Every Perfect 40 Score in Strictly Come Dancing History

Strictly Come Dancing contestants aim for one thing during their journey on the BBC TV series – a perfect score of 40. This coveted accolade is bestowed by all four judges, and it’s a rare feat, but when achieved, it marks a remarkable performance. Over the 19-year history of the show, there have been more than 70 dances that earned a perfect 40. While the 2023 cast is yet to join this elite group, let’s revisit some of the most memorable routines that achieved perfection.

Jill Halfpenny and Darren Bennett’s Jive (Series 2)

In the early days of Strictly Come Dancing, actress Jill Halfpenny and her partner Darren Bennett wowed the audience with a high-tempo Jive set to “I’m Still Standing.” Their electric performance in the series two finale earned them the very first perfect score of 40 from all four judges – Len Goodman, Arlene Phillips, Craig Revel Horwood, and Bruno Tonioli. Jill went on to win the entire series in 2004 and even made a return to the show to reprise her impressive Jive.

Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy’s Salsa (Series 4)

It wasn’t until series four that perfection was achieved once more. Cricketer Mark Ramprakash and his partner Karen Hardy danced a thrilling Salsa to “Hot Hot Hot.” Their journey to perfection had a rocky start when Mark’s microphone got tangled in Karen’s dress, causing them to restart the routine. Despite this setback, they managed to score 36 and later delivered a flawless performance in the final, earning the coveted 40.

Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace’s Viennese Waltz (Series 5)

Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace made history by becoming the first couple to earn a perfect 40 before the final. Their romantic semi-final Viennese Waltz, danced to “Open Arms” in series five, showcased their exceptional chemistry and skill. Despite their exceptional performance, they did not secure the series win. Alesha Dixon and her partner Matthew Cutler claimed the glitterball trophy, even though they never managed to score a perfect 40. Alesha later became a judge on the show from series seven before departing after three years.

Lisa Snowdon and Brendan Cole’s Hat-Trick (Series 6)

Lisa Snowdon and Brendan Cole etched their names in Strictly history by becoming the first couple to achieve a perfect 40 in not one but three different routines. Their remarkable hat-trick included a semi-final Quickstep set to Frank Sinatra’s “Dancing in the Dark,” a Foxtrot danced to “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home,” and a Cha-cha-cha performed to “Tears Dry on Their Own” in the final. Despite their impressive scores, Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup won series six.

Rachel Stevens and Vincent Simone’s Foxtrot (Series 6)

In the same series, S Club 7 singer Rachel Stevens proved her prowess in the ballroom with a captivating Foxtrot. Set to “They Long to Be Close to You,” her Foxtrot earned a perfect 40 in both week 10 and the final when she reprised it with her partner Vincent Simone.

Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna’s Double Perfect (Series 7)

Series seven saw an increase in perfect scores, with three couples earning a 40. Starting with actor Ali Bastian, who danced a stunning Viennese Waltz to “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” during the Blackpool episode. As a new addition, guest judge Darcey Bussell made it possible to score 50. Ali achieved this feat with her American Smooth to “Come Dance with Me.”

Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan’s Charleston (Series 7)

The introduction of Blackpool as a regular venue and the Charleston as a new dance style added to the excitement. Cricketer and journalist Chris Hollins and his partner Ola Jordan performed a Charleston to “Fat Sam’s Grand Slam” from the “Bugsy Malone” film, scoring a perfect 50 and clinching the series victory.

Pamela Stephenson and James Jordan’s Movie Magic (Series 8)

In series eight, James Jordan and Pamela Stephenson were the only couple to achieve a perfect 40. Their Movie Week Viennese Waltz to “Unchained Melody” from “Ghost” did it twice – once in week ten, and again when they performed it in the final. Their Quickstep to “Steppin’ Out with My Baby” also reached perfection. However, it was Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev who won and went on to become a real-life couple.

Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani’s Dynamic Duo (Series 9)

Series nine witnessed another trio of couples earning perfect scores of 40. Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani, the eventual winners, delivered captivating performances. Their Quickstep to “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and Argentine Tango to “Asi se baila el tango” became the first perfect 40s for this style of dance.

