How Jewish is Arlene Phillips?

November 20, 2008

Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips controversially branded one of the show's contestants, journalist John Sergeant, "lazy", adding that she would be devastated if he won. Sergeant has since pulled out. So can this blunt choreographer be yiddishe?

For: Phillips does come from a Jewish family. She was born in Cheetham Hill , then moved to Prestwich and later Didsbury, meaning she resided on most of Manchester's Jewish districts. Her mother, whose maiden name was Marcus, came from a large Orthodox family. Phillips went from ballet classes to a career in showbusiness - a pretty Jewish career. She gave Natasha Kaplinsky, herself half Jewish, high marks when she appeared on the show, although this might be a coincidence.

Against: Strictly Come Dancing comes on early on Saturday evening before Shabbat goes out, so Phllips clearly does not observe the Sabbath. Indeed, when she was a child she got into trouble with her family for going to ballet class on Saturday morning... in a church hall. Hot Gossip, the dance troupe she choreographed in the '70s, were a bit saucy - appropriate work for a nice Jewish girl?

Verdict: Even Craig Revel Horwood would give Phillips a decent mark for Jewishness

So we say she is 82% Jewish

Last updated: 4:04pm, September 23 2009