Goodman became a judge on the BBC’s flagship programme in 2004 before his final appearance on the 2016 Christmas Day special and became synonymous with his catchphrase ‘Seven’.
He was diagnosed with bone cancer and died in April aged 78.
In the video tribute in tonight’s launch show, host Claudia Winkleman said: ‘He was perfect in every way.
‘Len could light up a room so when you were with him you felt aglow.
‘He would say pickle my walnuts, he was funny, you wanted to watch him.’
Meanwhile judge Craig Revel Horwood said: ‘I don’t think I will meet anyone as funny.
‘I absolutely adored our little arguments and that is what sort of bonded us and gave us a fantastic friendship.’
Struggling to hold back his tears, he added: ‘If you asked me the question ‘was Len one of your best friends’, I would say absolutely.’
The emotional segment had viewers in bits, with one writing: ‘Well not a dry eye in my household tonight beautiful tribute to Len Goodman.’
‘Am sitting here crying what an amazing Tribute to Len Goodman R.I.P Len Goodman,’ another said.
Someone else wrote: ‘Thank you for doing this Len Goodman tribute in the first episode since his passing @bbcstrictly.
‘He was a real character during his time as a judge and he helped to make #Strictly entertaining, especially with some of his catchphrases.’
Elsewhere, the show paid tribute to pro dancer Amy Dowden, who will not be paired up with a celebrity on the 2023 show, after it was revealed earlier this year that she had been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.
The new series kicked off with a dance in honour of the Strictly family’s ‘Welsh dragon’.
Host Tess Daly said: ‘We are of course missing one of our professional dancers, our gorgeous Amy Dowden is unwell and she can’t be with us for the start of the series.
‘She’s our Welsh dragon and we know she’ll be back soon.’
Claudia added: ‘Amy, from your entire Strictly family we are sending all our love and we can’t wait to have you back on the dancefloor.’
The group number saw judges Shirley Ballas, Craig, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke perform along with the professionals to a medley of songs including Afraid To Feel from LF System, Kylie’s Padam Padam and Higher from Michael Buble.
Meanwhile, Amy posted a message in support on her own socials, writing: ‘My smile the other week after being with the Strictly family, the entire team.
‘So grateful and lucky to have you all. Tune in tonight.
‘Can’t wait to support all my friends and their fabulous journeys this year and I’ll be there when I can.’
Strictly Come Dancing continues next Saturday on BBC One and iPlayer.
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