Arlene Phillips has hinted that she would consider a return to the judging panel of Strictly Come Dancing if she were asked to replace Alesha Dixon.

The 68-year-old was dropped from the panel in 2009 in favour of Alesha, leading to a row over ageism – but there has been speculation she could be offered her old job back after the singer announced this week she was quitting the show to join Britain’s Got Talent.

“The Strictly thing was just starting to die down,” Arlene told The Sun, speaking for the first time since Alesha’s departure was revealed.

“Having been asked about it every day for years, this Christmas and New Year I thought — heaven, it’s ending a bit. Maybe there is another life for me.

“Then this happened, and as soon as it did my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. And I am very grateful but I can’t even say thank you without it causing an avalanche. I’ve not been able to breathe.”

A replacement for Alesha will be announced within the next few months.

Although the BBC has given no hints as to who might join the panel, dancer Karen Hardy – a former professional on the show – and 2010’s champion Kara Tointon are among the others who have been tipped as potential candidates for the job.