Angela Rippon Strictly headshot

Angela Rippon joins Strictly as contestant 25 years after hosting original show

She can still do the splits!

| Updated:

Broadcaster Angela Rippon already has a special place in Strictly history, as the host of the original version of the programme, Come Dancing.

But 25 years later, she’s now taking to the dancefloor herself as a contestant.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by BBC Strictly (@bbcstrictly)

As the news was announced, Angela said: “Having been a fan of Strictly since day one, and as a former presenter of Come Dancing, this will be quite an adventure for me. A scary one, considering I’m about to be 79. But I’m really looking forward to the challenge, and perhaps being able to learn to dance the Argentinian Tango!”

Angela Rippon on Morecambe and Wise

Angela has enjoyed an impressive TV career, starting out as a newsreader and progressing on to fronting shows such as Antiques Roadshow, Top Gear, the Eurovision Song Contest and Crufts.

Her appearance on the 1976 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show became one of the most iconic moments in TV history. She left audiences stunned as she started off behind a BBC newsdesk then emerged with a high kick to perform a dance routine.

Angela was awarded an OBE in recognition her services to Broadcasting, Charity and the Arts in 2004. In 2017, she was awarded a CBE for her services to Dementia Care.

Was Angela Rippon a dancer?

Dance has always been a much-loved part of Angela’s life. She studied classical ballet until she was 17 and continues to take ballet classes to keep fit and healthy.

When I’m able to, I still go to ballet classes

“I worked on a documentary which found that dance is the best way of staying fit, supple and strong.” She explained.

She is currently patron of the Old Time Dance Society and previously served as Chair of the English National Ballet.

Angela Rippon on Come Dancing
Angela Rippon presented Strictly’s forerunner, Come Dancing (Credit: YouTube)

As well as presenting Come Dancing, Angela also hosted the UK Latin dancing Championships in 1991 where made a big impression on a certain Strictly judge who was competing.

“[She was] poised beautifully,” Shirley Ballas recently recalled meeting Angela, “I have followed her my whole career. She’s quite special.”

How old is Angela Rippon?

Angela is 78-years-old, turning 79 in October, making her the oldest ever contestant in Strictly Come Dancing history.

Why didn’t you approach me ten years ago?

She joked that when she got the call about Strictly her first words were: “Why didn’t you approach me ten years ago?”

However she is far from your average late-seventy-year-old, recently demonstrating on The One Show how she can still do the splits!

Angela Rippon doing the splits
Angela Rippon can still do the splits aged 78! (Credit: BBC)

She also becomes the first celebrity to compete on Strictly after being on Dancing On Ice, which she took part in in 2011.

What is Angela Rippon doing now?

Angela currently hosts BBC consumer show Rip Off Britain alongside Gloria Hunniford and Julia Somerville. She also makes occasional appearances on GB News as a relief presenter.

Where does Angela Rippon live now?

Nowadays, Angela splits her time between Kensington, London and the family home that she inherited in Tavistock, Devon where she grew up.

By the sounds of things, she lives a bit of a double life.

“I do feel fortunate to have such a lovely bolthole – in London my life is high heels and business suits. Down in Devon it is wellingtons, jeans and a T-shirt.” She once said.

Angela also has a holiday home on the French Riviera which she visits over the summer and every New Year.

Does Angela Rippon have a partner?

Angela married her childhood sweetheart, Christopher, in 1967 aged 22. However, the couple separated in 1989 and officially divorced in 1992. They have no children and Angela has never remarried.

I’ve had long-term relationships since my marriage ended

She has since discussed how her high profile put strain on her marriage.

“I was married for 25 years and when we were parting, Christopher told me, “I got fed up of people coming to our house all the time.” She told Prima, “It made me realise that when you do a job that’s public-facing, you have to respect the privacy of your partner.”

As such, Angela admitted: “I’ve had long-term relationships since my marriage ended, but I’ve kept them private.”

She added that, “Hardly anybody – beyond my very close circle of friends – would know who my partners have been over the past several years.”

Read More: Strictly fans have already decided Giovanni Pernice’s dream partner for 2023 series

YouTube video player

Did you watch Angela on Come Dancing? Leave us a comment over on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know. 

Gabrielle Cracknell
Freelance Writer