Ann Widdecombe: ‘Why is Strictly presented by two women? It’s all part of the pattern of quotas’

The former contestant says that women "have never had it so good" claiming they are in line for all the top TV and radio jobs

Ann Widdecombe, Getty

Former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ann Widdecombe has questioned why the show has two female presenters – adding that women are currently being given all the top TV and radio jobs in the UK.

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Writing in this week’s Radio Times, the former Conservative MP says that women have “never had it so good” and that it is now a “positive advantage be be a woman in the media”.

“Almost all of the successors talked of in terms of taking over David Dimbleby’s chair on BBC1’s Question Time and Chris Evans’ breakfast show on Radio 2 are women,” she says.

“Why, BBC? Why when Strictly Come Dancing is predicated on teams of men and women, do we have two women presenters? It’s all part of the pattern of quotas and all-women shortlists that pervades not just the Corporation (unofficially, of course, and definitely in practise) but also politics both with a big P and small one.”

Widdecombe also takes Maureen Lipman to task for her suggestion in a recent Radio Times interview that older women had “no chance” on the dance show – especially non “pretty” women like Widdecombe herself.

“I was never going to win but that had nothing to do with my age, sex or looks. It was because, to state the bloomin’ obvious, I couldn’t dance. A ‘dalek in drag’ was one of the kinder comments from the judges”.

Widdecombe added that “being 63, a woman and tubby did not stop me getting to week ten out of twelve, but nobody with two left feet can credibly expect to win”.

Attenborough 95th anniversary cover
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Ann Widdecombe’s full piece appears in the latest issue of Radio Times – celebrating our 95th(!) birthday – on sale in shops and on the newsstand from Tuesday 25th September 2018