The show has run on BBC One since 15 May 2004, primarily on Saturday evenings with a following Sunday night results show (with certain exceptions) and with its high viewing figures Strictly Come Dancing has become a significant programme in British popular culture. The thirteenth series ended on 19 December 2015. A further eleven stand-alone Christmas specials have also been produced, in consecutive years from 2004 onwards. Nine charity specials have also been produced since 2008. Since the fourth series, the show has also been aired in high definition on BBC HD, and BBC One HD from series 8.
On 7 November 2013 it was announced that Sir Bruce Forsyth would be retiring from presenting the main series. While intended to return as host for each Children in Need and Christmas special, he only did so for the Christmas special in 2014 and the Children in Need special in 2015. He sent a video message for the 2015 Christmas special as he was unable to appear due to his illness. Forsyth died on 18 August 2017.
Producer Richard Hopkins, who had produced the first UK series of Big Brother, unsuccessfully pitched the idea of a modern Come Dancing to the BBC under the title of Pro-Celebrity Dancing in 2003. Later, entertainment executive Fenia Vardanis also suggested reviving Come Dancing, so Jane Lush, the then head of BBC Entertainment, put Hopkins and Vardanis together to develop the show.
Hopkins then called in Karen Smith, who had just produced Comic Relief Does Fame Academy for BBC One and The Games for Channel 4, to help lead the development of the show and launch the series. Smith was the show running Executive Producer of the first three series, and of sister show It Takes Two. She then took the role of Creative Director of BBC Entertainment whilst still overseeing series 4 and 5.