Strictly’s Craig ‘shocked’ by Arlene axe

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has told of his ‘shock’ at the axing of Arlene Phillips in favour of Alesha Dixon, saying celebrities can never match the experience of professionals.

A furore erupted over the departure of 66-year-old choreographer Arlene, who was dropped from the BBC1 celebrity talent show’s judging panel after six series.

Younger stars Darcey Bussell, 40, and 30-year-old singer Alesha, who won the competition in 2007, are being brought on board, while Arlene will be The One Show’s Strictly expert.

Craig, 44, told New! magazine Alesha “knows quite a bit about dance because she’s been through the series and won it, so she’s been trained by the professionals and the best.

“But a celebrity contestant can never match someone who has been dancing their entire lives, who has been competitive and in professional competitions. But at the end of the day, it’s just an entertainment show.”

The judge said he and Arlene often had arguments and a lot of banter.

“I don’t know if Alesha and I will do that – I don’t have a clue what will come out of her mouth, actually. The proof will be in the pudding.”

The judge, normally known for his acid tongue, told how taken aback he was when he discovered Arlene had been dropped.

Craig said: “I was shocked – very shocked – because I didn’t think they would change it. I never thought they would change Arlene. I never thought they would change any of us.”

This year’s full line-up of contestants in due to be revealed on Tuesday August 25.

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