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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lisa McLoughlin

Strictly’s Angela Rippon on being the show’s oldest-ever contestant: ‘I’ll wear it as a badge of honour’

Angela Rippon has said she will wear being the oldest ever Strictly Come Dancing contestant as a “badge of honour”.

At 79, the veteran presenter is making history competing on this year’s instalment and revealed that she has been approached by older viewers thanking her for taking part and giving the younger Strictly cast a run for their money.

She told the Standard: “I’m going to wear [being the oldest contestant] as a badge of honour.

“I’ve had so many people with my hair colour say to me: ‘We’re so glad you’re doing it.’

Angela Rippon will be 79 when the programme is filmed, making her the show’s oldest ever contestant (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)

“I had a woman in the checkout at Waitrose, she stopped [me] when I was loading up on the checkout, and she said, ‘You don’t know me, I just want to say, that there’s a feeling among all our friends that women of our age and our hair colour are invisible – you go and make some headlines for us!’”

Rippon, who became the first regular female news anchor on the BBC in 1975, will be the show’s oldest-ever contestant, after television presenter Johnny Ball competed in the 2012 series at the age of 74.

The broadcaster also insisted that she doesn’t feel any pressure about performing given she hosted Strictly predecessor Come Dancing between 1988 to 1991.

She continued: “No pressure because I presented Come Dancing, I didn’t dance on it. This is just, if you like, the other side of the coin.

“I’ve been around dancers a lot and I’ve watched dancers a lot, and it’s lovely to actually now be among dancers, doing it myself.

“I don’t feel any [pressure], in fact, I think it’s quite a compliment to have done Come Dancing, which is, kind of, the grandmother of this programme... The only pressure on me now is to get out there, do it and remember the moves.”

Rippon will be joined on the series by soap stars ex-Coronation Street actress Ellie Leach as well as EastEnders actors both past and present, Bobby Brazier and Nigel Harman.

The Strictly line-up also includes Paralympic champion Jody Cundy and former British number one tennis player Annabel Croft as well as BBC Asian Network’s Breakfast Show host Nikita Kanda and Waterloo Road star Adam Thomas.

Actress Amanda Abbington, Bad Education star Layton Williams along with news broadcaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy, comedian Eddie Kadi, Les Dennis, Irish TV presenter Angela Scanlon and Zara McDermott, the first Love Island signing for the show, are also due to compete.

Presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will also be back in hosting duties alongside judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, and Anton Du Beke.

Strictly Come Dancing returns Saturday, September 16 at 6.35pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer

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