Strictly's Angela Rippon, 78, may be show's oldest contestant but she 'can do the splits'

The presenter hosted the original version of the show from 1988 to 1991

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 28: Angela Rippon attends a fundraising cocktail party hosted by TK Maxx in aid of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day at The Royal Opera House on February 28, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage)
Angela Rippon is set to appear on Strictly Come Dancing, and at the age of 78 that means she is the oldest contestant to compete on the show. (WireImage) (Joseph Okpako via Getty Images)

This year's edition of Strictly Come Dancing will see an array of stars get their dancing shoes on, including Angela Rippon.

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At 78, the TV presenter is the BBC show's oldest contestant to ever compete on the programme, but according to head judge Shirley Ballas that shouldn't stop her from impressing on the ballroom floor because she can even "do the splits".

Ernie Wise, one half of British comedy duo known as 'Morecambe and Wise'- with TV Presenter ANGELA RIPPON in a scene from The Morecambe and Wise Show. Date, 09.11.1984.   (Photo by Avalon/Getty Images)
Angela Rippon hosted the original version of the show, Come Dancing, from 1988 to 1991. (Getty Images) (Avalon via Getty Images)

In an interview with Metro, Ballas said: "If her dancing is as elegant as the way she stands and talks, then we’re in for a real treat."

She added: "She can do the splits, you know?"

Rippon has a long history with the programme as she was the host of the original version of the dance competition show, Come Dancing, from 1988 to 1991.

Her work in the dance world extended beyond the BBC show, as Ballas had performed at a competition which Rippon hosted which means the judge can't wait to see her glide onto the dancefloor.

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Shirley Ballas has shared how excited she is to see Angela Rippon on Strictly Come Dancing (BBC)

Ballas added: "I’m doing a bit of fangirling. I’ve got Angela Rippon who was the host in the 1991 United Kingdom Championships at the BIC centre in Bournemouth when I danced – I made final that year – so I’m fangirling over her."

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As well as working as a broadcaster on Come Dancing, Rippon has also presented shows like Morning Live and The One Show, as well as Top Gear, Antiques Roadshow, The Holiday Programme, Crufts, How to Stay Young and The Truth About Dementia.

Rippon famously showed her dance moves when she made an appearance on the 1976 Christmas special of Morecambe and Wise, where she stepped out from behind her newsreader desk for a dance routine that stunned millions.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 05: Angela Rippon rides a bus during the Platinum Pageant on June 05, 2022 in London, England. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is being celebrated from June 2 to June 5, 2022, in the UK and Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Shirley Ballas has shared that Angela Rippon "can do the splits" and so she is one to watch on the dancefloor (WireImage) (Karwai Tang via Getty Images)

Sharing her thoughts on appearing on Strictly Come Dancing, Rippon said in a statement that she wanted to give herself a new challenge.

She said: “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!”

Strictly Come Dancing will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this year.

Watch: Strictly's Amanda Abbington issues apology after fans threaten to boycott show.