'Time someone older went the distance!' Angela Rippon set to break Strictly ageist bias

Angela Rippon

Angela Rippon has been unveiled as a Strictly 2023 contestant

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 08/09/2023

- 14:53

Updated: 08/09/2023

- 15:04

The TV presenter, who turns 79 in October, is heading to the ballroom for this year's Strictly

Angela Rippon has been unveiled among this year's Strictly Come Dancing line-up as the BBC competition's oldest-ever competitor.

At 78, a Rippon victory would mark a major milestone for the BBC contest which has only ever seen one contestant over the age of 50 lift the Glitterball Trophy - Bill Bailey.

But speaking exclusively to GB News, former Strictly pros Ian Waite and Vincent Simone think Rippon is the perfect person to buck the trend.

"I actually have a connection with one of the celebs and that is Angela Rippon," Waite said when asked about this year's line-up. "Because I did a DVD with her 20 years ago..."

"There wasn't any DVDs, it was a VHS," Simone cheekily interjected before Waite continued: "All right. Yeah, it was a VHS cassette at the time.

"It was teaching beginners ballroom basically, so we became very good friends and we've been good friends ever since," Waite continued.

Highlighting Rippon's strengths ahead of this year's competition, Waite went on: "She's still very, you know, youthful. She's still very flexible.

angela Rippon waves

Angela will be hoping to win over the public on the dance floor


"She still exercises a lot so I'm sure she's gonna be good. She has a natural talent for dancing as well, so I think she's gonna be good."

Fellow former Strictly star Simone weighed in and conceded Rippon may be "more restricted" due to her age but he too backed her to impress on the dancefloor.

"She will do quite well because she's loved by the nation," Simone said. "But it also depends on her professional partner to be clever, because that's what we need to think of when we get a celebrity.

"We need to push her potential (and) her strong points in our choreographies and stuff.

"So it's up to the professional to work out some magic with her."

It's still yet to be confirmed who exactly Rippon will be paired up with when Strictly returns but no matter who it is, Waite insists it's about time an older contestant is given a chance by viewers.

"I think it is about time we had somebody older who went the distance and went to the final," he doubled down.

"It tends to be just the young ones that end up making the final. And I know it is quite grueling and towards the end, it does become basically like a marathon...

"It's like the strongest ones and the ones that can keep going till the end stay in.

"So I'm just hoping that they can pace themselves and she can do really well it'd be great, it'd be great to see," he added.

Ian Waite (right) and Vincent Simone (left)

Ian Waite (right) and Vincent Simone (left) with their Magic of Dance co-stars


Rippon herself has admitted she finds the prospect of performing each Saturday evening as "scary" but insists she's up to the challenge.

She told the BBC: "Having been a fan of Strictly since day one, and as a former presenter of Come Dancing, this will be quite an adventure for me.

"A scary one, considering I’m about to be 79. But I’m really looking forward to the challenge, and perhaps being able to learn to dance the Argentinian Tango!"

While Rippon is currently hard at work in rehearsals, Waite and Simone have also donned their dancing shoes for their ongoing tour, Magic of Dance.

"For me, it's the perfect night out," Simone said of their tour. "I mean, we've done already three shows and the audience loves it!

"It's a variety show, so you get amazing dancing, then we have an amazing singer, Jai McDowell, who is an ex-champion of Britain's Got Talent - we're very lucky and blessed to have someone like him!

"But then also we bring comedy, myself and Ian," Simone added "We have a bit of storytelling from the past, we do have some funny numbers when one of us is going to dress up and mix and match.

"So all in all, the audience gets real entertainment and it's an amazing night out - ever for the husbands. So ladies, please bring your husbands."

The pair are touring throughout September across the country with dates confirmed for venues in Cowes, Exmouth, Gravesend, Chelmsford, Chesterfield, Rhyl, Blackpool, Blackburn, Lancaster, Rugby, Newbridge, Stamford, Darlington, Burton-on-Trent, Eastbourne, Middlesbrough, Barnstaple, Epsom, and Felixstowe.

You may like