Celebrities

Arlene Phillips talks possible return to Strictly amid sexism row

Arlene Phillips on ‘love-hate’ relationship with dance

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Arlene Phillips, 79, sat on the Strictly Come Dancing panel alongside Len Goodman and Craig Revel Horwood from 2004 until 2009. As the professional dancer discussed her partnership with Wiltshire Farm Foods, Arlene revealed whether she would ever return to Strictly as a judge.

It’s not a question!

Arlene Phillips

Arlene was replaced on the BBC dance show in 2009 by Alesha Dixon.

Having been away from the show for many years and still being a huge fan, Express.co.uk asked Arlene if she would ever return.

She replied: “It’s not a question I would ever ask myself because it’s not going to happen. So why even think about it?

“However, I can say I loved the show and I loved being part of it and I do miss it.”

This comes after Arlene told The Mirror last year that she was never told why she was taken off Strictly.

She revealed: “I gave myself 48 hours to kick, scream, cry and sob, and eat scones with cream and jam, then I made myself wake up and get on with it,” she told the newspaper.

“I reflect and think, wow, I really didn’t ask the questions I needed to ask. I was very fragile because I had a bereavement the day before [her manager died].”

She added: “I wanted to know in detail and I wanted to know the real reason at the point when they decided for me to go, yet they kept me hanging on for so long with the possibility that there would be five judges.”

Despite her axe from the show, Arlene has continued her dance career, choreographing countless films, commercials, West End and Broadway productions.

Arlene’s comment on Strictly comes as Head Judge Shirley Ballas has been left defending herself after hurtful trolling online, accusing her of “sexist” remarks in the show.

Shirley, who landed the head judge role in 2017, is at the centre of a new fix row as some Twitter trolls demand she is sacked over her opinion of this series’ celebrity contestants.

The head judge reiterated on Loose Women this week that she does “not have a bad bone” as she called out the “hurtful” remarks.

“The backlash and trolling has been a lot,” Shirley told the Loose Women panel.

“Saturdays are the ultimate job. I do read everything. I know people say not to but I think it’s quite important. I like to think I’ve helped so many people over the years, people with mental health issues.

“But it is really hurtful, some of the language is so explicit I couldn’t even retweet it, it’s unfathomable.”

Arlene is currently partnered with Wiltshire Farm Foods who are making dreams come true for those aged 55+ as they nominate themselves for something stipulating, with Arlene then picking the best ones.

The older generation are being encouraged to tick off items from their bucket-list with this new opportunity, that some might have had on there for decades.

Speaking about the campaign, Arlene said: “There is so much to do and see and it’s about time we all got out there to do it – it’s about how you feel inside, not what your age dictates. “After all, age is just a number! We’re seeing more and more mature adults going above and beyond to achieve the goals they want in life – from cage diving with sharks, to skydives, and other crazy activities!

“I’d love to see more people live out their lifelong dreams in their mature years and embrace the freedom that older age brings, and that’s why I’m working with Wiltshire Farm Foods to launch the Wishlist Fund. Life is for living, so live it”

The Wishlist Fund is viewed via www.wiltshirefarmfoods.com/wishlist-fund and is open for 2 weeks, closing 25th October 2022.

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