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I’m only ever invited on TV to talk about Strictly now – Arlene Phillips

The presenter and choreographer joined a panel of other women at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

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I’m only ever invited on TV to talk about Strictly now – Arlene Phillips (Matt Alexander/PA)

I’m only ever invited on TV to talk about Strictly now – Arlene Phillips (Matt Alexander/PA)

I’m only ever invited on TV to talk about Strictly now – Arlene Phillips (Matt Alexander/PA)

Arlene Phillips has said she mostly only gets asked to appear on TV to discuss the latest Strictly Come Dancing line-up, and that she is not thrilled about it.

Phillips was a judge when the series began in 2004 until 2009, when she was replaced by Alesha Dixon, who was 30 at the time while she was 66.

The choreographer and presenter told the Edinburgh TV Festival that she is a “sort of semi-celebrity”, and that “every time there is a new group of celebrities going on Strictly, I’m again invited back on to television, not so eagerly, I might add, to talk about what I think about them, what I think about the curse of Strictly.

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Arlene Phillips on Strictly Come Dancing along with Craig Revel Horwood, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli (BBC)

Arlene Phillips on Strictly Come Dancing along with Craig Revel Horwood, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli (BBC)

Press Association Images

Arlene Phillips on Strictly Come Dancing along with Craig Revel Horwood, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli (BBC)

“And for me, that’s currently the only television I get asked to do.”

Speaking at a panel titled Legendary Women Of Television Reveal All at the industry event, Phillips, 75, also said that she believed she and her fellow judges on Strictly were, at the beginning, paid the same.

During a discussion about the gender pay gap, she said: “The only thing that I know is that when we first started, we were on a very, very low figure, and I think that we all got the same.”

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Phillips was on the judging panel along with Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and head judge Len Goodman, who has since left the show.

“Bruno and I were with the same agent, I think we all got the same, and we seem to have got the same until the part where I was dismissed, and I see that it’s all changed now,” she said.

“I can’t figure out why, but I think Bruno gets more than Craig? If you believe what you read in the papers. Bruno tells me it’s all rubbish, everything in the papers, constantly.

“But I believe that we did (get paid equally), because when we started we all came from such different backgrounds.

“Len and I were the first two that were hired, and the other two came in. But now… I’ve not got a clue.”

Phillips was joined on the panel by film-maker Olivia Lichtenstein, Channel 4’s head of news and current affairs Dorothy Byrne, actress Paula Wilcox and TV presenter Selina Scott, with BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Dotty as the panel’s chairwoman.


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