Angela Rippon has responded to critics who claim that she has only been given “slow dances” on Strictly Come Dancing.
At 79, the former newsreader is the oldest celebrity to ever compete on the BBC dance series. However, she has wowed the judges and viewers alike with her nimble feet and impressive flexibility, and has maintained a spot at the top end of the leaderboard.
But as the competition gets tighter, some viewers have noted that Rippon has so far predominantly performed slower dances, whether Ballroom dances or more leisurely Latin styles like the Rumba. Rippon and partner Kai Widdrington are yet to dance the faster Latin numbers, such as the Salsa, Samba or the Jive.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Thursday (26 October), Rippon was asked about this critique.
“Well, we did the Quickstep. I mean, there’s a clue in the title,” she responded, adding: “And we did the very first dance which was the Cha Cha Cha.”
It was during that Cha Cha Cha when Rippon shocked Strictly viewers by performing a standing split high kick where her leg stretched all the way up to her head.
Discussing their forthcoming Charleston, Widdrington said that the dance would be “fast” and “fun” and would integrate comedy into the routine.
“Make no mistake, Angela is doing lots of steps to a fast Charleston and she’s being very much lifted over my head more than once with another trick in there,” he said.
Rippon responded: “Also, of course, dance isn’t all just about being fast and running around a ballroom. It’s about technique, it’s about precision, and that’s what we’ve done, I think in the last two particularly.
“While it may not look as if it’s very exhausting, to actually get that physical muscular precision when you’re doing things like the Rumba, the Argentine Tango, requires a heck of a lot of energy in a different way.”
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Like many of the stars of Strictly 2023, the Rip-Off Britain host had some dance experience before entering the competition. Rippon, who hosted the BBC’s original dance series Come Dancing, trained as a classical ballet dancer until she was 17, and went on in 2000 to be appointed as the chair of the English National Ballet.
This Saturday (28 October) night’s episode of Strictly is the series’ Halloween special, with the contestants performing a series of spooky-themed routines.
Eddie Kadi won’t be performing in the competition, having lost last week’s dance-off to Zara McDermott. But the show will be down another contestant, following the departure of Amanda Abbington from the competition this week.
The Sherlock star did not compete in last week’s show and was given a bye through to the next week. However, it was announced on Monday (23 October) that she had withdrawn from the competition, which Abbington later attributed to “personal reasons”.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday 28 October at 6.40pm on BBC One.