Arlene Phillips is set to make a dramatic return to Strictly Come Dancing – nine years after she was controversially axed from the show.
The choreographer was dropped from the Strictly line-up when she was 66-years-old and was replaced by the then 30-year-old Alesha Dixon, sparking allegations of ageism against the BBC.
But now Arlene has decided to finally come back, as she’s created a dance routine which will appear on Sunday night’s results show starring the disabled and non-disabled dance company Candoco.
Speaking of her return to the show, Arlene admitted, “I did this because this is where my heart lies. I didn’t do this about resolving anything with Strictly.”
She then added to The Sun, “Was it hard for me to say yes? I’ve got to tell you, it was really hard.”
Arlene is currently gearing up for the big performance ahead of filming on Saturday night, and went on to admit she hasn’t yet decided whether she’ll watch the show from the audience or not.
“I’m not sure because I am supposed to be at an event anyway that day,” she confessed.
“But I am not sure, at the moment I haven’t replaced myself. So of course it would be very emotional to be there in the studio.”
The performance will be set to David Bowie’s Life on Mars and will feature ten Candoco dancers as well as ten of the eliminated Strictly professionals including Anton Du Beke and Gorka Marquez.
Sharing a photo from rehearsals earlier this week, Arlene said, “I have loved working with these phenomenally talented dancers. Truly inspiring. Tune into @bbcstrictly on Sunday night to see the piece we’ve created.”
Meanwhile, following her dismissal from the panel in 2009, Arlene has revealed she was never told the reason behind the shock decision.
Speaking in an interview last year, Arlene said, “I’ve never really been given a real reason [as to why I was axed]. I don’t think I will ever know the answer.”
The BBC denied ageism was a factor in the line-up change at the time.