Former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips has shared her thoughts on the show's new recruit Shirley Ballas, who will replace Len Goodman as head of the panel.

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips has given her seal of approval to new recruit Shirley Ballas.

The so-called Queen of Latin, 56, was announced as the surprise new head judge on the BBC One show, taking over from Len Goodman, 73.

Arlene, 73, who sparked an ageism row when she was dropped and replaced by Alesha Dixon in 2009, told Good Morning Britain: “She is fierce, she is tough, she is hard and she’s sharp.

“She knows how to move the body and tell others how to move the body.”

shirley ballas

The choreographer is embarking on a tour to reveal the “inside gossip” from her career.

Asked why so many dancers become romantically involved, she said: “It’s often very likely because it’s body to body.

“I won’t say it is inevitable but it often happens, again and again.”

Shirley Ballas will take over Len’s position from the next series onwards after beating the competition, which was rumoured to be Brendan Cole, Anton Du Beke, Gary Edwards and Arlene herself.

Ballas was born and raised in Wallasey, in Merseyside and was a talented dancer as a child.

When she was 18, she won her first major title, then went on to triumph with dance partner Sammy Stopford in the 1983 International Latin American Dance Championship.

She has been a guest on Dancing with the Stars in the past, providing masterclasses to the contestants, but does not dance competitively any more.