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Strictly Come Dancing’s former judges – Where are they now

Strictly Come Dancing is back this weekend and the judges Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and new addition Anton Du Beke are all set to take their seats on the panel.

The Strictly panel has seen many famous faces including ballet dancer Darcey Bussel and singer Alesha Dixon.

But where are they now?

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Dame Arlene Phillips DBE

English choreographer Arlene was on the judging panel of Strictly since it’s first series back in 2004 and departed the series in 2008.

Her departure was riddled with rumours that the BBC had dropped Arlene in an age discrimination after it was announced that former Strictly winner Alesha Dixon would be replacing her.

Since leaving Strictly, Arlene has continued her work in the entertainment industry and has worked in many different fields including theatre, TV and presenting.

In 2010, she made nine appearances on Loose Women as a guest panellist and wrote a series of six children’s fictions books where the main character learns a different genre of dance including the tango and Bollywood.

She has also been a judge on rival BBC One dance show So You Think You Can Dance alongside former Strictly contestant Louise Redknapp.

More recently, she announced a dance gala to raise money for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire and included dancers from Strictly and The Royal Ballet.

Alesha Dixon

Alesha Dixon during the “Girls Rule” photocall at Madame Tussauds

Former singer and Strictly 2007 champion Alesha controversially replaced Arlene Phillips on the panel in 2009. Her announcement was said to be the BBC’s attempt to refresh the show.

Alesha was a member of the panel until 2011 when she quit the show to become a judge on rival ITV talent show Britain’s Got Talent. She has stayed with the show ever since.

Alongside Britain’s Got Talent, Alesha has released new music and has also become a mother to two children with her husband.

In 2017 she was a judge on the second series of America’s Got Talent: The Champions.

Most recently, Alesha was announced as a judge on the tenth series of Australia’s Got Talent.

Len Goodman

Renowned ballroom dancer Len Goodman was the head judge on Strictly from it’s first series in 2004 until his departure in 2016. He was replaced by current head judge Shirley Ballas.

Fan favourite Len has been the head judge on Dancing With The Stars – the American version of Strictly – since it’s first series in 2005. He is joined by former Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli.

Between 2013 and 2018, Goodman occasionally presented a Sunday afternoon music show on BBC Radio 2 during some of comedian Paul O’Grady’s weeks off.

Dame Darcey Bussell DBE

Dame Darcey Bussell who has stepped down as a judge from Strictly Come Dancing
Dame Darcey Bussell who has stepped down as a judge from Strictly Come Dancing

Ballet dancer Darcey Bussell was an exciting addition to the judging panel when she joined in 2012 to replace Alesha Dixon. Darcey was previously one of the most decorated British ballet dancers having spent her entire career with The Royal Ballet.

She departed the show in 2018 where she was replaced by South African dancer Motsi Mabuse – sister of Strictly professional Oti Mabuse.

In 2018, Bussell received an honorary Fellowship from Arts University Bournemouth.

Since Strictly, Darcey has remained relatively quiet but did appear on our screen earlier this year when she presented a four-part travel series Darcey Bussell’s Wild Coasts of Scotland. She is also currently the president of the Royal Academy of Dance having assumed the role in 2012.

Bruno Tonioli

Fans were devastated to learn that Bruno would not appear on the judging panel in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He was then announced to be permanently replaced by Strictly veteran Anton Du Beke for the upcoming series.

Since 2005, he has appeared as a judge on Dancing With The Stars and it has been confirmed that he will return as a judge alongside Len Goodman, Derek Hough and Carrie Ann Inaba for the upcoming series which will air later this month.

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Strictly Come Dancing 2021 starts on Saturday September 18 at 7.45pm on BBC One.


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