional dancer to lift the glitter ball twice.

The boy band member has since appeared on the West End stage starring in a musical version of the Tom Hanks film Big, and in 2017 won a series of Celebrity Hunted.

He has also starred in West End show Rip It Up alongside Louis Smith, Harry Judd and Aston Merrygold.

Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton, 2016

Ore Oduba holding Strictly trophy Rex

Ore Oduba was known for his emotions getting the better of him as he cried his way through much of the 2016 series, but his drive to do well obviously paid off as he eventually shed tears of joy at being announced as the winner.

The presenter has gone back to covering various sporting events for the BBC, including the World Athletics Championships in London in 2017.

He was also a host for the competition BBC Young Dancer, and for the TV coverage of the One Love Manchester fundraising concert.

Joe McFadden and Katya Jones, 2017

Strictly Joe McFadden and Katya Jones Rex

Holby City star Joe McFadden was something of a surprise winner in a strong series that included Alexandra Burke and Debbie McGee.

The actor's character was killed off the BBC medical drama in an episode that aired just a couple of weeks before the Strictly final, and more recently has been concentrating on theatre work including a tour of musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Katya's increased spotlight after winning caused her problems in 2018. Despite being married to fellow pro Neil Jones, she was caught snogging her next Strictly celebrity partner, stand-up comedian Seann Walsh, and has just announed her split with Neil.

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton, 2018

There were so many incredible contestants in the 2018 series, including Ashley Roberts who barely dipped below a perfect score, and Faye Tozer who wasn't far behind her.

But as the backlash against trained dancers began, Dooley crept up in the popularity stakes and took the Strictly crown.

It's been a mixed bag for Dooley since her win - she's presented make-up contest Glow Up and starred in documentaries about IS brides and bounty hunters, but she was also at the centre of the Comic Relief "white saviours" row in 2019 after posting a photo on Instagram of herself holding an African child.

Not long after Strictly ended, it also emerged that she was in a relationship with Clifton which she says only began after she'd split with her previous boyfriend, although her ex gave an angry interview about it to The Sun.

Dooley and Clifton returned to perform at the launch show, but got drawn into controversy again when judge Craig Revel Horwood had to apologise for joking: "Stacey was dragged up from the dance gutter...of course, if you sleep with your dance partner that helps."

Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse, 2019

Fletcher was never actually supposed to be in Strictly at all, let alone win it - he was the stand-in contestant for Jamie Laing, entering the show at the latest stage ever after Laing injured his foot in the launch episode.

Rewriting the reality TV rulebook that late entrants always bow out first, Fletcher went on to claim an easy win with some seriously high scores under his belt.

The former Emmerdale actor also has a side career as a keen racing driver and since his win has appeared in episodes of Death in Paradise and Moving On.

Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse, 2020

Strictly usually likes to give the previous year's winning pro a contestant who they think won't go very far in their next series - but someone really underestimated Bill Bailey.

His commitment to fully taking on the persona needed for every single dance delighted viewers and made him the unexpected but universally adored winner of 2020.

Bailey might not have had much time to work since his victory, but he has expressed his desire to throw his hat in the ring for Eurovision 2022 in the hop of improving on our nil points loss.

He even shared that he'd previously tried to enter Eurovision with a spoof eco anthem based on Dad's Army, but that the BBC deemed it "too silly".

Bill's professional partner Oti, meanwhile, became the first Strictly pro to win back-to-back series. Outside Strictly, she has also appeared as a dance captain on two seasons of The Greatest Dancer and a panellist on ITV show The Masked Dancer.

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice, 2021

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice BBC

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice are the reigning Strictly champions after the nation fell in love with the duo in 2021.

The pair picked up a BAFTA TV award for their silent dance to Clean Bandit and Zara Larsson's Symphony.

In the middle of their routine, the music was paused to show viewers how deaf contestant Rose experienced the routine.

Viewers' emotional attachment to Rose across the series meant there could only ever be one winner in the 2021 series.

Strictly Come Dancing returns for series 20 in autumn 2022 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer