Arlene Phillips regrets not fighting BBC for apology after they axed her from Strictly Come Dancing


‘I didn’t have the strength’: Arlene Phillips says she regrets not fighting the BBC for an apology after they axed her from Strictly Come Dancing to replace her with Alesha Dixon

Former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips has told of her regret at not fighting the BBC for an apology after they axed her from the dance show to replace her with Alesha Dixon.

The world-renowned choreographer was left devastated when she was sacked from the reality series in 2009 amid an ageism row, as aged 66, she was 36 years older than Alesha, who was 30 at the time.

Arlene, now 77, was got rid of to make way for the popstar, while her male co-judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood kept their jobs.

Upset: Former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips has told of her regret at not fighting the BBC for an apology after they axed her from the dance show to replace her with Alesha Dixon

Upset: Former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips has told of her regret at not fighting the BBC for an apology after they axed her from the dance show to replace her with Alesha Dixon

Speaking of her heartache at being booted off the programme, she said: ‘As a woman I should’ve thought about it, I should’ve demanded why the woman had gone, and three men remain.

‘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.’

Speaking to actress Natalie Anderson’s podcast, The Capsule, which went live tonight at 8pm, Arlene added: ‘But I didn’t have the strength, I didn’t have the will. I was pathetic.’

Replacement: The world-renowned choreographer was left devastated when she was sacked from the reality series in 2009 amid an ageism row, as aged 66, she was 36 years older than Alesha, who was 30 at the time

Replacement: The world-renowned choreographer was left devastated when she was sacked from the reality series in 2009 amid an ageism row, as aged 66, she was 36 years older than Alesha, who was 30 at the time 

End of an era: Arlene, now 77, was got rid of to make way for the popstar, while her male co-judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood kept their jobs

End of an era: Arlene, now 77, was got rid of to make way for the popstar, while her male co-judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood kept their jobs

Mother-of-two Arlene also revealed that losing her job after four series of the BBC One show, which began in 2004, left her in a ‘very, very, very bad place,’ and it coincided with the loss of her manager, who was also her close friend.

She said of the row, which sources at the BBC say they are still deeply ashamed of: ‘I never allowed myself to think about it. 

‘My manager of many years, who was my manager right through to Strictly, passed away the day before.

Gutted: Mother-of-two Arlene also revealed that losing her job after four series of the BBC One show, which began in 2004, left her in a 'very, very, very bad place'

Gutted: Mother-of-two Arlene also revealed that losing her job after four series of the BBC One show, which began in 2004, left her in a ‘very, very, very bad place’

‘So I was being hit by grief, having no agent or manager to deal with the fall out from Strictly, having not been told about it. I didn’t realise for myself just quite how damaged I was.’

Alesha, who won Strictly in 2007, left her judging role in 2012 to defect to ITV to be a judge on Britain’s Got Talent.

She was replaced by ballet star Darcey Bussell.

MailOnline has contacted Strictly Come Dancing for a comment.

Judges: Alesha, who won Strictly in 2007, left her judging role in 2012 to defect to ITV to be a judge on Britain's Got Talent. She was replaced by ballet star Darcey Bussell (left)

Judges: Alesha, who won Strictly in 2007, left her judging role in 2012 to defect to ITV to be a judge on Britain’s Got Talent. She was replaced by ballet star Darcey Bussell (left) 

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