Arlene Phillips pays tribute to fellow Strictly judge Len Goodman one year after his death

Phillips and Goodman were part of the original judging panel for hit BBC show

Nicole Vassell
Tuesday 23 April 2024 16:17 BST
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Arlene Phillips has reflected on her friendship with her fellow former Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman, one year after his death.

Phillips, 80, and Goodman were on the original judging panel of the long-running BBC dance programme, alongside Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli.

All four judges took part in the programme from its launch in 2004 until 2008, when Phillips’s contract was the only one not to be renewed. Goodman left the programme in 2016.

After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, which spread to his bones, Goodman died days before his 79th birthday on 22 April 2023.

On Tuesday (23 April), Phillips recalled her time spent with Goodman, and spoke warmly of being able to hear his voice in videos.

“I do look back with fondness,” she said during an appearance on Loose Women.

“Interestingly, particularly when I hear his voice because that’s the thing, we can now record voices… Most of us have never thought about recording someone, knowing you’re going to lose, and keeping that memory.”

Arlene Phillips and Len Goodman
Arlene Phillips and Len Goodman (ITVX / Getty)

She continued: “The joy in the fact that you can just go to your computer, open it up and you can get all those wonderful… ‘I’m just a dance teacher from Dartford’ or whatever it may be and you can hear them. So, just hearing his voice brings him back and the crazy times that we shared.”

Phillips, an award-winning musical theatre choreographer, then shared her memories of meeting Goodman during the audition process for the Strictly panel.

“So, Len was sitting there, and there was this chaos,” she said. “Nobody seemed to be organising what was going to happen and then suddenly, there we were being told what we had to do. It was now late, we’d been probably two hours in the chaos.

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“Len was so unhappy, he’d gone from smiling [and] ‘Nice to meet you’, talking about the ballroom world, to grumpy Len. Nice to grumpy, really grumpy, in two hours because it was his lovely Sue’s birthday and he was taking her out for dinner. He wanted to go before we’d even started and that’s how we met!”

Arlene Phillips on ‘Loose Women’
Arlene Phillips on ‘Loose Women’ (ITVX)

The day after Goodman’s death, Phillips appeared on Lorraine to pay tribute to her old friend and colleague, and noted that she hadn’t known of his illness.

“He was a man of great strength. He was out on the golf course early morning, fit as a fiddle, and then cancer invaded. It feels like it happened so fast because one minute, he was there and the next minute, he’s passed away,” she said.

Phillips added Goodman was “really loved” and was “always there” for her, even when she was “dropped” by Strictly bosses in 2009.

Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV1 and ITVX.

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