Strictly Come Dancing confirms competition's oldest ever star – and she's a TV legend | The Sun

TELLY legend Angela Rippon has become Strictly Come Dancing's oldest ever contestant after being officially confirmed for the new series.

The much-loved presenter, 78, was announced for the celebrity contest, alongside Amanda Abbington and Layton Williams, on tonight's The One Show.

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!!”

We exclusively revealed just last month that Angela was in advanced talks with show bosses to take part in the 2023 series.

Angela has plenty of dance form having hosted the previous incarnation of the BBC show between 1988 and 1991, then returning in 1998 before it ended.

And in 1976 she stunned 27million viewers of Morecambe and Wise’s Christmas special when she emerged from her newsreader’s desk to perform a high-kicking dance routine.


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That came in an era when serious journalists never ventured into light entertainment.

But it will not be her first time on the latest run of the show.

She made a cameo appearance last year as part of the BBC’s 100th anniversary celebrations.

And she featured on a Children in Need special in 2011 — the same year she was a contestant on Dancing on Ice.

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A source said: “It is such a coup to get Angela.

“The Strictly team loved having her make a cameo on the show last year and that got the ball rolling.

“She was a real hit with viewers and then the bookers reached out to begin discussions about her taking part. It’s not an easy decision for Angela because she knows it would be very gruelling and physically tough, but she is extremely tempted.

“She loves a challenge and feels like this could be great for her. She was Mrs Come Dancing, so what a wonderful thing that she is going to be on Strictly all these years later.

“She is the dream signing. The audience at home will love her and many of them will remember her from her days hosting the show.

“It is incredible that someone of her age is doing it but she loves dancing and the bosses think that she will be a joy to watch.”

During her career Angela has been a BBC newsreader and also fronted the shows Rip Off Britain and Holiday Hit Squad.

She was previously the chairwoman of the English National Ballet and is a patron of the Old Time Dance Society.

TV personality Johnny Ball was Strictly’s previous oldest contestant.

He was 74 when he appeared on the show in 2012.

Meanwhile, Amanda said of being a part of the show: “I’m thrilled to have been asked to do Strictly. I’m actually really shy and self-conscious so this will be a great opportunity for me to overcome those things!

"Plus, I get to learn to dance which I am incredibly excited about. I’m really looking forward to the training too, I’m quite competitive as my family and friends will tell you. I can’t wait to start!”

She played Mary Morstan in BBC1’s Sherlock from 2014 to 2017 – the on-screen wife of her real life ex-partner Martin Freeman’s Dr Watson, sidekick of supersleuth Sherlock Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Amanda split with 51-year-old actor Martin — father of her two children — in 2016.

She had expressed her desire to join Strictly as early as 2010, despite a general reluctance to appear on reality TV.

She said: “The only thing I’d love to do is Strictly Come Dancing.

“I love the idea of learning something.”

She joked: “This is an official application.

“But I’m sure me being on it would be its downfall.

“The curse of Amanda Abbington strikes again!”

Everybody's Talking About Jamie star Layton is also raring to go.

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He said: "Absolutely buzzing to confirm that I will be taking part in the most iconic dance competition in the UK! It's time to bring it to the Ballroom. So excited to learn new skills from the best. Bring on the sequins… ALL the sequins!"

When The One Show's Richie Anderson asked Layton who he wanted to be paired with, the performer said: "I'm happy so long as it's a guy. I want to dance with a man. I can't wait to get flung around and wear some glittery costumes."

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