Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Alesha: Strictly Ageism Claims Are Rubbish

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Alesha: Strictly Ageism Claims Are Rubbish

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Kirby

ALESHA DIXON has dismissed suggestions that Arlene Phillips, who she replaced as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, was axed by the BBC because she was too old.

Dixon told Jonathan Ross that claims of ageism were "rubbish" and that she had believed she and Phillips, 66, were both due to be judges on the Saturday evening programme.

The singer, 31, who won the show in 2007, was said to have been chosen to introduce more "glamour" and stave off competition from her friend, Cheryl Cole, a judge on ITV's The X-Factor.

Speaking on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, Dixon said: "Personally I don't think it's about ageism, I think that's a load of rubbish."

She added: "I knew nothing, I found out when everyone else did. I was as surprised as everyone else but I took all the flak for it."

The BBC has rejected claims that the removal of Phillips was on age grounds. Her axing attracted more than 1,400 complaints from members of the public, many of whom questioned whether Dixon, who rose to fame with girl group Mis-Teeq, had the credentials to judge a dancing competition. …

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