The celebrities Strictly pros loved dancing with the most

After Karen Hauer named Hairy Biker Dave Myers as her favourite celeb partner, here's what other Strictly pros have said about their past pairings.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023,02-12-2023,TX11 - LIVE SHOW,The Strictly Come Dancing 2023 Professional Dancers, ,BBC,Guy Levy
Some of the Strictly Come Dancing pros have confessed to having favourites. (BBC)

The relationship between Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers and their celebrity partners is a complicated one.

From the extremes of falling in love through the Strictly Curse to falling out in rehearsals, as has been the case for some, tensions clearly run high between Strictly pros and their contestants. On screen we see the celebs and their dance partners become incredibly close, always holding hands and hugging - but occasionally they have been spotted arguing too.

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Dave Myers and dance partner Karen Hauer during rehearsals at the Royal Academy of Dance, in Battersea, South London.   (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Karen Hauer has said the late Dave Myers was her favourite Strictly Come Dancing contestant. (Getty Images)

Karen Hauer has been on the show since 2012 and had 12 different partners. But she recently named the late Hairy Biker Dave Myers as the celebrity who has the fondest memories of working with. And Hauer is not the only one to have had a favourite. Here is what the other Strictly pros have said about their celeb dance partners from years gone by.

Strictly Nadiya Bychkova
Nadiya Bychkova's favourite Strictly celebrity might surprise you. (BBC)

Nadiya Bychkova made it to the quarter final in 2021 with former BBC Breakfast host and Channel 5 newsreader Dan Walker, the furthest she had even got in the competition. But she shocked fans when she revealed who her favourite celeb partner had been - because it wasn't Walker. Bychkova told Closer magazine in 2022: "Davood Ghadami is always going to be my favourite because he was my first partner. When I got eliminated, he was in the audience with his wife. We are all so crazy busy, but we keep in touch. Last year was incredible with Dan Walker - he helped me a lot to build my confidence. We're still friends."

She was paired with EastEnders actor Ghadami, who played Kush Kazemi, in 2017 and they finished sixth.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023,16-09-2023,Launch Show,Anton du Beke,**STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 20:20 HRS ON SATURDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER 2023**,BBC,Guy Levy
Strictly Come Dancing judge Anton du Beke has some favourites, and some not so favourite. (BBC)

Now he is a judge Anton Du Beke is always telling people "You're my favourites", which was actually the catchphrase of the late, great Strictly host Sir Bruce Forsyth. But has Du Beke ever let slip who his favourite partner on the show was? He has not. But he has hinted, he may not have enjoyed dancing with some of them... After watching Angela Rippon perform on the Strictly Live tour in February 2024 he told her "Some of my partners can't make it down the stairs unaided never mind that..."

Du Beke has danced with celebrities such as Ann Widdicombe, Ruth Langsford, Kate Garraway and Judy Murray. His last partner was Labour MP Jacqui Smith in 2020, who was the first to be voted off the show.

Amy Dowden attends Giovanna Fletcher X Deichmann Launch Event on May 07, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Deichmann)
Amy Dowden has become close friends with Tom Fletcher and his wife Giovanna Fletcher. (Getty Images for Deichmann)

Amy Dowden will return to the dancefloor this year, after she was forced to take a break in 2023 following a breast cancer diagnosis. She joined the show in 2017 and came second in 2019 with TV presenter Karim Zeroual. While Dowden might not have officially named him as her favourite, she has become close friends with McFly singer Tom Fletcher and his wife Giovanna, after being paired with him in 2021. Dowden revealed that after she revealed her cancer diagnosis "Tom and Giovanna got straight in the car and came to see me when I told them the news, and we went for a walk. Giovanna’s encouragement has been central to my decision to share my story in the hopes of helping others."

Shirley Ballas
Shirley Ballas likes Strictly's comedy contestants. (BBC)

Head judge Shirley Ballas has revealed her celebrity favourites - and they might surprise you. It seems the dance champion is a fan of seeing MPs on the dancefloor, not because of her politics but for their comedy value.

Ballas told The Sun in 2022: “Anton Du Beke and Ann Widdecombe’s samba was just iconic. I also loved Ed Balls when he did Gangnam Style. I want people to understand that it’s not always the best dancer that delivers the entertainment factor, which is extremely important in this show."

Johannes Radebe says he and John Whaite will be friends for life. (BBC)
Johannes Radebe says he and John Whaite will be friends for life. (BBC)

Former Bake Off star John Whaite and Johannes Radebe were runners-up in the show in 2021. Afterwards Whaite confessed that he had fallen in love with the South African dancer when they worked together on the show, despite being engaged to his longterm partner at the time.

Radebe responded by saying that they will always be friends. He said: "We have gone on to have such a beautiful experience together that it would be a shame if we were not friends after all that What we agreed is that, regardless of what life throws at us, we will always keep [this friendship] going. ‘We are friends for life.' "