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Former Strictly judge could be in line to return to show

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Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Dame Arlene Phillips could be in line to return to show more than a decade after being axed.

The 78-year-old is due to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here but BBC bosses are keen to bring her back once her stint in Wales is over, reports the Mirror.

A TV insider told the paper: “They want her back as a one-off stunt after she’s been with Ant and Dec.

READ MORE:Dad of three who ‘doted’ on his kids died suddenly

“To have Dame Arlene make a special appearance on Strictly would suggest there’s no bad blood any more. It would look good after they got rid of her all those years ago.”

The decision to dump the award-winning choreographer from the Strictly judging panel in favour of 30-year-old former winner Alesha Dixon sparked accusations of ageism in 2009.

Arlene Phillips is due to be on I'm A Celebrity before this year
Arlene Phillips is due to be on I’m A Celebrity before this year

Arlene, 66 at the time, admitted it was a difficult pill to swallow, saying later: “I think it was handled so poorly. You then never forget those moments of turmoil.

“One minute you’re the focus of everyone’s attention, the next you are nowhere and pushed out of the way. It’s very hard to deal with.”

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In 2018 she was again linked with the BBC show after choreographing one of the group numbers performed by the professional dancers.

Speaking at the time, she said: “I did this because this is where my heart lies. I didn’t do this about resolving anything with Strictly. Was it hard for me to say yes? I’ve got to tell you, it was really hard.”

Last year Arlene, attempted to find out more about the reason behind her sacking, saying: “I’ve got the Freedom of Information and looking at the chaotic way that led up to it was shocking. Most is redacted.

“They could have given me the chance to resign or build a story around it.”

ITV chiefs have high hopes for Arlene as a contestant in spooky Gwrych Castle, North Wales. She has also been considered as a replacement for departing Dancing on Ice judge John Barrowman, although no deal has yet been done. The new skating series starts in January.

Mr Barrowman has apologised for his previous “exuberant behaviour” which involved dropping his trousers. He leaves Dancing on Ice after two years but will continue as host of ITV’s upcoming All Star Musicals specials.

Last night a Mirror Strictly source said there were no plans for any guest judges to appear during this run.

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