Angela Rippon said her age “shouldn’t be a factor” in her appearance on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
The veteran broadcaster said she has at least one cryotherapy ice bath a week as well as a deep tissue massage to maintain her body for the competition and is currently the only female celebrity contestant not to suffer an injury.
Rippon said getting through to the fourth week of the competition with her professional partner Kai Widdrington would serve as a “birthday cake” as she prepares to turn 79 – making her the show’s oldest contestant.
“If it’s something that encourages people to think more positively about themselves as they get older, then I think that’s probably a good thing, but personally in my head, I’ve been 30 for the last 40 years.
“It’s not something that really concerns me.”
Rippon, who succeeds TV personality Johnny Ball as the oldest contestant after his appearance in 2012 aged 74, said she will wear her age as a “badge of honour” to encourage dancing for all as it continues to be a focus.
Following her debut on the BBC One programme, in which she showcased her famous flexibility with an impressive high kick, Rippon explained how important body maintenance is on her “list of priorities”.
“I’m not daft, I am going to be 79 next week and as I’ve said on several occasions, while my head is saying, ‘Gosh, you have a lovely time Ang’, my body is saying ‘what the heck are you doing’. And I know I have to look after it.
“I owe that to Kai because of the amount of work that he’s putting in, but I owe it to myself as well and it’s something I’ve done all my life which is why presumably at the age that I am I’m still able to do some of the things that I do.”
On the ice bath, she added: “I love them. I stand in them 120 degrees below freezing for three minutes and it is so relaxing, I can’t tell you. I love it.”
Rippon also said that Widdrington’s partner and fellow Strictly star Nadiya Bychkova has been a “great cheerleader”, and helps him create the choreography in their living room.
The former Come Dancing presenter also described being on the show as a “full circle moment”.
“In a way what has come full circle is that when I was a girl of five, and I was sent to ballet class and took to it like a duck to water, I decided I wanted to be a ballerina.
“By the time I was 17, I was five foot six, so too tall.
“But when I was a little girl, I wanted to be a dancer, I wanted to dance and what has come full circle after 60 years is the opportunity to be able to do that.”