Arlene Phillips’ team react to ‘confusion’ over her I’m A Celebrity 2021 appearance

Strictly: Arlene Phillips discusses watching the show

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Dame Arlene Phillips is one of the stars undertaking gruelling trials and meagre rations in the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! 2021, alongside stars including Richard Madeley, Olympian Matty Lee, Naughty Boy and Frankie Bridge. However, some fans were confused when her celebrity lookalike Shirley Ballas, 61, shared a photo yesterday behind the scenes of Strictly Come Dancing, with @RudisBiba commenting “I’m so jealous that you’re going to be sleeping next to David Ginola,” before they were hastily corrected over their case of mistaken identity.

@SCBierton replied: “@RudisBiba and @ShirleyBallas Wrong person!”

But Rudis was still baffled as they shared a photo of the 2021 contestants on I’m A Celebrity and asked: “Oh well who is the lady in the right-hand corner then?” in reference to Arlene.

Noticing the confusion, Dame Arlene’s social media team decided to get involved and clarify the situation.

They typed: “This confusion is a common one! Two fabulous Northern women who have lived a life dedicated to dance and been judges on @bbcstrictly.”

From 2004 to 2008  Dame Arlene was a judge on Strictly alongside Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli.

While Shirley came on board the judging panel in 2017 after the departure of Len.

However, now the choreographer, 78, has swapped the ballroom floor for the cold stone tiles of Gwrych Castle in North Wales, as she has become the oldest contestant to ever head into the I’m A Celeb camp.

Viewers of the show couldn’t believe she was 78 after she announced it during last night’s opening episode.

Fans took to social media to share their shock after hearing her age, confessing that they thought Arlene was far younger based on her looks.

“Sorry, but how is Arlene Phillips 78?!” one wrote.

 Another added: “Can’t believe Dame Arlene Phillips is 78, she certainly doesn’t look it.”


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Sunday’s episode saw Dame Arlene join the yellow team alongside Richard Madeley, Naughty Boy, Danny Miller and David Ginola.

Unfortunately for her, the team lost and she was forced to sleep on the ground.

It comes after she previously admitted that she’s “concerned” about being the oldest campmate, not just in this series, but of all time.

She has beaten Stanley Johnson, who was 77 when he competed, and Harry Redknapp, who was 72 when he won the show in 2018.

Chatting to and other press, Dame Arlene said: “Obviously I’m concerned.

“Everything in your body changes as you get older. But in terms of being the oldest, I think I’ve always been the oldest.

“When I was 36 and I had my first baby, it was shock, horror, this geriatric mother having a baby.

“And then my second one at 47, ‘Are you sure? Having a baby at 47?’

“I feel like I’ve always been the oldest at doing something, so it’s nothing really to me.”

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