Janette Manrara details ‘beautiful’ final meeting with Len Goodman before death

Strictly: It Takes Two host Janette Manrara, 39, has revealed Len Goodman “stayed until the very end” of an event at Blackpool Tower Ballroom to watch her and husband Aljaz Skorjanec, 33, perform, in the couple’s “last memory” with the judge before his death.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk after losing Strictly Come Dancing’s former head judge to bone cancer at the age of 78 in April, Janette revealed the last time she saw her co-star happened “in the most beautiful way”.

Janette revealed that her husband and dance partner Aljaz was “very good friends” with Len, and spoke to him via a FaceTime call just weeks prior to his death.

However, the last time the couple saw Len together was last year, when they all happened to be at the same dance event.

Janette recalled of the poignant final meeting: “I think it was last year.

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“Aljaz and Len were very good friends, they FaceTimed and spoke a lot, I mean, I think Aljaz actually FaceTimed him [recently] so we’re very, very close.

“Aljaz and I had… oddly enough, in the most beautiful way, the last time we saw Len was actually in the Blackpool Tower.

“We were there for an event and we were putting on a show, and Len was there for the same event, Len was ready to go, he didn’t have to stay for the show.

“But when he realised it was me and Aljaz, he came down to us while we were rehearsing.

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“He said, ‘I can’t believe it’s the two of you. I love watching you two dance together and I’m gonna stay back and watch the show’.”

Janette continued in the exclusive interview: “And he literally stayed until the very end and watched every single number that we did.

“He loved watching Aljaz and I dance, so that was our last memory with Len in the Blackpool Tower, with Aljaz and I dancing.

“So it was the most beautiful memory we can have with him, really.”

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Len was Strictly’s head judge from its launch in 2004 to 2016, while Janette and Aljaz joined the BBC show as professional dancers in 2013.

The dance expert died at a hospice in Kent surrounded by his family, just days before he was set to celebrate his 79th birthday.

In a statement, Len’s agent Jackie Gill confirmed: “It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78.

“A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”

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