DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
TV

BBC Strictly Come Dancing's Angela Rippon: 'I would have loved them to have asked me years ago'

In a new interview, Angela Rippon talks about Strictly Come Dancing and kicking down preconceptions about what older people can do

Angela Rippon in a silver sparkly dress and white fur with arms outstretched

Image: BBC/Guy Levy

Angela Rippon has been wowing the nation on Strictly Come Dancing in recent times – but in a new interview she has revealed she wishes she was asked on to the show years earlier.

At 79, the legendary broadcaster has begun the competition in fine style alongside her professional dance partner Kai Widdrington, with her Foxtrot, Rumba, Argentine Tango and Charleston all winning more than 30 points from the Strictly judges.

“If someone says, would you like to read the news, or present a quiz show, or do a consumer programme, or dance on Strictly Come Dancing, I always say yes please,” she said, in an upcoming interview by Jane Graham for The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self.

“And most of the time, I’ve made the right decisions, and those challenges have been confirmed. Of course, Strictly is a huge challenge. I would have loved them to have asked me years ago. But finally being asked now is fantastic.”

Angela found fame as a news journalist and newsreader. But growing up in the West country, fame and acclaim felt very far away.

“Even at the age of 16, I knew I wanted to be a journalist,” she said.

“I assumed I was going to be working for newspapers. It never would have occurred to me, back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, that I might work in television. Television was something that happened in London.

“It was not something that came from the West Country. So, to think I’ve had a lifetime in television… and not just that, but all the people that I’ve met, the opportunities I’ve had, the countries I’ve visited. I think the young me would have been full of wonder at what my future held for me.

“And I think my younger self would have been surprised to think she would be someone recognisable. But I never take that for granted. I always take it as a huge compliment when people recognise me.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Angela Rippon talks about her childhood, dropping out of school during her A levels to apply for a photojournalist position at a local newspaper, taking inspiration from her parents, and her legendary appearance on Morecambe and Wise at Christmas in 1976.

Now, she said, she wants to continue to challenge ideas around what older people are capable of.

“I’ll do the best I can while I’m doing Strictly,” she said. “And I can demonstrate that actually, people of a certain age can still exercise. Dance is the perfect way, mentally and physically, to keep you fit.”

Strictly Come Dancing airs every Saturday night on BBC One

Read Angela Rippon’s full Letter to My Younger Self in The Big Issue, on sale from 13 November.

Melanie Goldberg is a member of Big Issue’s Breakthrough programme

If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today. Or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Furiosa star Tom Burke: 'It stung when someone said I didn't have a face for TV'
Tom Burke.
Letter to my younger self

Furiosa star Tom Burke: 'It stung when someone said I didn't have a face for TV'

Anjana Vasan on We Are Lady Parts season two, Malala and why UK must open its doors to immigrants
Anjana Vasan
TV

Anjana Vasan on We Are Lady Parts season two, Malala and why UK must open its doors to immigrants

Benedict Cumberbatch: 'History judges us on how we treat those who are most vulnerable'
Benedict Cumberbatch in Netflix series Eric with his monster pal
TV

Benedict Cumberbatch: 'History judges us on how we treat those who are most vulnerable'

Benedict Cumberbatch warns history is repeating itself as streethomelessness soars
Benedict Cumberbatch in Netflix series Eric with his monster pal
Film

Benedict Cumberbatch warns history is repeating itself as streethomelessness soars

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know