THE 2023 Borders Book Festival begins with laughter from Nina Conti and end it with sparkle from Dame Arlene Phillips.

Next to the NHS, Strictly Come Dancing is probably as close to a national religion as Britain gets and Arlene is one of its high priestesses.

In a unique and exclusive session, she comes to Melrose to talk not only about the Strictly years, about Brucie, Craig and Len, but also about a stellar career in her own right.

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Made a dame in 2022 for services to dance, she is a showbiz legend having choreographed hit shows from Starlight Express to Grease, Guys and Dolls and many others on Broadway and in the West End.

Arlene has had a career that would get a ten from Len and all of the rest of us.

She said: “I’m so looking forward to coming to the Borders Book Festival for the first time and visiting the lovely town of Melrose.

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“I’ll be sharing personal stories of my dancing years and in particular fond memories of time spent as one of the four original judges on the much-loved TV show Strictly all those years ago, as well as my life in musical theatre, and the remarkable success of the recently opened Guys & Dolls that seems to have set the world alight.”

Arlene Phillips will be appearing at the Borders Book Festival, Melrose on Sunday June 18 at 8.30pm.  

(Tickets £16, £14), Box Office: 0131 290 2112.