Len Goodman’s son James joins Strictly Northampton judging panel line up for 2019
A children’s play centre worker was crowned the winner of Strictly Northampton 2019, in a show that resembled BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in more ways than one.
Craig Dobson, 27, and his dance partner Natasha Bates were awarded the glitterball trophy in front of a packed audience at the Royal & Derngate theatre on Saturday night (November 23).
Ex-BBC Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman’s son James Goodman was among the judges at the charity dance event organised by Step by Step Dance School, in aid of Cynthia Spencer Hospice.
James Goodman said: “I am much more generous with my marks than Len.
“I take my hat off to all the contestants who had only eight weeks of training to dance in front of over 1,000 people.
"It was hard to call just one winner this year as the standard of dancing was so high.”
Speaking after his win, Craig Dobson, who works at Parklands Learning and Care Centre Northampton, said: “I am overwhelmed. I’ve had the most amazing dance journey with Strictly
Northampton and met the most fantastic people.
"Although I teach Zumba part time, I’ve never had a formal dance lesson in my life."
Runner-up Laura Stanton had to suddenly switch her dance partner to perform her jive in the final with Ryan Lloyd after her dance partner Josh Hunter sustained a last-minute injury.
But the 29-year-old Tesco HR manager, who had never danced before Strictly Northampton 2019, took it all in her stride.
She said: “I was terrified but in the end it turned out to be an amazing experience. I had not one but two amazing dance partners to dance with.”
Compère Aaron Williams hosted the star studded evening which, in true Strictly Come Dancing style, was awash with sequins, sparkle and spray tan.
The evening began with a dance off between children from Caroline Chisholm School and Hackleton Primary School who were competing in the regional final of Dancing Schools UK.
The team of judges, James Goodman, Joanne Mialkowski Roy Osbourne and Strictly Northampton 2018 winner Charlotte Sweet, chose Hackleton Primary School as the winner.
The 24 couples of Strictly Northampton 2019, now in its ninth year, performed ballroom and latin dance routines and a group freestyle dance with the theme of 'Dancing Through the Decades'.
The audience stamped and clapped their way through the group freestyle performances that captured iconic musical moments through the decades with participants mimicking rappers, and Beyoncè.
Seven couples were picked to go through to the final of the show - which has so far raised a whopping £35,000 for Cynthia Spencer Hospice - before Craig and Natasha were crowed as this year's winners.