Strictly Come Dancing champion December 17, 2005

Darren Gough .... dancing queen!

Cricinfo staff



Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova, winners of Strictly Come Dancing © BBC
He might have turned down a place in England's one-day squad currently in Pakistan - judging by results, that might not have been a bad decision - but Darren Gough's venture into TV paid dividends when he won BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, beating Olympic sprinter Colin Jackson and DJ Zoe Ball in the final.

"She's turned me into some sort of a dancer,"Gough said of his ballroom-dancing partner, Lilia Kopylova. "She's been absolutely amazing, taking the mickey out of me for ten weeks."

"He has been the most amazing person to work with," Kopylova grinned. "I've enjoyed every second."

More than five million people voted in Saturday's prime-time series final, raising almost £1.5 million for the Children In Need charity. Kevin Pietersen, just returned from Pakistan, was in the audience.

Eight weeks ago Gough had never danced. "It's all a bit nancy," he said at the start, "I can't dance like a nancy on national TV." But he soon won the public's admiration, and admitted it had changed him. "For me, dancing was for softies, but I'm enjoying it. I'd recommend it to anyone." Whether he keeps his promise of opening a ballroom-dancing club in Barnsley remains to be seen.

Gough follows another celebrity TV winner. In 2003, Phil Tufnell turned his back on Middlesex to take part in the second series of the ratings-topping I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here and won. He has hardly been off TV or radio since.

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