Strictly legend Arlene: Angela’s going to smash it …age is no barrier

The 80-year-old show legend says TV host Angela, who will turn 79 during the series, is flying the flag for older folk.

Former Strictly judge Arlene said: “She is amazing.

“She is going to just smash it. She was a beautiful dancer though didn’t make dance her career. She will take to the ballroom styles on the show – I can’t wait to see her get down and do Latin.

“Age is no barrier to dance – people who dance are immersed in it. For them, getting up to dance is like getting up to walk.

“Although your body is not the same when you get older I think Angela will pull it off.”

Arlene spoke as the start of the latest series was watched by an average of 6.2 million viewers at the weekend.

That was up on last year’s kick-off, which was seen by an average of 5.4 million, while 2021’s launch drew in seven million.

Saturday’s show, when the 15 celebrity dancers were teamed up with their pro partners, had a 6.7 million peak.

READ MORE: Vanessa Feltz on Strictly: Let’s bask in the joy of Angela Rippon

Some stars were told the dance they will perform in their first live show. Ex-Love Island contestant Zara McDermott will do the cha-cha with Graziano Di Prima while Bad Education actor Layton Williams will be trying the samba with Nikita Kuzmin.

Meanwhile former Coronation Street favourite Ellie Leach, paired with Vito Coppola, was horrified when she was informed that she would be dancing the jive for her first live performance.

The launch episode also included a tribute to the late dancer Len Goodman, who became a judge on the BBC programme in 2004 and made his final appearance on Strictly’s Christmas Day special in 2016.

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Len, who was known for crying out “Seven!” on the show, was diagnosed with bone cancer and died in April aged 78.

The Strictly professional dancers and its judges also performed a number in honour of their “Welsh dragon” colleague Amy Dowden.

The 33-year-old dancer said in June that she had had a mastectomy after discovering she had stage three breast cancer and so would be unable to appear on the show this time.

This year’s debut episode also featured a dance from the contest’s emotional reigning champions Hamza Yassin and pro partner Jowita Przystal.

The pair re-enacted their Week Four salsa performance from the last Strictly, and there was a rendition of Free Yourself from British singer Jessie Ware.

  • Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday at 6.15pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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