Dame Arlene Phillips has spoken of how “resentful” she felt when the BBC axed her from Strictly Come Dancing.

The choreographer, 80, from Prestwich, rose to fame in the 1970s as the leader of the dance troupe Hot Gossip.

She was a judge on Strictly from 2004 to 2008 before being replaced by the then 30-year-old Alesha Dixon in 2009, sparking allegations of ageism against the BBC.

Dame Arlene says she found out that she was no longer a judge while listening to the radio.

She told Monday’s edition of The Guardian: “I was a grown-up when I did that show, so I resent that the BBC didn’t come to me as soon as they had the thought.”

She also said: “More than knocking my confidence, I think it swirled around me, and I thought: ‘I need to find myself.’ I needed all the mental preparation that I could muster to go: ‘Hang on a minute – you had a big career before this and you’ve got work lined up.’ I think I stepped up and out of it as fast as I could. When the rollercoaster goes down, find the up.”

Britain’s Got Talent 2024 auditions – LondonAlesha Dixon (Ian West/PA)

At the height of the furore, then-equality minister Harriet Harman called for Dame Arlene to make a return to the BBC show, saying that she was a victim of “age discrimination” in the House of Commons.

Dixon, who won the competition in 2007 before being appointed, was later replaced and the judging line-up now includes Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Anton Du Beke.

Dame Arlene was also a judge on the BBC’s So You Think You Can Dance, when it aired briefly from 2010 to 2011 for two series, and has also choreographed West End shows.

Last year, she won a special Olivier award for choreographing some of the West End and Broadway’s biggest shows, including Starlight Express, We Will Rock You, The Wizard Of Oz, The Sound Of Music and Flashdance.

She also reflected on turning 80, while speaking to the newspaper.

Dame Arlene said that she feels “pretty cool about what happens now” as she has “had so many extraordinary things happen in my life”.

“My daughters grew up not knowing my mum, so I always vowed I’m going to be the grandmother I would have loved my girls to have,” Dame Arlene said.

“I want to give them the love that my mother gave to me, make sure I always have time for them every week, no matter what.”

The BBC declined to comment.