29 Facts About Arlene Phillips


Dame Arlene Phillips was born on 22 May 1943 and is an English choreographer, talent scout, television judge and presenter, theatre director, and former dancer, who has worked in many fields of entertainment.


Arlene Phillips has a brother, Ian and a sister, Karen.


Arlene Phillips attended Broughton Preparatory School, Cheetham Hill, Manchester; Beaver Road Primary School, Didsbury; and Manchester Central High School for Girls after passing the eleven plus exam.


Arlene Phillips originally wanted to be a ballet dancer and began dance classes at the age of three, studying ballet and tap dance at the Muriel Tweedy School in Manchester after leaving school at 16.


Arlene Phillips's mother had always expressed a desire to dance, which inspired Phillips into pursuing dance professionally.


Arlene Phillips is internationally renowned as a choreographer and director of West End and Broadway musicals, but has many other professional credits.


Arlene Phillips went on to teach her style of jazz dance at The Dance Centre, later named Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden, and at the Italia Conti Stage School, so establishing herself as a successful teacher and choreographer.


Arlene Phillips was assistant choreographer on the 1982 film Annie and the promotional video for the Duran Duran song The Wild Boys, named Best British Video at the 1985 BRIT Awards.


Internationally, Arlene Phillips is most noted as a jazz and musical theatre choreographer, having worked on some of the biggest-selling musicals in West End and Broadway theatre, and a number of successful films.


Arlene Phillips choreographed the 2002 Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremonies alongside fellow Mancunian, David Zolkwer.


Arlene Phillips went on to choreograph Engelbert Humperdinck's performance of the UK entry in the 2012 contest in Baku.


In March 2013, Arlene Phillips appeared on Let's Dance For Comic Relief in the Dance Judge Panel with Greg James and Lee Mack.


In Britain, Arlene Phillips first became a household name as the director and choreographer of Hot Gossip, a British dance troupe which she formed in 1974, using students she was teaching at the time.


Arlene Phillips was a member of the inaugural judging panel between 2004 and 2009 for the BBC television series Strictly Come Dancing, alongside fellow judges Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood, and Bruno Tonioli.


In 2005 and 2006, Arlene Phillips was a judge for the spin-off series Strictly Dance Fever, which was created by the BBC to seek dancers wishing to join the chorus of a West End musical.


The replacement of Arlene Phillips led to an unprecedented intervention from the then Minister for Women and Equality, Harriet Harman.


In October 2009, Arlene Phillips appeared on the first episode of the 38th series of the satirical show Have I Got News for You.


In 2007, Arlene Phillips became the Executive Producer and Creative Director for the ITV television series Britannia High.


In July 2017, Arlene Phillips announced a dance gala to raise funds for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.


Arlene Phillips said of the dancers taking part "They're just doing it as themselves because each of the dancers is giving a gift and I want you to see them, and that they're doing it for the love".


In 2017, Arlene Phillips embarked on a UK-wide spoken word tour, in conversation with Jacquie Storey.


Arlene Phillips participated in series 21 of the show and was the first celebrity eliminated.


On 20 February 2022, Arlene Phillips joined ITV's Dancing on Ice as a guest Judge for Musicals week.


Arlene Phillips was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2001 Birthday Honours and in 2006 she received a Carl Alan Award for Outstanding Services made by the International Dance Teachers Association.


Arlene Phillips was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to dance and charity, and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2021 Birthday Honours for services to dance and charity.


Arlene Phillips has been in a relationship with Angus Ion, a set builder, since 1985.


In 2010, Arlene Phillips wrote a series of children's fiction books.


Arlene Phillips is a two-time Olivier Award nominee for Best Theatre Choreographer in 1994 and 1999, as well as winner for the 2023 Special Recognition award alongside Derek Jacobi.


Arlene Phillips won the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Choreography in 2023 for Grease at the Dominion Theatre.