Mel Giedroyc has revealed that she turned down the chance to appear on Strictly Come Dancing, saying that she’s “not the comedy old bag yet”.
The presenter, who is currently co-hosting Let it Shine on BBC1 with Graham Norton, tells the new issue of Radio Times: “I was asked and I said no.
“I love watching it so much I almost didn’t want to spoil the pleasure by being on it. And it’s tricky for a woman moving into middle age,” the 48-year-old added. “You’re not the comedy old bag yet, which would be the joy of going on Strictly. If I did it, I’d want to be Ann Widdecombe. I’d want to be out there getting the laughs, being dragged around.”
The comedian has previously hosted the Strictly Come Dancing live tour and also described the show as a “lifeline” for her last year – “an escape into the sequins and feathers and nonsense”.
Asked whether that was to escape the furore when production company Love Productions sold The Great British Bake Off, the BBC1 show she co-presented with Sue Perkins, to Channel 4 in a new three-year deal, Giedroyc replied: “It was a pretty weird time.
“The press were camped out on my doorstep. My eldest daughter actually saw a few of them off, which I was very, very proud of,” she explained. “I’m not the kind of person who would court that sort of attention. I have a very private existence and I had to slightly clench my buttocks during that.”
Norton also recalls a time in his career when he got “quite badly burned” when he presented the short-lived entertainment show Totally Saturday on the BBC.
“It was awful,” he explains. “It became hysterical, working on a huge turkey that refused to die.”
Asked if he had to keep presenting it, Norton replied: “Well, no – they can’t make me do something, it’s not cattle production.
“But at some point I thought, well, I do work for the BBC and somebody’s got to host these shows. If I could avoid everything that wasn’t a hit, I would. But that’s the nice thing about working for the BBC – at Channel 4, if the press hate your show, then they hate you. If you’re at the BBC, they hate the BBC more than you. So it kind of takes the responsibility off.”
Heaping praise on his new BBC1 vehicle Let it Shine, Norton said that what was so positive about the show is that it’s “about watching people who are good at something – there are no Honey Gs on Let it Shine, the contestants are properly talented.”
Read the full interview with Mel Giedroyc and Graham Norton in the new edition of Radio Times, available in shops and on the newsstand from Tuesday 24th January