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Arlene Phillips ‘is invited back to Strictly Come Dancing by the BBC 13 years after she was axed’


Arlene Phillips ‘is invited back to Strictly Come Dancing by the BBC 13 years after she was axed as bosses seek to capitalise on her upcoming I’m A Celebrity appearance’

  • The broadcaster is said to be eager to capitalise on the news that Arlene, 78, is said to be taking part in this year’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! 
  • Arlene was previously let go from her judging role on Strictly Come Dancing in 2009 when she was replaced by Alesha Dixon, who was 35 years her junior
  • In the wake of the panel switch-up, the BBC received more than 1,350 complaints, mostly accusations of ageism 
  • The world-renowned choreographer later admitted she regretted not fighting the BBC for an apology after they axed her
  • It comes after reports that Arlene is the first I’m A Celebrity contestant to be confirmed for this year’s show 










The BBC has reportedly invited Arlene Phillips back on Strictly Come Dancing more than ten years after she was axed. 

The broadcaster is said to be eager to capitalise on the news that Arlene, 78, is thought to be taking part in this year’s  I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

A source told The Mirror: ‘They want her back as a one-off stunt after she’s been with Ant and Dec,’ one TV insider said.

Comeback: The BBC has reportedly invited Arlene Phillips back on Strictly Come Dancing more than ten years after she was axed

Comeback: The BBC has reportedly invited Arlene Phillips back on Strictly Come Dancing more than ten years after she was axed

‘To have Dame Arlene make a special appearance on Strictly would suggest there’s no bad blood any more. It would look good after they got rid of her all those years ago.’

Arlene was previously let go from her judging role on Strictly Come Dancing in 2009 when she was replaced by Alesha Dixon, who was 35 years her junior.

In the wake of the panel switch-up, the BBC received more than 1,350 complaints, mostly accusations of ageism

The world-renowned choreographer later admitted she regretted not fighting the BBC for an apology after they axed her.

Limelight: The broadcaster is said to be eager to capitalise on the news that Arlene, 78, is thought to be taking part in this year's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!  (pictured on Strictly)

Limelight: The broadcaster is said to be eager to capitalise on the news that Arlene, 78, is thought to be taking part in this year’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!  (pictured on Strictly)

Speaking to actress Natalie Anderson’s podcast, The Capsule, she said: ‘I should have asked them to analyse it. 

‘I should have had the strength to at least ask for reasons and if not getting the reasons, a damn well apology. But I didn’t have the strength, I didn’t have the will. I was pathetic.’  

Last year, Arlene told the Sod’s Law podcast she attempted to find out more about why she was let go.

She said: ‘I’ve got the Freedom of Information and looking at the chaotic way that led up to it was shocking. Most is redacted.

Axe:Arlene was previously let go from her judging role on Strictly Come Dancing in 2009 when she was replaced by Alesha Dixon (pictured), who was 35 years her junior

Axe:Arlene was previously let go from her judging role on Strictly Come Dancing in 2009 when she was replaced by Alesha Dixon (pictured), who was 35 years her junior 

‘They could have given me the chance to resign or build a story around it.’

MailOnline has contacted representatives for Arlene Phillips and the BBC for comment. 

It comes after reports that Arlene is the first I’m A Celebrity contestant to be confirmed for this year’s show.

At 78, TV star Arlene will be the oldest celebrity contestant to have taken part in the competition, with the title previously going to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s father Stanley, who was 77 at the time of his 2017 stint.

News of Arlene’s signing was reported by The Mirror, with sources telling the paper the former dancer will have no trouble handling the chilly interior of North Wales’ Gwrych Castle – where the show is to be held for the second year running – as she is ‘strong and tough’.

A source said: 'To have Dame Arlene make a special appearance on Strictly would suggest there's no bad blood any more. It would look good after they got rid of her all those years ago'

A source said: ‘To have Dame Arlene make a special appearance on Strictly would suggest there’s no bad blood any more. It would look good after they got rid of her all those years ago’

They told the paper in full: ‘Arlene is strong and tough and her energy is boundless. 

‘No doubt she’ll have the group dancing around the campfire in a bid to beat the cold and keep morale high. Should be fun.’

Arlene – who was born in 1943 in Prestwich, Lancashire, before moving to London where she rose quickly through the dance industry’s ranks – will also be the first contestant in the show’s history to hold the title of Dame.

Arlene’s representatives declined to comment when approached by MailOnline. ITV has also been approached for comment.

In 2018 Harry Redknapp was crowned King of the Jungle at the age of 71, while Caitlyn Jenner entered the jungle in 2019 aged 70. 

Candid: The world-renowned choreographer later admitted she regretted not fighting the BBC for an apology after they axed her

Candid: The world-renowned choreographer later admitted she regretted not fighting the BBC for an apology after they axed her

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