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Arlene Phillips: Strictly's new head judge Shirley Ballas is 'tough'

Anton du Beke and Brendan Cole had been tipped as possible contenders.

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips has given her seal of approval to new recruit Shirley Ballas.

The so-called Queen of Latin, 56, was announced as the surprise new head judge on the BBC One show, taking over from Len Goodman, 73.

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Arlene, 73, who sparked an ageism row when she was dropped and replaced by Alesha Dixon in 2009, told Good Morning Britain: “She is fierce, she is tough, she is hard and she’s sharp.

“She knows how to move the body and tell others how to move the body.”

The choreographer is embarking on a tour to reveal the “inside gossip” from her career.

Asked why so many dancers become romantically involved, she said: “It’s often very likely because it’s body to body.

“I won’t say it is inevitable but it often happens, again and again.”

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