Angela Rippon: The Rip-Off Britain who makes Strictly Come Dancing history at 78

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Strictly Come Dance is back for its 21st series, with a true broadcasting legend on the line-up.

Angela Rippon CBE is a journalist, newsreader and presenter. Aged 78, she is the oldest celebrity to have participated in Strictly in the series’ history and has a special connection to the series, having previously featured the BBCthe long series of ballrooms of Come dance it gives Strictly her name.

Born in Plymouth in 1944 to a seamstress mother and a Royal Marine father (the latter whom she first met in 1947 on his return from the Second World War), Rippon was just 17 when She landed her first job as a journalist in a local store. newspaper.

She continued in BBC local radio and, aged 21 in 1966, landed her first television role for BBC South West. She quickly rose through the ranks to become a television journalist and hosted her first national news show in 1974. After replacing Richard Baker on the BBC One show Nine o’clock news during a holiday period, he was offered a permanent role reading short stories the following year.

While Rippon was widely considered the first female television newsreader, it would be more accurate to call her the first female journalist to regularly read the news on national television. ITN and the BBC had featured women newspaper readers over the previous two decades, but they had not done regular national-level presentations.

The presenter opened up about her experiences of sexism while working on Nine o’clock news. In 2019, she claimed that a “well-respected” male colleague – who she did not name – once unzipped his pants and pretended to expose himself to her while she read the live news at the antenna. Rippon said she felt “disrespected” by the experience.

Rippon was married during the early years of her career, having married engineer Christopher Dare in 1967, at the age of 22. The couple divorced 22 years later.

Rippon’s foray into the world of dance began in 1976, when she performed a choreography on the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show. She returned the following year as a choir member and later became one of the facilitators of Come dance.

Rippon on site in 1977

(Getty Images)

Airing from 1949 to 1998 over 424 episodes, the show saw audience members and competitive dancers perform ballroom routines. It was relaunched in 2004 in a celebrity version, under the name Strictly Come Dance bringing together the tradition of Come dance and the fiery side of Baz Luhrmann’s 1992 film Strictly ballroom.

Rippon went on to lead coverage of a number of high-profile events for the BBC, including the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest, the 1979 general election and the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles of the era in 1981. Nearly four decades later. , she would co-lead coverage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding for Australia’s Channel 7, returning in 2022 as a royal commentator at the Queen’s funeral.

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In the world of entertainment, she hosted the first edition of Higher speed and quiz shows Main team And Match pointand in 2007 became the host of Money in the attic. Over the years she has presented numerous radio shows, including for BBC Radio 2 and LBC. She has published books for children and seniors, including guides on how to stay fit and healthy in old age.

Due to its hosting time Come dance, Rippon has long been interested in dance. In 2011, she competed on Dancing on ice and participated in a news reader themed event Strictly special for children in need.

(Getty Images)

She remains a patron of the Old Time Dance Society and, from 2000 to 2003, was president of the English National Ballet. However, her time at ENB was not without controversy, and she resigned in 2003 after being accused by her deputy of “harassment towards staff”.

Before his resignation, Rippon denied the claims, saying: “It’s not true that I bullied people. They asked me to continue with other tasks. I don’t think that would have been the case if they had been unhappy. »

Now Rippon presents the BBC Fraudulent Britain and is a regular Morning live And The only show, while also working as a fill-in presenter for GB News. She received her CBE in 2017 for her services to dementia care.

By joining StrictlyRippon said: “Having been a fan of Strictly since day one, and as a former presenter of Come dance, it will be quite an adventure for me. This is scary, knowing that I will soon be 79 years old. But I’m really looking forward to the challenge and maybe being able to learn how to dance Argentinian tango!

Strictly Come Dance airs on Saturdays on BBC One from September 16.

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