Strictly judge Craig Revel-Horwood admits he was convinced show would be axed after first series ahead of series launch

STRICTLY Come Dancing fans can't wait for the show to kick off tonight – but one of the judges has admitted he thought the series would never make it past the first season.

Veteran judge Craig Revel Horwood – who has been on the show since it started back in 2004 – has revealed he believed the show would get axed.

Tonight will see the 19th series of Strictly get underway, with stars like Tom Fletcher and AJ Odudu competing for that coveted Glitterball trophy.

The show has been hugely successful for the BBC over the last 17 years.

But speaking on The One Show, Craig revealed how both he and former judge Len Goodman thought the first series was an "absolute disaster".

He also shared his belief that the show would be "axed within three weeks".

Craig said: "[Len and I] got together and thought, 'well, that first show was an absolute disaster, darling. Let's see where it goes.'

"Then we thought it was going to be totally axed after three weeks but it completely did a full swing about and people absolutely loved it and now, it goes to 60 countries worldwide."

He added: "It's really just won the hearts and minds of the world."

Appearing alongside Craig on the show was new Strictly judge Anton Due Beke, who talked about being impressed by this year's celebrities.

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He said: "I think it's the best line-up, I know we always say this, but I genuinely think it's an absolutely wonderful line-up.

"I think it's a brilliant line-up.

"I mean, it's [like] somebody's come up with a wish list, and it's all come true."

Strictly Come Dancing launched its first ever series in May 2004 and was won by news anchor Natasha Kaplinsky.

The show was originally hosted by the late Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly.

After Brucie quit the show in 2014, Tess was joined by Claudia Winkleman, who she has been presenting the show with ever since.

  • Catch the Strictly launch TONIGHT at 7.45pm on BBC One.

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