Arlene Phillips could return to 'Strictly Come Dancing'.

Arlene Phillips

Arlene Phillips

The 73-year-old choreographer was controversially axed from the BBC show in 2009 and replaced by Alesha Dixon but she is now said to be in talks to replace departing head judge Len Goodman on the judging panel.

A source said: "Producers have a limited pool to pick from for Len's replacement and they know that Arlene would be a shock to the audience but they would love it.

"This time her age actually works in her favour as part of the BBC's new diversity and gender targets."

However, professional dancer Anton Du Beke is still the favourite to replace Len - who will leave after this series - although bosses are keen to have him remain as a dancer.

The source told The Sun newspaper: "Pro dancer Anton du Beke is still the favourite but bosses love him being a dance mentor to the older women celebs and don't want to lose him."

Arlene recently revealed how she still loves the show and is looking forward to this series because Olympian Greg Rutherford is taking part.

She said: "Len is going and as always when the BBC said goodbye, the BBC do what the BBC want to do so I have no clue. But I do know that I want to be there this year because Greg Rutherford is adorable."

A BBC spokesman said: "We are focusing on making his last series the best yet."