Arlene Phillips, as most know, was removed as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing. Miranda Hart parodied BBC ageist attitudes in an amusing end-of-year comedy sketch (viewable until next week)
Rumours that Alesha Dixon might replace Arlene were announced by Newsround on 18 June 2009.
But, in what PD James saw as a damage limitation exercise, Arlene was chosen as one of the judges in a new Saturday night dancing show on BBC One - So You Think You Can Dance. Trouble is that in its vain attempt to wriggle out of ageism accusations the BBC has chosen a programme format involving Nigel Lythgoe. Nigel was accused of homophobia when he told same-sex dance duo Misha Belfer and Mitchel Kibel "I think you probably alienate a lot of our audience," in the American show.
In last Thursday's interview with Mark Thompson, PD James brought up the problem of ageism and Strictly Come Dancing, which she had previously enjoyed but had given up watching because of the sacking of Arlene Phillips. Mark Thompson said that Arlene would be back in another dancing programme in the new year, but PD James suggested that it was merely a response to criticisms of ageism, and went on to speak of the insult caused by the idea of advertising for a newsreader over 50 years old (see blog on 27 September 2009)