That Strictly kiss - hear what former judge Arlene Phillips has to say on her way to Sussex show

Folkington Manor visit by Arlene Phillips
Folkington Manor visit by Arlene Phillips

It seems everyone’s talking about that post live show smooch between Strictly Come Dancing competitor Seann Walsh and professional dancer Katya Jones at the weekend.

The debate has raged as to whether the pair should be allowed to progress further in the contest but it’s a storm in a teacup for original judge Arlene Phillips who performs her new show near Eastbourne on Saturday October 13.

Asked her reaction, Arlene said: “Not a lot!”

She added: “I am passionate about dance, and dance is very passionate.

But my advice when any celebrity friends are thinking of going on Strictly, and they ask me, is do it if you are in a secure relationship but don’t if you are not. If you are worried, then don’t even think about it.

Dance is so passionate. It is easy to get swept along with the excitement, and you are both working towards the same goal. Every Saturday night they want to stay in the competition. But it is just like any office party - anything can develop - and you have a drink, and just enjoy being together; it can happen anywhere, just with Strictly it is so very public, with millions of people watching you.”

Arlene has not seen Seann and Katya’s intense and dramatic Paso Doble set to the powerful soundrack of The Matrix but said: “I know Katya is a brilliant choreographer, she is very creative and always comes up with something different.”

As for the Strictly curse, Arlene obviously doesn’t think there is one: “Everyone is professional. They are doing a job, ultimately, and it is a job where they are working together. You have to remember these moments are rare - think of all the hundreds of dancers in Strictly Come Dancing over the years, 15 or 16 years since it first started, and really not much has happened...then think about real life, and what really goes on. But of course Strictly is like a microscope, a very public microscope.”

Arlene is delighted with the way the show has grown to become major Saturday night entertainemnt and said “It is fantastic.”

She is still in touch with former fellow judges Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood, and a great supporter of older professionals such as Brendon Cole and Pasha Kovalev, while her favourite current dance duo is actually Katya with husband Neil Jones: “The stuff they do together is amazing. You don’t always see them on Strictly as a pair but they are brilliant together, wonderfully inventive and creative. Kevin and Karen are also great - everyone brings something special.”

Following a successful UK tour with performances at the Edinburgh Festival and in London’s West End, Britain’s ‘Queen of Dance’ is bringing her show to Sussex. Arlene is at Folkington Manor on Saturday evening when her audience will hear her talking about her career in dance, her years with edgy and groundbreaking dance-group Hot Gossip, her work on music videos and with pop stars, but also a personal highlight for her which was choreographing a piece with Royal Ballet star Edward Watson.

Tickets cost £12 are available from www.folkingtonmanor.com.

read more; A Big Night In with Arthur Lager in Eastbourne