Sir Bruce Forsyth provided "enormous support" to Arlene Phillips when she was sacked from 'Strictly Come Dancing'.

Arlene Phillips

Arlene Phillips

The former judge was devastated to be let go from the BBC show eight years ago and revealed that the late presenter Bruce - who passed away last month at the age of 89 - reached out to offer his support.

She told the Daily Mail: "He got in touch and was very upset. It meant so much to me. I first met him when his daughter Julie came to the Italia Conti school in London where I was teaching. He was a real family man and a phenomenal dancer.

"I'll never forget him backstage on Strictly revving himself up like a car engine so that when he went on stage he was full of energy. I think he liked me because I was a fighter, someone that was determined to break the mould. That was what Bruce always wanted to do."

Arlene, 74, has also praised former head judge Len Goodman for his decision to step down from the panel.

She said: "'Strictly's not his life. He's having a great time with his wife Sue and he's a grandfather now.

"I'd hate to have to fly between London and Los Angeles [where Len has a £3 million contract with 'Dancing With The Stars'] every week for 10 weeks. I don't blame him for leaving.

"The thing is, at least when I was doing the show, there wasn't a 'Strictly' family for the judges. They kept themselves apart. Len and I never really associated and I don't think Craig Revel Horwood did with him either. Bruno Tonioli travelled to America with him for 'Dancing With The Stars' but... Anyway, the great thing about 'Strictly' is that the show survives beyond any one person."