INSIDE THE BOX: Strictly speaking, it"s a massacre for the professionals

Strictly speaking, it's a massacre for the professionals

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UPDATED:

21:37 GMT, 3 May 2012

After making the uninspiring decision to replace Alesha Dixon with Darcey Bussell, Strictly Come Dancing is looking at other new ways to spruce up the show for its landmark tenth series.

The long-serving professional dancers are bracing themselves for a shake-up that could see some of them axed.

I’m told senior figures on the show, including the three original judges, Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli, are calling for up to half of the hoofers to be replaced by new talent.

Strictly Come Dancing judges: Darcey Bussell and Alesha Dixon

Strictly Come Dancing judges: Darcey Bussell and Alesha Dixon

The most popular stars, such as Anton du Beke and Brendan Cole, who have been with the hit BBC1 Saturday night show since it began in 2004, are likely to be safe.

But at risk are lesser-known names including Natalie Lowe, Pasha Kovalev and Robin Windsor. There is also a question mark over the future of feisty husband and wife duo James and Ola Jordan, who sharp-tongued Craig axed from Strictly’s live tour this year.

A Strictly insider explains: ‘The line-up needs to be refreshed. But there’s a lot of discussion about exactly who will be invited back.

‘The professionals on the U.S. version of the show are better — their skill level is higher and they are much more daring with their routines, too.

Len and Bruno are also judges on the American show, and they have been sending a clear message back that there should be improvements made.’

There is much consternation that Strictly producers have turned down the services of top British pros, who have gone on to success in the U.S., in favour of foreign dancers.

One example of this is Mark Ballas, who was rejected by the BBC but has since become a household name on the U.S. show. This year he is partnered with Katherine Jenkins.

‘Mark is one of the best dancers in Britain, so it is crazy the BBC passed him over,’ I’m told.

Dannii Minogue and Simon Cowell

Dannii Minogue and Simon Cowell

The selection of Darcey to join the judging panel has been difficult to take for former judge Arlene Phillips, 68, who was axed in 2009 to make way for Alesha.

Friends say the legendary choreographer was given false hope by BBC bosses that she could be reinstated.

However, my source says: ‘Despite having huge public support, there was no way the BBC would admit it had got it wrong in the first place by returning to Arlene.’

X marks the spot for Dannii Minogue

The last-minute decision to try to coax Dannii Minogue back to The X Factor judges’ panel would not have happened without Tom Bower’s book disclosing her secret fling with show boss Simon Cowell.

I forecast back in February that Kelly
Rowland was to be axed by Cowell, who was unimpressed with the former
Destiny’s Child star.

Now he hopes Dannii (pictured with Simon) will return to the show, realising the revelations about their affair would attract positive PR.

A show insider says: ‘The public are behind Dannii, especially now she’s split from the father of her baby.’

Just when the obsession with Big Brother-style reality TV seemed to be over, an even more extreme show is set to emerge.

The Glass House will feature 14 ordinary people in a house which is filmed 24 hours a day.

The twist is that viewers will decide what contestants wear and eat, and whether they sleep in a bed or on the floor. A source said: ‘It’s a new low in reality TV.’

The Munsters: Yvonne DeCarlo as Lily Munster, Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster, Butch Patrick as Eddie Wolfgang Munster, Al Lewis as Grandpa, Pat Priest as Marilyn Munster in the CBS show that ran from 1964 to 1966

The Munsters: Yvonne DeCarlo as Lily Munster, Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster, Butch Patrick as Eddie Wolfgang Munster, Al Lewis as Grandpa, Pat Priest as Marilyn Munster in the CBS show that ran from 1964 to 1966

The diabolical decision to pre-record the Sunday results show of The Voice on the previous night has angered viewers, who switched off in their thousands.

But BBC bosses have privately congratulated themselves on the decision, believing it will show viewers they are being careful with licence fee payers’ money.

However, there are critics of the decision within the corporation. One tells me: ‘If we couldn’t afford to do The Voice properly, then why did we agree to spend 25 million producing it Frankly, it’s embarrassing.’

The Munsters aired on the BBC for just two years in the Sixties, yet is one of TV’s most iconic programmes.

That is why there is so much interest in Hollywood’s reboot of the series, renamed Mockingbird Lane after the street where the family live.

Eddie Izzard has been cast as the grandpa in the new version, which is likely to be filmed this summer for U.S. broadcaster NBC.