The face of factual

I’m not a Strictly Come Dancing fan – I prefer reality shows that incarcerate the contestants and reduce them to a state of ratlike desperation – but my heart bled a little for Arlene Phillips today when I saw that she’d been sacked from the jury. No, I didn’t love Hot Gossip – on the contrary. And I didn’t much enjoy her tritely alliterative, overworked comments on the odd occasions I did see the programme. But surely even she didn’t deserve the comments made by the woman who gave her the boot. BBC1 controller (brr…) Jay Hunt defended the decision by saying the show needed a ‘different flavour’, presumably newspeak for ‘younger woman’, and then went on to say, in some appallingly misplaced attempt at reparation: “Of course Arlene is disappointed. But critically she is incredibly excited about moving to The One Show. She knows at some point she is going to need to do something different with her career and this gives her the opportunity to become a face of factual on the channel and to be absolutely at the heart of what BBC1 does”. “Critically”? “Incredibly excited” to be moved from the most popular Saturday evening show to a programme I surely can’t be the only person never to have heard of – where, “critically”, she will be expected to comment on the show she’s just been dumped by? But even these horrors pale beside “the face of factual”. Can anything be done to help this woman? No, not Arlene Phillips (66). Jay Hunt.

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