Joining Nigel Lythgoe on the judges' panel is award–winning choreographer Arlene Phillips. No one knows more about dance and her work spans a range of musical, stage and screen credits. Phillips is a hugely successful jazz and musical theatre choreographer, having worked on some of the most successful musicals in West End and Broadway history and a number of successful films (such as Annie, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life and Legend). Most recently, she choreographed Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of 'The Wizard of Oz', which is currently enjoying a run at the London Palladium.
Phillips first became a household name in the UK as the director and choreographer of Hot Gossip, a risqué dance troupe which she formed in 1974. Hot Gossip were a regular fixture on The Kenny Everett Video Show and even had a chart hit with their song I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper (lead vocals provided by Sarah Brightman).
Arlene Phillips was awarded an OBE in 2001 for her services to Dance. She was, of course, a regular panellist for six series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Arlene agrees with Nigel that this series will demand more of the contestants: "The world of dance is full of invention and I want a dancer to come along and show me something I've never seen before. I want to be excited by the dance talent - if they can impress this old bird, then I know everyone else is going to be impressed!"