Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has rallied round Alesha Dixon and blasted the “horrendous” backlash directed at her.

The 44-year-old backed his new colleague after BBC online message boards were inundated with claims that Alesha – who replaced choreographer Arlene Phillips on the panel – did not have the experience to judge others.

Craig said: “This backlash is horrendous and I don’t think she deserves it. She deserves to be given a chance and it makes me very angry that she’s not.”

He told BBC Breakfast: “If you go back and look at the first weeks of any of us, Arlene, Len, Bruno and I, on any of our early recordings none of us were perfect right away.

“Alesha has got to be given a chance. She’s up there to form a critique and that’s what she is doing.”

Craig also revealed he thought there were two potential candidates to provide this year’s John Sergeant.

Craig said: “I think we might find the John Sergeant next week – when we’ve got Phil Tufnell taking to the floor. We might even find a female version in Jo Wood after seeing her in the group dance.”

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