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Nadia Sawalha says she would feel 'awkward' on 'Strictly' at her age

Julia Hunt
·Contributor
·3-min read

Watch: Nadia Sawalha on why she wouldn’t be keen to compete in Strictly

Loose Women star Nadia Sawalha has admitted she wouldn’t be too keen on doing Strictly at her age because she would feel “intimidated” dancing with a younger man.

The presenter, 55, spoke out after comedians Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders said they didn’t fancy competing on the BBC dance contest because it’s a bit “undignified” for older women.

Discussing the issue with her fellow Loose Women panellists, Sawalha revealed she wasn’t in any rush to do Strictly either.

Read more: Nadia Sawalha was 'out of control' at start of lockdown due to concerns over father's health

“I would feel really intimidated being with a really young dancer,” she said.

“Maybe that’s just because I’ve been dictated to, it’s ageism or whatever, but I would feel awkward.

“Definitely I would feel awkward.”

However, fellow panellist Coleen Nolan said she would “kill to be on Strictly”.

“I love it and I love the fact that it is every age right across the board, male and female,” said the 55-year-old.

“It’s every size. I think we should celebrate that because we don’t see that a lot.

“And as for the older women doing it, yes some of them go in... Ann Widdecombe ended up being the funny one because she was funny. She couldn’t dance and she admitted she never went to rehearsals because she couldn’t be bothered.

Coleen Nolan at The Thunder Girls book launch party at The Court, Kingly Street (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Coleen Nolan (Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

“But then you equally get older women who have gone really far in the competition and who have been brilliant.”

Comedian French said this week that she didn’t fancy a turn on the Strictly dancefloor because she wouldn’t be taken seriously and didn’t want to be a laughing stock.

Chatting to her comedy partner Saunders on their podcast French And Saunders: T**ting About, the 62-year-old said: “At this age, you’re not taken seriously.

EMBARGOED UNTIL 0001 SATURDAY 18 DECEMBER. Ann Widdecombe and dancing partner Anton Du Beke during rehearsals for Strictly Come Dancing, at BBC Television Centre in west London.
Ann Widdecombe and dancing partner Anton Du Beke (PA)

“Also if you’re from comedy, they want to shoot you out of a cannonball like Ann Widdecombe and I don’t want that!”

Saunders, 62, agreed, saying if either of them signed up for the competition she knew they would be paired up with professional dancer Anton du Beke.

“We wouldn’t get Aljaz [Škorjanec] or any of the nice ones,” she said.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 07:  Dawn French (L) and Jennifer Saunders attend the Glamour Women Of The Year Awards in Berkeley Square Gardens on June 7, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Discussing some of the tricky moves the dancers tackle, the pair agreed it could be “terribly undignified”.

Read more: Strictly tour delayed to 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic

This year’s series of Strictly starts on 17 October with the launch show, when the celebrity contestants meet their professional partners. The live shows will start on 24 October.

Widdecombe competed on Strictly in 2010.

Watch: Nadia Sawalha admits she was never happy in EastEnders