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Karen Hardy on her hopes to replace Len Goodman as new Strictly judge: 'I will be keeping my fingers crossed'

by Sharnaz Shahid

Ballroom dancer Karen Hardy has revealed her hopes to replace Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman on the next series of the popular BBC competition. The former professional dancer - who lifted the glitterball in the 2006 series with cricketer Mark Ramprakash - revealed she will be keeping her fingers crossed for the coveted role.

Speaking to HELLO! Online, the 46-year-old discussed the speculation surrounding the gig - which has also been linked to Anton du Beke and Brendan Cole. "It would be an amazing opportunity," she confessed. "I guess I will have to wait for organic feedback from the public. What the gods have in line for 2017 I have no idea, but I will be keeping my fingers crossed! If it's what the producers want, then the execs will make their decision."

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Karen Hardy has revealed her hopes to replace Len Goodman as new Strictly judge

Karen, who performed on the BBC show for three years before leaving in 2008, will be beginning the New Year with a brand new role as she joins Len, 72, and fellow Strictly star Craig Revel Horwood on the judging panel for the tenth anniversary nationwide tour, which will be hosted by 2015 finalist, TV presenter Anita Rani.

Sharing her excitement, the mother-of-one confessed: "I've been involved with the show for 12 years and I've always been a huge fan. I completely love anything that endorses with world of dance." She added: "The bizarre thing I remember was six years after my retirement. I received a phone call from Len saying, 'Come on Karen I think you should get involved with this TV show and I think it will be great for you.' We are very loyal to each other in this dance business."

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 "I will be keeping my fingers crossed," she told HELLO!

When quizzed about what it would be like to join the Strictly veterans on the panel, Karen explained how close everyone is behind the TV screens. "With Len, he's known me since I was five/six years old," she said. "With Craig it's been twelve years now. It's one big family, all the professionals behind the scenes have been coming up to say congratulations."

The star continued: "I am so passionate on the show, I love everything about it, I empathise from the professional point of view, and I can feel what the celebrities have to go through. But I have also stood there, looking at the judges, and they’ve looked me in the eyes – they know my knowledge on dance, to be a judge on the other side now, I can't explain my passion for wanting to enjoy the moment."

The Strictly Come Dancing Tour tenth anniversary live UK tour runs from 20 January to 12 February.