Angela Rippon reveals her TV career was almost cut short at 50
‘You’ve had your day – it’s time to make way for someone younger’: BBC icon Angela Rippon, 78, reveals how John Birt asked her to quit after she turned 50
She made headlines by becoming the first woman to read the national news on BBC TV regularly.
Now Angela Rippon, 78, who began her TV career in 1966, has told it was almost scuppered when she turned 50 in the 1990s.
She posed for a photoshoot for Prima and told the magazine: ‘When I was in my 50s, John Birt, the then director-general of the BBC, said “Angela, you’ve had your day – it’s time to make room for the young women coming behind you”. Well, that was 28 years ago and I’m still here!’
Angela, originally from Plymouth, Devon, was 21 when she joined the BBC, later becoming a reader on the Nine O’Clock News and hosting Antiques Roadshow and Top Gear. She also appeared on the Morecambe and Wise Show in 1976 and dazzled viewers with a high-kicking dance routine – a move she can still perform.
The star, who currently co-hosts the BBC’s Rip Off Britain, was married to her childhood sweetheart for 22 years before divorcing with no children. She said she is ‘very fortunate to have a lot of men’ in her life who are ‘wonderful, genuine friends’.
Opening up: Angela Rippon, 78, who began her TV career in 1966, has told it was almost scuppered when she turned 50 in the 1990s
Angela Rippon was a pioneer when she became the first woman to read the national news on BBC TV regularly
And revealing the intimate details of her love life following her divorce nearly 31 years ago, she admitted she’s had ‘many long term relationships’ that she chose to keep ‘private.
The broadcaster married Christopher Dare for 25 years from 1967 to 1992.
She said: ‘I’ve had long-term relationships since my marriage ended [in 1992], but I’ve kept them private.
‘I was married for 25 years and when we were parting, Christopher told me, “I got fed up of people coming to our house all the time.”
‘It made me realise that when you do a job that’s public-facing, you have to respect the privacy of your partner. Hardly anybody – beyond my very close circle of friends – would know who my partners have been over the past several years.’
Opening up, she revealed that she has ‘many men in her life’ who are ‘wonderful’ friends without ‘complications’.
She added: ‘I’m very fortunate to have a lot of men in my life – whom I adore – but who are not my partners.
‘They are wonderful, genuine friends, without complications, who don’t need any kind of emotional relationship from me.
Success: Angela, originally from Plymouth, Devon, was 21 when she joined the BBC, later becoming a reader on the Nine O’Clock News and hosting Antiques Roadshow and Top Gear
Candid: Opening up, she revealed that she has ‘many men in her life’ who are ‘wonderful’ friends without ‘complications’
‘I’ve reached the stage where I’m very happy with that. I think it works for them and it certainly works for me.’
The presenter also opened up on working at her age.
She has stayed plenty busy and in September last year, appeared on The One Show where she did the splits live on air.
She also sent BBC viewers wild when she joined 90s icon Mr Motivator for an online work out at the beginning of the pandemic.
First airing in March 2020, HealthCheck UK Live featured the fitness guru, 67, alongside Angela, in a bid to lift people’s spirits during the coronavirus crisis.
The episode got off to a flying start – with Mr Motivator encouraging all the presenters to join in with his workout, including Angela, who could be seen ‘bobbing along’ on Skype.
‘Young women are indeed coming up behind me, and I love it’, she said.
Childhood sweethearts: The broadcaster, 78, was married to her childhood sweetheart Christopher Dare for 25 years from 1967 to 1992
Not taking no: The presenter also opened up on working at her age and recalled an incident when she was told to step down
Zest for life! She said: ‘I’ve met people at 92 who still have the enthusiasm for life of a 30-year-old – and I’ve met 30-year-olds who, frankly, have one foot in the grave!’
‘I’m thrilled to see so many female broadcasters now reading the news, filming it, producing and editing it.
‘I’ve met people at 92 who still have the enthusiasm for life of a 30-year-old – and I’ve met 30-year-olds who, frankly, have one foot in the grave!
‘The way I see it, you only have one go at life, so get as much out of it as you can, whatever you do.’
Now, Angela is focused on travelling.
She said: ‘This year, I want to travel more – without a camera crew. I’ve travelled around the world for work, but I now want to travel just for me.
‘I recently visited Thailand and Bhutan, and next I’m hoping to go to India, where I’ve never been. I even have my camera back out and I’m taking pictures again, which I’m loving.’
The April 2023 issue of Prima is now on sale.
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