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Give Alesha Dixon a chance 'Strictly' judge Craig Revel Horwood tells viewers

22 SEPTEMBER 2009

"We have got to give her a chance," Strictly Come Dancing panellist Craig Revel Horwood has said in response to criticism over Alesha Dixon's judging debut.

As TV critics and fans continue their debate about the singer's first appearance, her colleague has stepped in to defend her.

"This backlash is horrific with people saying terrible things. She is up there to give a critique and I think she is doing it really well," says 44-year-old Craig, who has been a part of the show since its launch in 2004.

"It makes me really angry that people are having a go at her. Give her a chance, for goodness sake, it is just crazy."

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Meanwhile, the former Mis-Teeq singer – who has assured fans she won't be quitting the show - has expressed her gratitude at the support from her fellow panellists.

"My relationship with all the judges is great. They have been very supportive. It's bound to feel a bit different for them at the moment, but they have made me feel very welcome."

"I do know what I am talking about. People forget I had four months of solid training with the world champion, 10 hours a day," she says.

"I find it such a shame that it clouds what we are here for, which is to look at the dancing."

Former EastEnder Natalie Cassidy, who is currently testing her fancy footwork on the show, says the contestants are "relieved" to have Alesha on the panel "as she knows exactly what we're going through".