The BBC has apparently received 1,369 complaints from furious Strictly Come Dancing fans following its decision to replace Arlene Phillips with Alesha Dixon.

While Alesha has already signed her contract, the BBC is said to be worried as the backlash against the 2007 Strictly winner continues to grow, according to The Sun.

The size of the campaign has already been likened to the ‘Sachsgate’ scandal when the BBC was forced to suspend Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand after making a lewd phone-call on live radio to Fawlty Towers’ Andrew Sachs.

Defending its decision, a spokeswoman of the BBC said: “Age or gender has absolutely nothing to do with the decision to replace Arlene on the judging panel.

“Strictly appeals to a wide audience and the BBC has been striving to ensure it stays fresh and relevant for existing viewers and newcomers.

“So the decision to replace Arlene and not one of the other judges was taken as a result of the review process, with the balance and flavour of the panel in mind and nothing else.”

But head judge Len has spoken out against bosses who he accused of ‘trying to sex up the show by trying to mimic the effect young star Cheryl Cole had when she replaced Sharon Osbourne on The X Factor‘.

Other stars who have openly spoken out in favour of Arlene include Camilla Dallerup, Esther Rantzen, Louisa Lytton, Jill Halfpenny and Roger Black.