15+ celebrities who said no to Strictly Come Dancing – and their reasons why

strictly who said no

It may be one of the biggest TV shows on UK telly, but not everyone is racing to say yes to appear on Strictly Come Dancing.


Here are just some of the celebrities who have turned down Strictly over the years…

Frank Skinner

Frank Skinner

Comic Frank Skinner says he turned down Strictly Come Dancing “a few times” because he’s “so self-conscious”.

Chatting on The Jonathan Ross Show, the stand up joked: “My partner persuaded me to go on a lads weekend to Amsterdam instead – she thought there would be less temptation.”

He continued: “I’m so self-conscious. I love Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel and I got offered to be on it today and I can’t do it. I love the show but there’s a bit where they dance.”



Michelle Keegan

Actress Michelle Keegan says she won’t be following husband Mark Wright’s footsteps onto Strictly. Chatting on The Jonathan Ross Show, she shared recently: “I have a few times [been asked to sign up for Strictly]. But for me, it’s the live audience… it’s a skill. It takes a lot of dedication and skill.

“He [husband Mark Wright] did it like 5 years ago. It’s the music before it happens and the audience is really quiet and the lights come on. My heart was in my mouth for him. I couldn’t be on the dance floor, too scared, too nervous.”


Nadiya Hussain

The Great British Bake Off winner revealed to The Guardian in 2020: “I got asked to do Strictly, but I said no. I love the idea, but have no rhythm and I enjoy watching it too much; once you see how a programme works from the inside, it changes how you see it.”

Bradley Walsh. Picture: ITV
Bradley Walsh. Picture: ITV


Bradley Walsh

The TV host of The Chase says he’s been “asked a couple of times” to go on Strictly but always said no. He shared: “I’m not a dancer. I don’t even think I’m a good dad dancer. I’m a bad dad dancer, which makes things even worse.”



Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Although Krishnan Guru-Murthy appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2023, he originally said no to the show for a number of years.

He said on signing up: “Something changed this year. I have been asked to do Strictly before and it has always been a pretty hard no. But this year I think its maybe a combination of post pandemic, the time of my life, knowing lots of people have been going through tough times. I just thought you only live once and this is going to be amazing fun.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy
Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston

“Why deprive yourself from that amount of joy in your life when you don’t need to? It’s going to be tough, fitting it all in and I had about three conversations with people I trust about whether I should do it or not, and they all instantly said yes, so now is the time to do it, it just felt right.”


Rob Brydon

Actor and comedian Rob Brydon has also declined offers for Strictly. He told Jonathan Ross: “They have [asked me] and I’ve said no. It’s one thing to be able to mess around and it’s another to follow choreography.

“It’s so hard. It’s a bit like learning lines for a play, trying to cram them into your head.”



Greg James

The Radio 1 DJ says he “politely declined” an offer from Strictly bosses to appear on the 2020 line up.

Speaking to his listeners on his show, Greg revealed at the time: “They asked me to be on this year, did you know that? I politely declined. I’m too tired, too tired for that.”


Jo Brand

Stand up and telly star Jo Brand, who currently fronts Bake Off spin-off show Extra Slice on Channel 4, says she’s been asked to take part in the BBC One show “quite a few times”.

Explaining just why she’s always said no, Jo explained: “I think it just eats your soul. I’ve been asked to do it quite a few times, I asked Colin Jackson what it’s like. He said the problem is that one or two people take it really seriously and then everyone feels like they have to.

“So you’re not doing your expected five hours a day, there’s people getting there at 5am and working til 7 or 8 at night.”



Martin Kemp

Spandau Ballet star and recent judge on BBC One’s Let It Shine, Martin Kemp said: “They ask me a lot [to go on Strictly Come Dancing] [but] I can’t dance. There are some things I have to admit I can’t do.”


Karren Brady

Lord Sugar’s right hand lady on The Apprentice said she’s been asked to take part on Strictly – and other shows – all the time. “I got asked to a cooking show when I can’t even cook! I’ve been asked to Strictly a number of times. Every year actually,” Karren said.

John Torode
John Torode. Picture: BBC


John Torode

MasterChef judge John Torode won’t be following his co-star Greg Wallace into the ballroom. He told the Daily Star newspaper: “They asked me – I’d love to dance.

“But I’m not doing it. I’m not going to put myself under that sort of pressure. It’s not something I want to do… definitely not!”



Alison King

Coronation Street’s Alison King is one soap star we won’t see on Strictly.

“I was offered a few of the celeb shows such as Strictly Come Dancing,” she told the Radio Times previously, “But I just didn’t fancy it.”


Mel C

Spice Girl Mel C has claimed she’s been asked repeatedly to take part in the series but always said no. Chatting to the Daily Star newspaper, Mel C explained: “Strictly is really the only one of those shows that I would consider and I have had a meeting with them – they ask me every year to do it.”

“The problem is if you do Strictly it’s so high profile and you’ll find yourself in the sidebar of shame every day. And the money’s s***!”

Mel C on The Voice Kids. Picture: ITV
Mel C on The Voice Kids. Picture: ITV


Noel Edmonds

TV’s Noel Edmonds says he’s repeatedly turned down Strictly Come Dancing. And it’s all because of the show’s supposed ‘curse’ on relationships. Chatting to The Sun newspaper, the recent I’m A Celebrity camper claimed he had been asked to take part in the show regularly but wasn’t sure about dancing with a “half naked woman” each weekend.


“They approach me every year,” he said. “Liz [Noel’s wife], who used to be a professional dancer, said, ‘Look you’re actually quite good and I could train you to be good and you’d have fun and all of this.’

“And I said, ‘Do you really want to see me spending eight hours a day for four months draped over some half-naked woman?’ And she had a think about it and went, ‘Hmmm . . . I can see your point!’”


Steph McGovern

Presenter Steph McGovern says she turned down Strictly Come Dancing in 2020 in order to launch her Channel 4 series, Steph’s Packed Lunch.

Steph revealed: “I have actually been asked a couple of times. I got asked again this year but obviously I had a show to launch.”

However she didn’t rule out taking part in the future, replying when asked if she’d ever do the show: “Maybe, I don’t know.”



Dawn French

“They’ve approached me in a circling way before. The problem is if I did it, I’d want to do it and properly dance,” comedian Dawn French revealed in her podcast French & Saunders: T**ting Around. “At this age, you’re not taken seriously. Also if you’re from comedy, they want to shoot you out of a cannon like Ann Widdecombe and I don’t want that.

“I want the nicest dress, the most elegant other dancer and to take it seriously and nobody would want that.”


Kate Humble

Springwatch presenter Kate Humble was in talks with show bosses but got cold feet.

Kate told the Daily Mirror newspaper in the past: “When we got to the meeting, the more talk there was of sequins, make-up and Strictly Takes Two, the more I could feel myself pouring with sweat. It’s just not me and I was literally about to have a panic attack at the thought of wearing make up and dresses!

“My agent realised and gently put her hand on my knee as if to say ‘it’s ok, don’t worry’.


“There are so many people who love it and get so much out of it but I will stick to animals and being mucky. I am better at that. That’s more my comfort zone.”

Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One.