Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Friday, 10 July 2009 10:33 UK

Goodman 'sad' over Phillips exit

Arlene Phillips and Len Goodman
Goodman said he 'felt sorry' for fellow judge Phillips

Strictly Come Dancing's Len Goodman has said he is "sad" about Arlene Phillips' departure as a fellow judge.

Choreographer Phillips, 66, is being replaced by former Strictly winner and pop star Alesha Dixon, 30.

"It sort of changes the whole dynamic of the panel maybe, which is a little bit scary," Goodman told The Stage.

"I hope the BBC are not trying to introduce a younger audience." The BBC has denied claims Phillips had been dropped because of her age.

"I would imagine the show attracts an older audience to what you get on The X Factor," said Goodman. "I hope it does not affect the fan base."

The average age of the BBC One viewer is 52, so why would I take older women off the channel?
Jay Hunt, BBC One controller

BBC One controller Jay Hunt said, on Thursday, that the decision to drop Phillips had been made as part of an overall refresh for the hit dance show.

"It's not about bringing in a younger audience. The average age of the BBC One viewer is 52, so why would I take older women off the channel?

Different dynamic

Goodman, 65, will remain in place as head judge, alongside Bruno Tonioli, 53, and Craig Revel Horwood, 44.

Hunt admitted Phillips was "disappointed" to be leaving the show, but looking forward to her new role on The One Show.

"When I looked at the four people we had, Bruno is the joker, Craig is the Simon Cowell of the show and Len is the head judge. Arlene has elements of all of them, but when you look at it, Arlene was the obvious one to change," said Hunt.

"I am sad Arlene is no longer one of the judges because we got to know each other. We all got on, and knew what to expect," Goodman told The Stage.

"I do feel sorry for her, because we are friends. But who knows, maybe Alesha will be fantastic and bring a different dynamic to the judging panel," he said.

Host Bruce Forsyth, 81, will also return to the show when the seventh series begins this autumn.



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