Angela Rippon, the oldest ever entrant on Strictly Come Dancing, has been eliminated from the show following a dance-off against the youngest contestant in this edition of the show.
In Sunday’s episode at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom the 79-year-old broadcaster lost out to Bobby Brazier, the 20-year-old EastEnders star.
The former news reader performed the American smooth to Tea For Two, by Ella Fitzgerald, with Kai Widdrington, her dance partner, while Brazier and his partner, Dianne Buswell, jived to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham!
Speaking after her exit, Rippon described her journey on the show as her “most terrifying, fantastic and joyful” experience in a “very long time”.
She joked that her partner hadn’t even been born when she had presented the original Come Dancing show between 1988 and 1991.
She added: “I have had the time of my life, people keep making reference to the fact that I presented Come Dancing, but that was 40 years ago, that was a different time.
‘Being this side of the competition has been an eye-opener for me’
“Being this side of the competition, this side of the programme, has been really an eye-opener for me in so many different ways.”
Rippon also praised her dance partner, describing him as an “old soul on young shoulders”.
“He’s 28 and I’m 79, there’s a 51-year difference in our ages.
“He has looked after me so brilliantly, he’s a wonderful dancer, a great choreographer, but he’s a terrific teacher ... and he has the patience of a saint.”
Widdrington said the pair had got on “amazingly”. He added: “I’m so proud of you and you should be proud of yourself, it’s been my absolute honour and pleasure to dance with you especially in this beautiful ballroom.”
Speaking before she went on the show, Rippon said: “It would be wonderful if I could last long enough, a few weeks, and demonstrate even at my age that it is genuinely is possible for people that are older to be able to dance, to keep fit and strong, and help with their posture and balance, and to feel a million dollars.”
Johnny Ball, 74, was the previous oldest contestant
Johnny Ball was previously the oldest contestant when he took part in 2012, aged 74.
The youngest-ever contestant was actress Louisa Lytton, who was 17 when she appeared in 2006.
Brazier and Buswell won the majority vote on Sunday’s show - three votes - before Shirley Ballas, the head judge, said that she would have also saved Brazier.
Craig Revel Horwood, one of the judges, said that Brazier and Buswell’s performance was “standout” while Motsi Mabuse said the dance-off was “marvellous”.
Rippon and Widdrington will join presenter Fleur East for their first televised interview live on Strictly It Takes Two on Monday, Nov 20, at 6.30pm on BBC Two.
The remaining six couples will take to the dancefloor next when Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday Nov 25 at 7.30pm. A results show airs at 7.20pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer the following day.