I am not the only one who thinks the BBC has missed a trick hiring Darcey Bussell to replace Alesha Dixon as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing.
I have never made a secret of the fact I am a big Strictly fan and that I thought it was wrong for the Beeb to replace Arlene Phillips with Alesha Dixon back in 2009.
Regardless of the ageism claims, the show lost one of the most respected figures in the world of dance and replaced her with a young, beautiful but largely clueless ex-contestant.
No one can deny that Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha is the show’s best female champion ever but there is a huge leap between doing what you’re told and spotting flaws and strengths in other people’s efforts.
Now, to say Darcey Bussell is a step back in the right direction is an understatement but hiring the former principal dancer of the Royal Ballet misses one vital point.
Ballet is not a category of dance performed on Strictly Come Dancing.
Now hold your horses. I remember just as much as you the lovely jive Darcey did with professional Ian Waite when she guest-judged on the series in 2009. It was very nice.
But sitting her alongside Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli when the show returns in the autumn does not add a relevant string to the judging panel’s bow.
I was chatting to the lovely, if not a little ditsy, Ali Bastian about this, for an interview about her starring role in the UK tour of Chicago, which you can read about in next week’s What’s On (out from Wednesday, May 2).
Aside from her appalling lack of current affairs knowledge – when asked who should replace Alesha she replied “What? I didn’t even know. I had no idea. What is going on? I have not seen the news or a TV,” – she actually made some very valid points.
“It’s important to get someone from a ballroom and Latin background. When you are waiting for the judgements with Len you know it has technically got to be good and Craig is from a massive showbiz background and is a choreographer.
“So maybe someone like Karen Hardy would be good. She would have my vote. She is amazing and a leading voice in ballroom and Latin.
“She is so well respected in the industry. People travel the world to have lessons with her when it is competition time.”
OK, Ali is biased because she is a regular visitor to former Strictly professional Karen’s dance studio in Chelsea. But Karen was the force behind the show’s greatest ever champion, Mark Ramprakash, and its best ever moment, when the pair performed their Argentine Tango to Tina Turner’s GoldenEye theme.
If they wanted someone who was respected in the industry, still young, and someone with previous on the show, surely Karen should have been the BBC's choice.
(Karen Hardy, pictured hosting a summer school at Maidstone's Margaret Preedy Dance Studio last year)