Angela Rippon shows off famous flexibility in Strictly Come Dancing debut

Angela Rippon showed off her famous flexibility while performing a dramatic cha cha on her Strictly Come Dancing debut.

During the first live show of the 21st series, the veteran broadcaster ended her routine to Get The Party Started by Dame Shirley Bassey with an impressive high kick, landing her a score of 28 from the judges.

Donning a silver sparkly fringed dress, Rippon and her professional partner Kai Widdrington were among the first pairings to take to the dancefloor on Saturday night.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023
Kai Widdrington and Angela Rippon during the live show on Saturday (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Judge Motsi Mabuse said: “That was a statement, that is how you start a Saturday night.”

Shirley Ballas admitted that she was getting emotional watching the performance as she remembered Rippon announcing her at the UK dance championships.

She added that everything about her was “pure class” while Craig Revel Horwood described it as “jaw-dropping”.

Rippon will turn 79 in October, making her the show’s oldest contestant, after TV personality Johnny Ball took part in 2012 aged 74.

Waterloo Road’s Adam Thomas and his professional dance partner Luba Mushtuk opened the live show with their own lively cha cha.

With a waffle house backdrop, the actor grooved with his partner to Waffle House by the Jonas Brothers to secure a score of 19 from the judges.

Afterwards, Thomas admitted he had been nervous all week but described his Strictly debut as “the best feeling ever”.

Ballas praised his “beautiful personality” and “fantastic co-ordination” while advising him to tighten up his footwork and work on his rhythm.

Horwood thought the routine was “a little bit sloppy all over” but said his hip action was there.

Irish TV presenter Angela Scanlon and her partner Carlos Gu danced a dramatic tango to Prisoner by Miley Cyrus featuring Dua Lipa for their first performance.

Dressed in a pink and red flowing gown, Scanlon twirled her way to a score of 23.

Reflecting on the performance, judge Anton Du Beke said: “The drama, the intent, the commitment was magnificent.”

He advised her to keep working on her posture and taking bigger backward steps to become more “marvellous”.

Comedian Eddie Kadi and his partner Karen Hauer took on the quickstep to Two Hearts by Phil Collins for their first routine, which landed them a score of 22.

The presenter, who donned a colourful striped shirt, was animated throughout the performance, which opened like the beginning of a 90s sitcom.

Horwood noticed that Kadi’s shoulders were slightly hunched during the performance but said his “personality saved the day”.

Mabuse added that she loved the “joy” that he brought to the dance and advised him to work on his posture.

The show opened with a dramatic performance by the professional dancers set to Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears.

The routine opened with a number of the dancers performing at a scenic, coastal viewpoint but the scene then moved to the Strictly dancefloor, where the rest of the professionals joined the performance.

Following the opening number, hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman welcomed the 15 celebrities and their dance partners to the stage.

Strictly Come Dancing was live on Saturday from 6.15pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.