New Years Honours: Arlene Phillips “delighted” with CBE

09:00 29 December 2012

Arlene Phillips. File picture: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

Arlene Phillips. File picture: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips said she was “absolutely thrilled” at the news she is to receive a CBE.

The choreographer first found fame when she brought together a group of her students from Covent Garden’s Pineapple Dance Studio into the dance group Hot Gossip in the 1970s.

Phillips, who grew up in Manchester, said: “I am very pleasantly surprised but mostly absolutely thrilled and delighted to receive such a wonderful honour.”

Hot Gossip had a hit single in 1978 with I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper featuring Sarah Brightman on lead vocals.

Phillips’ choreography caught the eye of Hollywood and she worked on films including Annie, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life and Legend.

Her touch was also seen in music videos where she worked with acts including AC/DC, the Bee Gees, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Robbie Williams.

Phillips, who was previously awarded an OBE, has worked behind the scenes on concerts, musicals and television commercials and also had a hand in the staging of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

Her profile became even higher when she stepped back in front of the camera as a judge on the BBC’s top rating ballroom show Strictly Come Dancing in 2004.

She was replaced by former Strictly winner Alesha Dixon five years later.

Phillips was also a judge on BBC’s So You Think You Can Dance.

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