Jason Donovan and Kristina Rihanoff’s Theatrical Argentine Tango (Series 9)

Jason Donovan added to the series nine perfection with a compelling Argentine Tango to “El Tango de Roxanne.” His charismatic performance proved he was more than a one-trick pony, and it highlighted the show’s diverse dance styles.

Chelsee Healey and Pasha Kovalev’s Passionate Paso Doble (Series 9)

Hollyoaks actor Chelsee Healey may not have won the series, but she was a fan favorite. Her fiery Paso Doble to “Malagueña” showcased her impressive skills, earning her a perfect 40 and leaving a lasting mark on the show.

Kimberley Walsh and Pasha Kovalev’s Triple 40 Triumph (Series 10)

Series ten marked the addition of Darcey Bussell to the judging panel, replacing Alesha Dixon. This series also introduced the fusion of two dance styles. Kimberley Walsh’s cha-cha-cha/tango hybrid to “It’s Raining Men” impressed the judges. Her Charleston to “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines” and Tango to “When Doves Cry” also secured perfect 40 scores.

Denise Van Outen and James Jordan’s Energetic Showmanship (Series 10)

TV personality Denise Van Outen showcased her growth throughout the series with a dynamic Showdance to “What a Feeling” from “Flashdance.” Her equally energetic Charleston to “Walk Like an Egyptian” earned her another perfect score.

Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace’s Gymnastic Glory (Series 10)

Series ten was a tough competition, but gymnast Louis Smith emerged victorious with his Showdance to “Rule the World.” His incredible performance showcased his Olympic strength and earned him a perfect score, making him the series champion.

Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Škorjanec’s Salsa Sensation (Series 11)

Nine years after the last perfect 40 for a Salsa, model Abbey Clancy broke the dance’s curse with a scorching routine to “You Should Be Dancing” from “Saturday Night Fever.” Switching gears, she also delivered a beautiful Waltz to “Kissing You,” securing her victory and the coveted Glitterball trophy.

Natalie Gumede and Artem Chigvintsev’s Stellar Salsa (Series 11)

Although Abbey Clancy took home the trophy, actress Natalie Gumede gave her tough competition. Her sultry Salsa to “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” and Showdance to “Steppin’ Out with My Baby” both earned her perfect 40 scores and showcased her incredible dancing abilities.

Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev’s Perfection in Variety (Series 12)

Caroline Flack made history in series 12 as the first contestant to not drop a single mark in the final. Alongside her partner Pasha Kovalev, she delivered a lively Cha-cha-cha to “Can You Feel It,” a fairytale Showdance to “Angels,” and a playful Charleston to “Istanbul.” Her versatility and consistency made her the series champion.

Simon Webbe and Kristina Rihanoff’s Argentine Tango Excellence (Series 12)

Simon Webbe and Kristina Rihanoff’s Argentine Tango made waves in Blackpool and nearly secured a perfect 40. Their moody performance to “El Tango de Roxanne” left a lasting impression.

Kellie Bright and Kevin Clifton’s Double Perfect (Series 13)

In series 13, Kellie Bright and Kevin Clifton made history by achieving a perfect 40 in two separate routines. Their finale Showdance to “The Ding-Dong Daddy of the D-Car Line” and Charleston to “Chicago’s Hot Honey Rag” captivated the judges, although it was Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani who claimed the series victory.

Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton’s Jive and Showdance (Series 14)

Presenter Ore Oduba delivered the first perfect Jive of the series with “Runaway Baby” and earned top marks for his Showdance to “I Got Rhythm.” His stellar performances secured his victory in series 14, but he wasn’t the only one to earn a perfect 40.

Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton’s Sensational Argentine Tango (Series 14)

Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton’s Argentine Tango to “Tanguera” was an exceptional performance that earned them a perfect score. Kevin continued his streak of 40s with this mesmerizing routine.

Danny Mac and Oti Mabuse’s Spectacular Trio (Series 14)

In a series filled with talent, actor Danny Mac delivered a trio of perfect 40s. His Charleston to “Puttin’ On the Ritz,” Showdance to “Set Fire to the Rain,” and Samba to “Magalenha” wowed the judges and the audience. His exceptional dancing skills and consistency impressed everyone.

Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice’s Tango Magic (Series 15)

Series 15, the first with Shirley Ballas as a judge, featured three couples earning perfect scores of 40. Debbie McGee’s Tango to “I Gotta Feeling” was a standout routine, as was her captivating high kick in the Argentine Tango to “Por una Cabeza.” Her flawless performances added to the series’ perfect 40s.

Alexandra Burke and Gorka Marquez’s Show-Stopping American Smooth and Jive (Series 15)

Singer Alexandra Burke proved to be one of the series’ most talented dancers. Her American Smooth to “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and incredibly quick Jive to “Proud Mary” were nothing short of incredible, earning her perfect 40s.

Joe McFadden and Katya Jones’ Charismatic Charleston (Series 15)

Joe McFadden’s Charleston to “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” sent him to the top of the leaderboard and into the nation’s hearts. His charismatic performance earned him a perfect score and secured his victory in series 15.

Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev’s Remarkable Quartet (Series 16)

Ashley Roberts dazzled the audience with a quartet of perfect 40s in the final. Her Salsa to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing,” featuring an epic lift, her Showdance to “Keeping Your Head Up,” and her Charleston to “Witch Doctor” left a lasting mark on the series. She also earned a perfect 40 for her Jive to “Shake a Tail Feather” in Blackpool.

Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice’s Fantastic Four (Series 16)

Steps singer Faye Tozer secured perfect 40s in four separate routines. Her Charleston to “The Lonely Goatherd,” Viennese Waltz to “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” Showdance to “Lullaby of Broadway,” and Theatre/Jazz to “Fever” showcased her versatility and dance prowess. However, it was Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton who won series 16.

Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse’s Ballroom Brilliance (Series 17)

Kelvin Fletcher won series 17, and his quickstep to “The Lady is a Tramp” showcased his ballroom mastery. His Showdance to “Shout” was equally impressive, highlighting his versatility as a dancer.

Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden’s Sensational Jive and Quickstep (Series 17)

Kelvin and Oti may have clinched the victory, but Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden had the dance of the series with their Jive to “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from “Hairspray.” Their exceptional performance earned them a perfect score, not just once but twice – in Blackpool and at the finale. They also achieved a 40/40 for their Quickstep to “Mr. Pinstripe Suit.”

Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse’s Grand Finale (Series 18)

Series 18 faced unique challenges due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, leading to a reduced judging panel. With three judges instead of four, a score of 30 became the new 40. Comedian Bill Bailey, partnered with Oti Mabuse, secured the highest available score of 30 for his Showdance to “The Show Must Go On.” Bill’s remarkable journey culminated in his victory, making Oti champion for two consecutive years.

Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez’s Street/Commercial and Festive Finale (Series 18)

Actor Maisie Smith was a strong contender throughout the series. Her street/commercial dance to “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” and festive Showdance to “We Need a Little Christmas” both earned perfect scores of 30.

HRVY and Janette Manrara’s Street/Commercial, Charleston, and American Smooth (Series 18)

HRVY made his presence known in the competition by achieving a perfect score of 30 an impressive three times. His street/commercial dance to “A Sky Full of Stars,” Charleston to “Another Day of Sun” from “La La Land,” and American Smooth to “One (Singular Sensation)” were undeniably brilliant.

Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu’s Charleston: A Toe-Tapping Triumph

One of the most delightful moments in Strictly history came when CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson and the talented Nancy Xu took to the dance floor to perform the Charleston. The choice of music, “The Charleston,” was not only aptly named but also perfectly suited to the infectious energy and charm that Rhys and Nancy brought to their routine.

While the duo fell just short of making it to the final, they won the hearts of the audience with their Charleston performance. This lively and exuberant dance, characterized by its energetic kicks and twirls, transported viewers back to the Roaring Twenties, where flappers and jazz music reigned supreme. Rhys and Nancy’s interpretation of the Charleston was a masterclass in capturing the spirit of the era.

