Journalist and television presenter Angela Rippon will make her Strictly Come Dancing debut this September for season 21.


With the launch show set to take place on Saturday 16th September, this will be just weeks before Angela turns 79 on 12th October, making her the oldest contestant to ever compete on Strictly.

So, why now?

Speaking to and other press, Angela revealed the reason she decided to sign up for the show later in life.

She said: "I suppose in a way I'm kind of wearing it like a badge of honour, because you can't get away from it.

"I've spent a long time now since since I made the film with Dr Chris van Tulleken, How to Stay Young, where we did proper scientific research with a group in Germany on what was the best kind of exercise to do as you get older.

"And the university pitted dancers who were 60-plus up to 80 against people in the gym, and the dancers came out overall as the fittest, and we decided that actually dance is the best overall mind and body exercise - and I've been pushing that since.

"I'm the ambassador for Silver Swans for the Royal Ballet, which is to get people - men and women - 50-plus to go to a ballet class for the strength, flexibility and all of that.

"I think if we can get the message across, that it is a great way of keeping fit even during your 20s and 30s, and think ahead to when you're going to be old.

"And the number of people that are dancing in their 60s and 70s or 80s and 90s, it's fantastic and it's good for the brain as well."

Read more:

Angela competes against the likes of Love Island star Zara McDermott, EastEnders actor Bobby Brazier, actor Adam Thomas and more, who are just some of the contestants in the Strictly Come Dancing 2023 line-up.

All these contestants are considerably younger than Rippon, but could she have a slight advantage over them, having presented Come Dancing, which was the original version of the BBC One dance show?

Asked if she thinks this will help her on the dance floor, Rippon said: "I mean, I presented Come Dancing, I didn't dance.

"But I've been very fortunate that I've been around dancers for a very long time doing Come Dancing, and I was on the board of English National Ballet for 10 years, and I was the chairman for four years.

"I've been around dancers and now I'm an ambassador for Silver Swans. So I think I'm quite good at looking, so I know what's required. And I did go to ballet class until I was about 17, so my brain says, 'Yeah I know how to do that.'

"My brain [also] says, 'What the hell are you doing?'"

Strictly Come Dancing starts at 6:35pm on 16th September on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10, PLUS a £10 John Lewis and Partners voucher delivered to your home – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.