Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 14:27 UK

Dixon joins Strictly dance judges

Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler
The 2007 winner Alesha Dixon was a big hit with Strictly Come Dancing fans

Pop star Alesha Dixon will join the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel, when the seventh series begins this autumn, the BBC has announced.

The singer, who won series five in 2007, said she is "honoured and excited" to be joining the team.

The 30-year-old will replace Arlene Phillips, who is moving to The One Show as the Strictly Come Dancing expert.

Former Royal ballet star Darcey Bussell will appear as a guest judge towards the end of Strictly's run.

"It is a real pleasure to have been invited to join Strictly Come Dancing. It is a fantastic show and I'm looking forward to getting to know the dancers and being part of the excitement," Bussell said.

Speaking about the departure of Phillips, BBC One controller Jay Hunt said there had been a desire to "change the flavour of the panel".

Len Goodman, 65, and Bruno Tonioli, 53, and Craig Revel Horwood, 44 are all set to return to the show when it starts this autumn.

'Great addition'

Phillips, who has been part of the show's judging panel since it began, said she is "delighted" to be moving to the One Show but will miss the hit dance show.

"It has been a big part of my life for six years," she said.

Editor of The One Show, Doug Carnegie, said: "She really knows her stuff. With six years of Strictly under her belt, she's a great addition to our line-up."

The widely speculated change to the panel was announced as part of the BBC autumn line-up.

Also announced was a third and final outing of the popular drama Mistresses. The four-part special will be broadcast next year.

A brand new comedy series has also been unveiled. Walk On The Wild Side combines natural history footage of animals with comedic voiceovers.

Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Barbara Windsor, Stephen Fry, Richard E Grant, Rolf Harris and Sir Tom Jones will all guest star in the series.

Other highlights include a four-part adaptation of Jane Austen's comic masterpiece Emma, with Jonny Lee Miller and Harry Potter star Michael Gambon in the cast.

New drama Material Girl, set in London's Brick Lane, will see Dervla Kirwan play a scheming designer at the height of her fame.



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