Alesha's in and Arlene's out in Strictly reshuffle

Pop singer Alesha Dixon will join the judging panel later this year, the BBC has confirmed. She takes the place of regular judge and dance choreographer Arlene Philips, who moves to The One Show as a Strictly Come Dancing expert.

Last week Philips, who has judged the show since it began six years ago, seemed upset if resigned to the much-rumoured prospect of her leaving the show, telling BBC Radio 4: "I can't imagine someone else sitting in my chair, but life will go on." When the seventh series of reality show begins, however, Philips' chair will be occupied by Dixon, who won the show with her professional dance partner Matthew Cutler in 2007.

Philips will instead appear on The One Show as a Strictly Come Dancing expert. Speaking about her new role in a statement, Philips said: "I am delighted to be part of The One Show but I will miss Strictly. It has been a big part of my life for six years."

New judge Dixon says: "I'm honoured and excited to be joining the judging panel. I've always felt like part of the Strictly family and really believe in the show." The singer will take her seat alongside original judges Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Len Goodman when the new series begins in autumn.

Former Royal Ballet dancer Darcey Bussell is also set to guest-judge the show at the end of the next series. BBC controller Jay Hunt says her input will: "bring an exciting new dimension to the last few weeks of the Strictly competition."

The judge reshuffle is part of a new secret format for the show, which the BBC promises to reveal nearer the time.

What do you make of these changes?

Comments (1)
Jul 10, 2009
Don't get me wrong, I love Alesha, but I find it's interesting they got rid of the older woman instead of the useless lump on the end - yes, I do mean Bruno. At least Arlene gave constructive criticism rather than over the top pointlessness. Just another example of the fact that TV is run by ageing old men who prefer to get rid of an older woman, irregardless of her skills, and replace her with something they'd rather salivate over. I think the show will miss Arlene, but Bruno could have gone and I for one would never have missed him.