“A passion and a love for dance”: Robert Rinder in Strictly Come Dancing

“A passion and a love for dance”: Robert Rinder in Strictly Come Dancing

Robert Rinder’s genuine enthusiasm for dancing was clear from the outset of the primetime BBC show’s 14th series – and continued all the way through the autumn.

Robert (OE 1989–1994), who performed under his TV name of Judge Rinder, clearly relished the opportunity to entertain huge audiences in the weekly dancing extravaganza. He proved to be one of the best performers, too; it was not until the start of December that he was eliminated in the quarter-final – the 11th contestant to leave the show out of the 15 who started in September.

“You are never too old to try something new – and everybody should try dance,” he said at the end of his last show.

Another theme that ran throughout his appearances was his appreciation and generous praise for his professional dance partner, Oksana Platero, who was responsible for choreographing their performances. In his final comments, he thanked her again, describing her as a “truly extraordinary person – this teacher, who has led me from somebody who could barely walk to music with no dance experience at all and given me a passion and a love for dance”.

His fellow competitors included former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, Olympic gymnast Claudia Frangapane and singer Will Young.

He told the Radio Times: “Strictly is one of those rare things in broadcasting, a show that the entire family can enjoy together, regardless of age or background, which is – above all – the reason I agreed to take part.”

Robert’s stated motivation for taking part also included making his grandmother proud of him; he credits her with giving him a love of dancing. His grandparents, Frances and Harry Rinder, were in the audience when he performed a foxtrot in November.

There were many other memorable moments, both among his actual performances and in the ensuring banter with the four judges. He danced the Charleston dressed as Fred Flintstone, delighting the audience with some over-the-top facial expressions. For the show’s eagerly awaited outing to Blackpool’s famous Tower Ballroom, he and Oksana danced the salsa to the Spice Girls’ Spice up your life. And even when he was eliminated, his impressive ‘hip action’ in a samba performed to the song, December, 1963, from the musical, Jersey Boys, drew praise from the judges.

Robert became famous in 2014 with the launch of his daytime show in which he presides over cases such as disputes over consumer issues, personal and business fall-outs and allegations of negligence.

Although not a judge, he is a highly successful barrister who has focused mainly on international fraud, money-laundering and other financial crime. He was instructed by the British Government as counsel to the Turks and Caicos Islands’ Special Investigation and Prosecution Team, which was established by the Foreign Office to prosecute allegations of bribery, international corruption and fraud. In the UK he has advised on and appeared in cases involving fraud against the NHS, counterfeit medicines, multi-million-pound money laundering and pension fraud.

He has also appeared as counsel in high-profile murder cases and other cases of serious violence, usually for the defence.  These included the manslaughter of detainees in Iraq by British servicemen and the New Year’s murders of 17-year-old Letisha Shakespeare and 18-year-old Charlene Ellis in a drive-by shooting in Birmingham in 2003.