Strictly Come Dancing: Brian Cox turned down show as he’s ‘too old’

Actor Brian Cox appearing on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg
Image caption,Brian Cox says there is a “joke element” to being on Strictly

By Noor Nanji

Culture reporter

Brian Cox has said he turned down an invitation to be a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing as he felt he was “too old” to take part.

The Succession star, 77, told the BBC he liked dancing but was not sure he wanted “to go down that road”.

More than eight million people viewed Saturday’s grand final of the dance competition on BBC One.

Actress Ellie Leach, 22, was crowned this year’s champion, making her the youngest winner in the show’s history.

The Coronation Street actress, partnered by professional dancer Vito Coppola, beat EastEnders’ Bobby Brazier and Bad Education star Layton Williams to lift the glitterball trophy.

With an average age of 23, they were the youngest trio of finalists ever to compete.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023 Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola holding the Glitterball trophy above their heads with fireworks visible behind them
Image caption,The moment of victory for Ellie and Vito

Cox, who starred as Logan Roy in the TV drama Succession, was asked about Strictly when he appeared on the BBC One programme Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg.

“I’ve actually been asked to be on it,” he revealed.

But he added: “I declined. I mean, I like dancing, don’t get me wrong… I just don’t know why, but I always see that there’s a sort of joke element in it.

“There’s almost a character that’s going to be getting the elbow… and I just thought, ‘I don’t know if I want to go down that road’.”

When asked if he could be convinced to take part, he stated: “I’m getting too old for it anyway.”

Former cabinet minister Robert Buckland, who was also a panellist on Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, said he too loved dancing and is able to do the Charleston and “a little bit of ballroom”.

“That show means so much to me and my family,” he said. But he did not answer directly when asked if he fancied competing on the show.

Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid, who made it to the final of the show in 2013, congratulated this year’s winners.

But she warned them “it is not real life”.

“Any of those contestants who wake up this morning, they will come back down to earth with a bump because it’s like a completely different planet where you breathe air which is sequin-encrusted,” she added.

Strictly's Kai Widdrington and Angela Rippon
Image caption,Angela Rippon was the eighth contestant to be eliminated this year

Angela Rippon told the BBC that she felt her appearance on the show this year had been an inspiration to older people.

The presenter – at 79, two years older than Cox – made it through to the Blackpool special before being eliminated after facing Brazier in the dance-off.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast on Sunday, she said she had “loved every minute” of being on Strictly.

She added that she had been “overwhelmed” by the support she had received, “and the number of men of a certain age – as well as women – who are saying you’ve been an inspiration, just to demonstrate that it is possible to do what I do”.

She said it was “amazing and joyful” to hear she had inspired others to take dancing classes “because they thought, well, ‘if she could do it, why can’t I?'”.

The final of Strictly Come Dancing 2023 was watched by an average of 8.8 million viewers.

That is a drop compared with last year, when 9.2 million people tuned in to see presenter Hamza Yassin crowned winner.

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