The former Strictly judge was part of the original panel (Picture: Rex)

Dame Arlene Phillips has admitted just how tough she found the news she’d been let go from Strictly Come Dancing, with Alesha Dixon taking her place on the panel. 

The choreographer, 79, formed part of the original judging team on Strictly when the show began back in 2004. 

However, following the 2008 series of the BBC show, it was announced that Dame Arlene, who was 66 at the time, had been replaced by former winner and Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon on the judging panel, who was 30.

While she has spoken about the incident publicly before, she has now revealed just how difficult she found it to process.

She shared: ‘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.

Dame Arlene went on to admit she felt she didn’t ask the right questions after finding out the news, having now had more time to reflect. 

Arlene was axed after the 2008 series (Picture: Shutterstock)

‘I was very fragile because I had a bereavement the day before [her manager died]. 

‘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,’ she added to The Mirror. 

At the time, it was rumoured Dame Arlene was let go due to the BBC thought she ‘too old.’

Alesha replaced Dame Arlene on the show, before later switching to ITV for Britain’s Got Talent (Picture: BBC)

But she still doesn’t know the reason why she was dropped and replaced by the singer, who is 35 years younger than her. 

Following her exit from Strictly, Dame Arlene went on to star in other dancing programmes, appearing on So You Think You Can Dance?.

In recent months, Dame Arlene has been back on our screens as a contestant on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’s 2021 series, and was a guest judge on Dancing On Ice, alongside former Strictly pro, Oti Mabuse. 

Dame Arlene has got to work with Oti Mabuse lots this year (Picture: Matt Frost/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Dame Arlene praised her co-star, who she is currently working with on The Cher Show. 

‘It’s so easy working with Oti,’ she shared with the publication.

However, she did recall having to tell off the South African dancer after she got a bit too carried away during rehearsals.

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‘I did have to shout at her one day because of her craziness!’ Arlene continued. ‘She was miming to Cher and we had to get on with the work and I had to say, “OK now, enough Oti! You can be Cher another time but right now you need to get back to work”. I was quite bossy with her!’ has contacted the BBC for comment.

Strictly Come Dancing returns later this year to BBC One. 

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