Strictly’s Claudia Winkleman and colleagues cried when Angela Rippon joined show

Claudia Winkleman has admitted she and everyone behind-the-scenes of Strictly Come Dancing almost broke down in tears over Angela Rippon agreeing to sign up to the show.

The presenter, 51, divulged: “It’s such an honour that Angela Rippon would say yes, we almost all cried.”

Claudia, who co-hosts Strictly with Tess Daly, 54, also branded Angela’s fellow 2023 contestant Annabel Croft, 57, a “national treasure” and praised the fact that this year’s cohort of celebrities spans all ages.

“Annabel Croft is a national treasure. Every single one of the celebrities is great. I love the fact that it spans all ages,” she added to the Strictly Annual, according to The Mirror.

Claudia also shared her excitement for the latter stages of the BBC dance competition, where the couples are challenged in new ways.

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She revealed: “I also love it when they go to two routines in one week. I don’t know how they do it. That’s always quite tense.

“I’d be absolutely terrible. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, let alone where my foot should go.”

Angela, 79, has been impressing Strictly viewers and the judges with her age-defying energy ever since she began dancing with partner Kai Widdrington, 28.

However, she has recently been at the centre of backlash after being in the dance off for the first time last weekend.

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Angela’s victory in the dance off led to Adam Thomas and his partner Luba Mushtuk being controversially eliminated from the competition.

Some fumed that Waterloo Road and Emmerdale actor Adam was “robbed”, as his emotional Rumba had trumped Angela’s routine.

Many viewers also claimed that the judges had failed to acknowledge “mistakes” Angela and Kai had made in their Waltz on Sunday night’s Results Show.

Much to the surprise of fans, Anton Du Beke, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and head judge Shirley Ballas unanimously voted Angela through to the next live show.

The former Come Dancing host has since addressed the controversy on Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two, telling host Fleur East that she was “cross with herself” over her performance.

Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday night at 6.05pm on BBC One.

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