Dancing Inspirations: Better Late than Never

Continuing my series of posts about the inspirations behind 'Perfect Partners', I'd like to introduce you - if you haven't already come across it - to the story of one of the most unlikely celebrities to emerge from the hothouse of talent that is Strictly Come Dancing.  'Better Late than Never' is the life story of Len Goodman, head judge of the UK series. 

Witty, surprising and occasionally heartfelt, Len's book gives an insight into the life of a ballroom dancer before and after fame and fortune - just what I needed when creating the story of Lisa and Redmond, who were taking the dance world by storm as juniors but found their partnership derailed when Red left for a summer on the cruise ships, only returning eight years later to ask Lisa to partner him in a dance competition with a twist: the dancers must be partners in life as well as in the studio. 

Len's story of his dancing marriage with first wife Cherry helped give me a taste of some of the ups and downs a dancing couple would face, but even if it hadn't been good research, I would have loved reading this book for the entertaining collection of anecdotes going right back to Len's school days (where he showed an early hint of his cheeky side by getting a caning for playing truant and going for a ride on another boy's bicycle) through his fitting for his first ballroom suit and his hugely successful competition years, up to his time as a judge and teacher and the huge opportunity that Strictly presented.  For all his comedy moments, Len's a serious expert on dance and never misses an opportunity to inform.  His story is well worth a read, whether you're a dyed-in-the-feathers dancing fanatic or just an occasional viewer looking for a taste of the Strictly magic in between series. 


  1. Sadly, this comment didn't want to post, so I received it by email instead, but just in case anyone else is looking for a dancing film recommendation, here goes:

    "I love that you're including ballroom dancing in your book. I'm a dance lover myself; that's how I met my husband. I don't know if you're a fan of Argentine Tango or not, but if you are, have you ever seen a film called The Tango Lesson? It has some gorgeous tango dancing in it, including a scene in which two men and a woman dance a routine together while seamlessly trading partners. Definitely worth checking out if you're looking for any dance inspiration!"


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