Strictly Come Dancing: It’s Possible To Love Angela Rippon Without Patronising Her

It's not that Angela's amazing for her age, it's that she's amazing full stop.


by Charlotte Roberts |
Published on

Angela Rippon’s first dance on Strictly 2023 has wowed viewers – but amongst the online praise, some comments are coming off a little patronising.

The first live show saw the 78 year old – who is now the oldest competitor in Strictly history – cha cha to the sounds of ‘Get the Party Started’ along with partner Kai Widdrington.  However, it was a sensational high-kick at the end of the performance that nabbed her a standing ovation...

The dance landed her in joint second place, with the notoriously tough judge Craig Revel Horwood saying ‘That was jaw-dropping, darling.’

But while the nation celebrates the star’s impressive dance, almost all comments relate back to one thing – her age.

Hundreds of viewers have taken to social media talking not about how amazing Angela is, but how amazing she is for her age. Placed into a box where she was expected to fail, people are now left feeling shocked as she tore down their stereotypes.

But really, it's no surprise that Angela can still bust a move better than most of us. She may be getting ready to celebrate her 79th birthday in October, but she certainly isn’t your average septuagenarian.

Having presented the OG Strictly, named Come Dancing, back in the 1980s, the TV star has always been closely linked to the world of dance – with it coming back full circle. And if anyone knows Angela, they know that she’s already famous for her impressive high-kicks. The star was all the rage after a Morecambe and Wise Christmas special back in 1976, where her moves once again stunned viewers.

Opening up about her dancing experience, she said ‘I’m very fortunate I’ve been around for a very long time and doing Come Dancing, I was the chairman of the English National Ballet for four years – I’ve been around dancers. So I know what’s required, and I did go to ballet class until I was about 17.”

Still working and dancing to this day, it's not as if Angela has stepped into an arena that's brand new. In all, the TV icon has more dance experience than plenty of her fellow celebs. So why did the world instantly pin her as someone to fail?

The answer is one word: Ageism. Particularly in the world of dance, ageing is a no go.

The general assumption is that, as a collective, dancers have a short lifespan. Upon reaching the age of 30, bodies simply get too tired to continue, leaving no other option but to transition into new careers altogether.

And ageism isn’t just limited to the world of dance. The same sentiment was echoed just months ago, when Martha Stewart graced the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Praising Angela, founder of the Acting Your Age campaign Nicky Clark tweeted, ‘All older women on the show are excellent and prove the UK industry habit or retiring women over 45 to cameos, lesser presenting roles, or replacing them entirely is a waste of talent.'

Likewise, former Strictly Judge Arlene Philips also had some love to share for Angela.

Talking on Angela joining the show, she shared, ‘Age is no barrier to dance – the people who dance live to dance.’

As women age, they’re made to feel they should be quietly become invisible, letting go of the things that bring them joy in favour of a quieter, expected life. Women like Angela are showing that, actually, women of any age can – and should – take up as much space as possible.

Dancing isn’t exclusively made for one cookie-cutter of a person, and Strictly carries on being the show that proves anyone can cha cha with the best of them.

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