ARLENE PHILLIPS was infamously sacked from the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel seven years ago to make way for a younger woman.
It caused a massive row with the BBC accused of ageism, and ignited a whole debate about older women on screen.
Now that head judge Len Goodman is leaving the show, there will be a gap on the panel next year for an experienced, knowledgeable expert who knows the world of dance inside out
and can give crisp, constructive criticism as well as funny off-the-cuff quips.
Step forward Arlene.
She’s the obvious choice for the job.
She could hold her own against the acid-tongued Craig Revel Horwood and keep the excitable jack-in-the-box Bruno Tonioli under control.
Like Darcey Bussell, she really knows her stuff and she was always so passionate about Strictly and was such a tremendous ambassador for the show.
Not that it should matter, but she’s in incredible shape and looks at least two decades younger than her 73 years.
Arlene was devastated when she lost her place on the show, but with great dignity picked herself up, dusted herself down and continued to work on other TV shows and to choreograph stage productions.
She’s a grafter and has written books, has her own clothing and jewellery range and campaigns for Alzheimer’s charities.
Her big breakthrough was doing the choreography for Hot Gossip, a somewhat raunchy dance act which featured in Kenny Everett’s iconic TV show.
Throughout the ’80s she choreographed pop videos for Elton John, Queen and The Bee Gees. She’s also won an Emmy and a Bafta.
Arlene said this week that she would, of course, love to return to the show and I reckon it’s a no-brainier.
She would be brilliant and I think viewers would really enjoy welcoming her back.
Simon Cowell swallowed his pride and asked old-stagers Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne to return as judges on The X Factor when last year’s series didn’t work out.
So there’s nothing to stop the Beeb from sending Arlene the biggest bunch of flowers in the world and having her back on board for 2017.
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