Give Alesha Dixon a chance, says Revel Horwood
Angry Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood rallied round Alesha Dixon today and blasted the "horrendous" backlash directed at her.
The 44-year-old choreographer backed his new colleague and insisted it had taken him, and all the other judges, time to perfect their cutting comments of the celebrity's performances.
He was speaking after Dixon's defiant vow today that she would not quit the programme over fans' claims she does not have the technical know-how.
Dixon, 30, replaced Arlene Phillips, 66, on the panel, and made her debut on Friday. BBC online message boards were inundated with demands that Phillips should be reinstated, and claims Dixon did not have the experience to judge others.
Raging Revel Horwood said today: "This backlash is horrendous and I don't think she deserves it. She deserves to be given a chance and it makes me very angry that she's not."
He told BBC Breakfast: "If you go back and look at the first weeks of any of us, Arlene, Len, Bruno and I, on any of our early recordings none of us were perfect right away.
"To get good constructive criticism in 10 seconds is not an easy thing to do and it takes time.
"Alesha has got to be given a chance. She's up there to form a critique and that's what she is doing."
Dixon told the Daily Mirror it was unpleasant to hear criticism of her judging remarks, but added: "You can't please all of the people all of the time.
"I am not a quitter. It's not in my nature to consider quitting."
The BBC has already said it was "delighted" with her debut as a judge.
Former tennis champ Martina Hingis became the first star to leave the show, following a dance-off against TV presenter Rav Wilding.
Revel Horwood said today that he disagreed with Hingis's exit.
"I was surprised. In my personal opinion I thought Martina was better. At least she did dance, unlike Rav - he was just standing there posing," he said.
He added, in reference to Joe Calzaghe: "I think a certain boxer should have ended up in the dance off, but the audience are going to vote for their favourites. Now the audience have kept him in, I hope he works harder."
Acid-tongued Revel Horwood also revealed he thought there were two potential candidates to provide this year's John Sergeant. Former newsman Sergeant was a huge hit with the public last year despite his lumpen performances.
Revel Horwood said: "I think we might find the John Sergeant next week - when we've got Phil Tufnell taking to the floor.
"We might even find a female version in Jo Wood after seeing her in the group dance."
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