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With 'Strictly' imminent, co-host Tess Daly pledges support for new judge Alesha

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The show's host - pictured at an awards ceremony with the Strictly crew last year -said: "I genuinely think Alesha will make a great judge because she's got an opinion and isn't afraid of expressing it." Tess also spared a thought for departing Arlene Phillips (right), though, saying: I'm hugely fond of her…I'm really going to miss her"
 Photo: © Rex

18 SEPTEMBER 2009

If Alesha Dixon feels nervous in her new capacity as Strictly Come Dancing judge when the show kicks off on Friday night, she need look no further for support than host Tess Daly.

The pop singer's appointment divided Strictly fans - with many feeling Alesha was too inexperienced, and others angry Arlene Phillips had been ousted.

But Tess told a British newspaper: "I genuinely think Alesha will make a great judge because she's got an opinion and isn't afraid of expressing it.

"As well as being gorgeous, she's got a big personality… she'll be exciting to watch."

She added: "I don't want to sound disloyal to Arlene by saying that – I'm hugely fond of her…I'm really going to miss her."

When Tess steps back onto the Strictly dance floor, she'll be returning to work on her first major presenting role since welcoming new daughter Amber Isabella in May.

She'll be juggling presenting the series with caring for the new baby and her four-year-old sister Phoebe.

Luckily husband Venon kaye – a TV presenter and Radio One DJ – is a hands on dad. "It's not easy going back to work when you have a new baby, but Vernon is doing his share and that means a lot," she tells the Daily Mirror.

"We don't have a nanny so we manage the child care between us."

Stars doing battle in this year's Strictly include former EastEnders Natalie Cassidy and Ricky Groves, Ronnie Wood's ex-wife Jo and boxer Joe Calzaghe.

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