Esther Rantzen among stars in dismay over Strictly's axed Arlene

Wednesday July 22, 2009

The decision to replace long-term Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips with bright young thing Alesha Dixon has caused something of a stir among some of the show's fans.

And adding to a host of celebs who have also voiced their disapproval is veteran presenter Esther Ranzen.

The 69-year-old, who competed on the show in its second series, has branded the BBC "old fashioned".

Since Alesha's new post was announced, viewers have complained of the BBC's "ageism" and sexism" in replacing the only female judge, 66-year-old Arlene.

In response, the broadcaster said the pop singer had been brought in to "add a new voice to the judging panel" and provide "an insight into what the dancers go through".

Retired athlete Roger Black has also spoken of his dismay at the decision.

"It's completely unnecessary. She was one of the big reasons behind the success of the show," he says.

"She gave it credibility and carries a lot of weight in the dance world. And that's gone now."

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