'Replace Alesha with professional'

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
January 06, 2012, 5:13 PM GMT+0

71% Britons who watch BBC Strictly say Dixon replacement judge should be professional dancer

The majority of British adults who regularly watch BBC dancing show Strictly Come Dancing think that a professional dancer should take former judge Alesha Dixon's recently vacated place on the panel, our poll has shown.

  • 71% think that Dixon's replacement on the judging panel should be a professional dancer
  • While just 15% say that a 'celebrity dancer' in the vein of former 'Strictly' winner Alesha, should join the judges

From the BBC to ITV

The results come in light of the news that singer Alesha, who joined the judging panel in 2009, had left the BBC to judge ITV performance programme Britain's Got Talent – the show behind singing success Susan Boyle and dancing troupe Diversity, most recently judged by actor David Hasselhoff, comedian Michael McIntyre and original judge, actress Amanda Holden.

Alesha came to the Strictly panel three years ago amid criticism over her replacement of professional dancer and choreographer Arlene Phillips. Arlene had formed one of the original fourpiece, and with decades of experience under her belt was seen by some to bring a technical expertise to the judging. Alesha, on the other hand, won the 2007 show and, it was argued, was therefore able to bring empathy and knowledge of the contestant experience to the panel. Her replacement of Phillips, who was 65 at the time versus Alesha's 31, sparked fierce accusations of BBC 'ageism', but Dixon herself dismissed the controversy as a 'storm in a teacup'.

Panel changes

This is not the only TV panel shake-up to have been announced recently; ITV juggernaut The X Factor revealed a revamped judging line-up in last year's series, while model Kelly Brook and Cheryl Cole suffered embarrassment after being ousted from their respective panels soon after appointment, on Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor USA.

It has been confirmed in the past few days that Simon Cowell will return to judge Britain's Got Talent in this year's series, alongside existing member Amanda Holden and new recruits David Walliams and Alesha herself, but no-one as yet has been definitively chosen for her replacement on the BBC.

Names in the hat reportedly include actress and 2010 winner Kara Tointon, and professional and former Strictly dancer Karen Hardy, but there has also been speculation that Arlene Phillips may yet return to her former place alongside other judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood, all of whom have years of professional dancing experience.

13m people watched the Strictly final on 18th Dec 2011, official viewing figures show.

See the survey details and full results here