23/11/2018 10:50 GMT

Arlene Phillips Returns To 'Strictly Come Dancing' As A Choreographer, But Says It Wasn't An Easy Decision

She left the show in 2009, leading to a very public ageism row.

Arlene Phillips has returned to ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ as a choreographer for this week’s live show, nine years after parting ways with the show in an ageism row.

Back in 2009, it was confirmed that Arlene had been axed from the ‘Strictly’ judging panel, and would be replaced by the show’s reigning celebrity winner Alesha Dixon, which led to a public debate about ageism. 

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Arlene Phillips

This weekend, she has choreographed a routine in which the show’s professional dancers will appear alongside the dance troupe Cancodo, which mixes disabled and non-disabled performers.

However, Arlene has said it wasn’t an easy decision for her to return to the show after all these years.

I did this because this is where my heart lies,” she told The Sun. “I didn’t do this about resolving anything with Strictly.

“Was it hard for me to say yes? I’ve got to tell you, it was really hard.”

Arlene and the 'Strictly' panel

Revealing she thought she was in for an “emotional” time, Arlene added that she wasn’t sure whether she’d actually be in the studio to watch her routine performed live, claiming: “I’m not sure because I am supposed to be at an event anyway that day. But I am not sure, at the moment I haven’t replaced myself.”  

After Arlene’s departure from ‘Strictly’, Alesha spent three years in her seat, before leaving the show to join the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ panel.

Alesha’s spot was then taken over by Darcey Bussell, who has remained with the show ever since.

Seven couples currently remain in this year’s ‘Strictly’, with Ashley Roberts scoring the first perfect score of the series in last week’s Blackpool special.

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