Angela Rippon feels like she has won the Glitterball trophy despite being the latest star to be voted off Strictly Come Dancing.
The legendary broadcaster, 79, became the eighth star to leave the BBC dancing show on Sunday.
She told how she has been stopped everywhere by members of the public saying she has given them a new lease of life and had been ‘flying the flag for older women.’
Angela, who had been partnered with professional dancer Kai Widdrington, aged 28 and 51 years her junior, said that whilst she was still ‘fit and flexible’ she knew she would never win the series.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on Monday, she said: ‘I did say right at the very beginning I did know I was never going to win the competition, my goodness there are some stunning dancers this year and getting closer and closer to that Glitterball.
Time up: Angela Rippon feels like she has won the Glitterball trophy despite being the latest star to be voted off Strictly Come Dancing
Incredible: The 79-year-old wowed the judges and spectators with her flexible dance moves and high ‘split’ kicks
‘I was never going to be one of them, I knew that, but if I could get that message across that dancing is not just a joyous thing to do but one of ways that as you get older, when you get into your sixties, seventies, eighties and your nineties, it will help you in your mind and your body, to stay stronger, stay fitter and more flexible.’
And she she echoed the much loved late host Bruce Forsyth’s catchphrase, saying: ‘As Brucie used to say Keep Dancing!’
She had performed an American smooth to Tea For Two by Ella Fitzgerald but landed in Sunday night’s dreaded dance off against EastEnders star Bobby Brazier and his partner Dianne Buswell.
She added: ‘I know there will be people who perhaps have medical conditions which will make that impossible but movement is still important so they can live a full life.
‘If I can get that message across, just by having done what I have done, that will be my Glitterball. I will see that as an achievement.’
‘The number of people who have written or said to me in person that I have been an inspiration to them and I have been flying the flag for older women, that I have persuaded people to be fitter, to do something physical for themselves has been overwhelming.’
Angela wowed the judges and spectators with her flexible dance moves and high ‘split’ kicks, and had her last dance with partner Kai on Sunday at Blackpool Tower ballroom where she had previously presented Come Dancing 40 years before.
The celebrity said she decided to do the iconic show because ‘I am fit and still very flexible so I thought ‘Why not, give it a go?’
Brutal: Angela faced Bobby Brazier in the tense dance off as both stars tried to impress the judges one final time
She said she had been regularly dancing throughout her sixties and seventies as a way of keeping fit.
She admitted she would have loved to have gone ‘a bit further’ in the competition for Kai, but said that they would remain firm friends now that her time on the show has come to an end.
When asked by Tess about her time on the show, Angela said on Sunday: ‘I have to tell you that the last nine weeks have probably been the most terrifying, the most fantastic, the most glorious, the most joyful that I have spent for a very long time in my profession.
‘I have had the time of my life, people keep making reference to the fact that I presented Come Dancing, but that was forty years ago, that was a different time! He [Kai] wasn’t even born then!
‘But actually being this side of the competition, this side of the programme has been really an eye opener for me in so many different ways.
‘Everybody talks about the team and all the pros – everyone who has danced – there is a real team spirit in this programme unlike anything I’ve come across anywhere else in any of the many programmes I’ve done.
Yay! Strictly Come Dancing returned to Blackpool’s famous Tower Ballroom on Saturday night, with Angela experiencing a full circle moment
Wow: The presenter returned to the seaside resort after hosting the original version of the show, Come Dancing, in the Eighties and Nineties (pictured in 1988)
‘It’s absolutely fabulous. They support us, they encourage us all the time – it’s absolutely wonderful. But the person who really has to get the most credit is this gentleman here [to Kai].’
The first Come Dancing programme was aired in 1950 and presented by Peter Dimmock, with Leslie Mitchell as the master of ceremonies.
Angela joined as a presenter a few years later alongside the likes of Terry Wogan, Judith Chalmers, David Jacobs, and Rosemarie Ford.
Come Dancing ended in 1998. However the success of the film Strictly Ballroom rekindled interest in dance and so, in 2004, Strictly Come Dancing aired on BBC.
The remaining six couples will take to the dancefloor next when Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday 25th November at 19:30, with the results show on Sunday 26th November at 19:20 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
Strictly 2023: Week Nine Leaderboard
Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin – Couple’s Choice to Ain’t No Other Man by Christina Aguilera – 39 points out of 40
Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola – Charleston to Love Machine by Girls Aloud – 39 points out of 40
Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu – Argentine Tango to Black To Black by Amy Winehouse – 38 points out of 40
Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell – Jive to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham! – 35 points out of 40
Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe – American Smooth to Unchained Melody by Benedetta Caretta – 35 points out of 40
Nigel Harman and Katya Jones – Quickstep to It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing by Duke Ellington – 31 points out of 40
Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington – American Smooth to Tea for Two by Ella Fitzgerald – 28 points out of 40