Who is Lesley Joseph? Strictly Come Dancing 2016 contestant guide

Everything you need to know about the actress who starred as Dorien Green in Birds of a Feather

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Strictly Come Dancing 2016 contestants: Lesley Joseph

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Age: 70

Twitter: @lesleyjosephTV

Famous for: Playing Dorien Green, the randy next door neighbour in BBC/ITV sitcom Birds of a Feather.

Who is her professional partner?

Lesley has teamed up with Strictly favourite Anton du Beke. The 50-year-old has been on the show ever since it began in 2004 – and has never won.

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Who is Lesley Joseph?

Lesley Joseph has enjoyed a long career as a stage and television actress, throughout the years popping up on shows like Minder, Number 10, Ruth Rendell Mysteries and many others.

However, she wasn’t to become well-known across the land until she joined Sharon and Tracy (played by Linda Robson and Pauline Quirke) in Birds of a Feather. The sitcom, which began on BBC1 in 1989 and charted the fortunes of prisoners’ wives and their eccentric Chigwell next door neighbour Dorien (played by Joseph) quickly became one of the hottest properties on TV and ran until 1998 – making a household name of Joseph and her co-stars. 

15 years later, Birds of a Feather (with Joseph in a central role) returned, but this time on ITV. It attracted good reviews and big ratings as more than eight million people tuned in to see what the gang had been up to since they’d been away.

There’s a Christmas special expected in 2016, and another series at some point in 2017. You lucky things…

And here’s a top fact, Lesley once shared a stage role with none other than resident Mr Nasty Craig Revel-Horwood. 

They might be judge and contestant now, but the pair have actually job-shared in theatre land, alternating the role of Miss Hannigan in a stage production of Annie. 

The show, which toured the UK from July 2015 to June 2016, saw Horwood play the orphanage’s cruel supervisor in the majority of the original performances. Then, when unavailable due to his commitments to Strictly, Joseph took over. The Birds of a Feather star then saw out the remainder of the run from January of this year.  

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In other news, in 2009 she became a regular newspaper reviewer for ITV mid morning magazine show This Morning.  

How do you top all that? You go on Strictly, of course!

Why is Lesley Joseph doing Strictly Come Dancing?

We spoke to Lesley ahead of the first live show to find out…

Why are you doing Strictly? I’m a woman of a certain age, so if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it.

Will your age be a disadvantage? In terms of stamina, but everybody says I’ve got more energy than people half my age. At the end of the day I’m the age that I am, I’m doing it and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Any advantages? There’s so much theatricality involved and I have a lot of experience of that. This is another form of drama, through the medium of dance. And I have Anton! Where he guides me, I will go… as long as it’s not down the garden path.

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Is there a dance you’re looking forward to? I want to waltz to the Birds of a Feather theme tune What’ll I Do. That would just finish me.

Strictly Come Dancing 2016: meet the contestants

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Anastacia

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Ed
Balls

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Tameka
Empson

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Claudia
Fragapane

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Lesley
Joseph

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Daisy
Lowe

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Danny
Mac

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Naga
Munchetty

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Melvin
Odoom

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Ore
Oduba

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Louise
Redknapp

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Judge Robert
Rinder

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Greg
Rutherford

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Laura
Whitmore

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Will
Young