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Dawn French turned down Strictly because she didn't want to be a joke act

Dawn French
(Image credit: David M Benett)

Dawn French would only be on Strictly if she was taken seriously

Dawn French has revealed that she turned down the chance to be on Strictly Come Dancing.

The 62-year-old said she’s been approached before “in a circling way” but she felt she’d just be seen as a comedy act.

The Vicar of Dibley legend insisted that she’d have liked to have had a proper crack at the show, but believed she wouldn’t have been taken seriously.

“They approached me in a circling way before. The problem is if I did it, I’d want to do it and properly dance,” said Dawn on her new Audible podcast with Jennifer Saunders - French & Saunders: Titting Around (opens in new tab).

“At this age, you’re not taken seriously. Also if you’re from comedy, they want to shoot you out of a cannon like Ann Widdecombe and I don’t want that.

“I want the nicest dress, the most elegant other dancer and to take it seriously and nobody would want that.”

MORE: Everything you need to know about Strictly Come Dancing 2020 (opens in new tab)

Dawn’s long-time comedy partner, Jennifer Saunders also said she wasn’t interested in being on the show.

French and Saunders

Dawn and her good friend Jennifer Saunders have both ruled out appearing on Strictly (credit: by David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

While Jennifer, 62, said she enjoyed watching it, she wasn’t at all keen on making the show’s behind the scenes films which the celebrity and their partner make each week.

“Please don’t make me do your silly films and your stupid jokes and skip off with a dancer hand-in-hand.”

So, sadly it doesn't look like we will being seeing either Dawn or Jennifer on Strictly anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the BBC has now confirmed that the new series of Strictly Come Dancing will begin on Saturday October 17th at 7.50pm. (See our TV guide for more shows to enjoy). The live shows will then begin the following Saturday.

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.


Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 


David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.


Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!