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington’s Quickstep: A Bittersweet Journey

AJ Odudu, known for her role as the host of Big Brother, made a significant impact on Strictly with her impressive Quickstep performance, accompanied by her partner Kai Widdrington. However, their journey was bittersweet, as AJ had to withdraw from the competition due to an injury just before the final.

In the semi-finals, AJ and Kai delivered a Quickstep that earned them a perfect score of 40. Their dance was set to the classic tune “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing).” The Quickstep is known for its fast-paced, joyful movements, and AJ and Kai executed it with precision and style. Their partnership on the dance floor was a testament to the dedication and hard work that contestants put into the competition.

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe’s Pasodoble and Showdance: Breaking Boundaries

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe made history on Strictly Come Dancing as the first all-male pairing. Their performances were nothing short of spectacular, leaving a lasting impression on both the judges and the audience. Two of their standout routines were the Paso Doble and the Showdance.

For the Paso Doble, John and Johannes danced to “He’s a Pirate” from “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” during the movie-themed week. The Paso Doble is a passionate and dramatic dance, and their portrayal was nothing less than spectacular. Their choreography was filled with intensity and precision, earning them rave reviews.

The Showdance was another highlight of their journey, set to “You’ve Got the Love.” Their dance was a beautiful and emotional display of their partnership, showcasing their incredible chemistry and skill. It was no surprise that their efforts were rewarded with the ultimate recognition.

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice: A Historic Tango and a Poetic Couple’s Choice

Actor Rose Ayling-Ellis and her partner Giovanni Pernice etched their names in the Strictly history books with their remarkable performances. In week six, they delivered a Tango that received a perfect score of 40, marking the earliest occurrence of a perfect score in the show’s history. The dance was set to “Shivers” and showcased their exceptional talent and chemistry.

Their Couple’s Choice performance was a standout moment for its unique and poetic approach. Dancing to “Symphony,” they performed a sequence in silence, celebrating Rose, who is deaf. This moving and visually stunning routine was a testament to the power of dance as a universal language that transcends barriers.

To add to their achievements, Rose and Giovanni’s Showdance, set to “The Rose,” was nothing short of epic. Their chemistry and storytelling through dance were unparalleled, making it clear why they emerged as the winners of series 19.

Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez’s Mesmerizing Couple’s Choice

In a more recent series, TV presenter Helen Skelton graced the Strictly dance floor with her mesmerizing Couple’s Choice routine. This unique and contemporary dance style allows couples to express themselves without the constraints of traditional ballroom or Latin steps.

Helen’s Couple’s Choice performance was set to “Mein Herr” from the musical “Cabaret.” It was an exquisite fusion of dance styles and emotions, earning her full marks. What made this routine even more exceptional was her flawless execution in the finale, securing her a place in the annals of epic Strictly routines.

Fleur East and Vito Coppola’s Dynamic Tribute

Fleur East, a singer and songwriter, paid a vibrant and dynamic tribute to her favorite band, Destiny’s Child, with a Couple’s Choice performance. This unconventional dance style allowed Fleur and her partner, Vito Coppola, to let loose and showcase their incredible talent.

Their routine featured a medley of Destiny’s Child hits, and it was a true spectacle of energy and creativity. The freedom that Couple’s Choice offers was evident as they brought the spirit of Destiny’s Child to life on the dance floor.

Fleur and Vito’s journey didn’t stop there. They also took on the Samba, a lively and rhythmically challenging Latin dance. Dancing to “Hot Hot Hot,” they followed in the footsteps of a memorable performance by Mark and Karen from the early days of Strictly, earning a perfect score of 40. Their ability to master different dance styles and bring their unique flair to each performance was a testament to their artistry.


Strictly Come Dancing has been a treasure trove of exceptional dance performances over the years. From the lively and exuberant Charleston of Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu to the history-making routines of John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, the show continues to dazzle its audience with the artistry and passion of its contestants.

These standout performances remind us of the transformative power of dance and its ability to transcend boundaries and create moments of pure magic. Strictly Come Dancing remains a beloved institution that celebrates the joy of dance and the remarkable talents of its participants. As the show continues to evolve and push the boundaries of dance, we can look forward to many more epic routines that will leave a lasting mark on the world of entertainment.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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