It’s always nice to be paid to rant, and this week I had my chance, sounding off in the Jewish Chronicle about the outrageous sacking of Arlene Phillips from Strictly Come Dancing. Here it is, for those who do not get the august organ of British Jewry.
Now of course this is not an entirely serious piece of journalism, but there is an important point lurking in the background. The BBC is trying to pull in younger viewers by having the very lovely Alesha Dixon as a judge. In doing so they are a) insulting all their loyal older female viewers and b) ignoring the needs of their female viewers young and old who are being offered as attractions 81- year-old Bruce Forsyth, 65-year-old Len Goodman and the entertaining but totally unfanciable Craig and Bruno and c) publically disrespecting age and experience in a woman.
It's also stupid because they can pull in all the younger viewers they want by picking young and attractive contestants, male and female. It's the one reality show that everyonewants to be on.
Even young viewers value judges who draw on years of expert knowledge. Part of the fun of Strictly is watching a dance, thinking it’s wonderful and then being told by Arlene and Len about all the wobbles that you missed completely.
It's so old-fashioned and predictable of the BBC to replace one woman with another. It reminds me of when I was looking for a job at the Glasgow Herald, to be told ‘Sorry, we’ve already got a girl reporter.’ That was 1990 and it was a shockingly out-dated attitude then. This is 2009, for heaven's sake.
The one person who can right this wrong is Alesha Dixon. I love Alesha. Not only is she beautiful, nice and hugely talented, but she also comes from my home town of Welwyn Garden City as does the lovely Lisa Snowden, thus giving WGC an entirely undeserved reputation as being a breeding ground for fabulous stars. Surely Alesha can see what a bad move it is to oust Arlene? This is her chance to strike a blow for women. Come on Alesha…do the right thing.