Darcey, Len and Arlene

Strictly Come Dancing judges: What are all the ex-judges doing now?

Rumour has it one could be making a comeback

Over the years we’ve seen our fair share of comings on and goings among the Strictly Come Dancing judges, with Craig Revel Horwood the only one who started out way back in 2004.

But who were the judges before the hugely popular current line up of Shirley Ballas, Anton du Beke and Motsi Mabuse.

And what they have been up to since?

Let’s find out…

Will Arlene Phillips become a judge on Dancing On Ice?
Arlene Phillips was one of the first Strictly Come Dancing judges (Credit: Splashnews.com)

Strictly Come Dancing judges: Dame Arlene Phillips DBE

Already a world famous choreographer, Arlene was a big deal when she assumed her role on the panel in 2004.

But after four years, the BBC decided to refresh the line up, ditching her in favour of series winner Alesha Dixon.

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing fans comment on ‘negative body language’ between Greg Wise and Karen Hauer

Rumour had it she was replaced because producers wanted a younger judge and Arlene wasn’t happy about it.

“I think it was handled so poorly. You then never forget those moments of turmoil,” she said years later.

“One minute you’re the focus of everyone’s attention, the next you’re nowhere and pushed out of the way. It’s very hard to deal with.”

Though deeply upset by being ousted from the show, Arlene has kept busy in the entertainment industry.

She’s written a series of children’s books where the main character learns a different genre of dance including the tango and Bollywood.

She was also a judge on dance show So You Think You Can Dance.

There’s also talk she’s set to appear on I’m A Celebrity and will replace John Barrowman on the Dancing On Ice judging panel.

Will she ever return to Strictly?

Noticing her sudden popularity, it’s also been reported Arlene has been approached by the BBC to return to Strictly in some form.

A source told The Mirror: “They want her back as a one-off stunt after she’s been [on I’m a Celebrity] with Ant and Dec.”

“To have Dame Arlene make a special appearance on Strictly would suggest there’s no bad blood any more. It would look good after they got rid of her all those years ago.”

alesha dixon on strictly 2007
Alesha competed on Strictly in 2007 then moved to the panel (Credit: BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing judges: Alesha Dixon

After winning Strictly in 2007, the Mis-Teeq singer replaced Arlene Phillips on the judging panel in 2009.

Alesha went down a storm – not only with viewers but with Simon Cowell, who wooed her over to Britain’s Got Talent.

Since then she has continued to produce music and has written a series of empowering kids books.

She’s also had two children with husband Azuka Ononye.

Alesha has been a judge on the second series of America’s Got Talent: The Champions and on the 10th series of Australia’s Got Talent.

Len Goodman is a Strictly legend (Credit: Splash News)

Legendary Len Goodman

This legendary dancer was the head judge on Strictly until his departure in 2016.

For many years he had split his time between the US and UK working on the American version of Strictly and the homegrown one.

Read more: Why did James Jordan leave Strictly Come Dancing? Is he joining Dancing on Ice?

Eventually, the travelling took his toll and he decided to quit and was replaced by Shirley Ballas.

Len has also hosted various TV shows, written books and has occasionally presented a Sunday afternoon music show on BBC Radio 2 when Paul O’Grady has taken some well-deserved time off.

Darcey was called in to replace Alesha Dixon (Credit: SplashNews.com)

Dame Darcey Bussell DBE

When Alesha Dixon when to the dark side (ITV) in 2011, ballet dancer Darcey Bussell pirouetted into her place and was an immediate hit with viewers.

Darcey, who was one of the most decorated British ballet dancers with The Royal Ballet, received an honorary fellowship from Arts University Bournemouth in 2018.

She also presented a four-part travel series called Darcey Bussell’s Wild Coast of Scotland.

strictly come dancing 2021 judges line up bruno
Bruno quit the show after years on the panel (Credit: BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing judges: Bruno Tonioli

Bruno Tonioli was one of the original stars on Strictly.

Like Len, he too commuted back and forward from the US to fulfil his Dancing With The Stars judging role.

In 202o, Bruno was trapped in the US during the pandemic. This meant he was forced to pull out of the show and has since been replaced by Anton du Beke.

He recently filmed Great British Road Trips with his old Strictly mucker Craig for ITV.

His Strictly future is up in the air, with reports he’ll make a spectacular comeback at some point this year.

Strictly Come Dancing is on tonight (October 9) at 6.45pm.

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