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Mel Giedroyc says her ‘Strictly’ Christmas special appearance has left her wanting more

Mel Giedroyc
Neil Jones and Mel Giedroyc join forces on 'Strictly' (Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Mel Giedroyc is more than a little bit excited that she’s appearing in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special. In fact, after years of saying no to the BBC1 series producers, her one-off appearance has got her interested in appearing in the show proper.

Mel, 53, told The Telegraph that she has spurned the BBC1 celebrity dance series numerous times, but said ahead of her Christmas Day appearance: “I’ve always thought Strictly’s a weird one for a woman in her 50s, because you’re too old to be a contender, unless you’re Debbie McGee, so it’s best to wait until you can do an [Ann] Widdecombe.

“But now I’ve dipped my large, middle-aged toe into the glitter, and maybe I feel differently.”

Mel will be performing a street dance to Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby with Strictly professional Neil Jones, and says she doesn’t think she’s ‘been this excited about Christmas since I got my first guinea pig from Santa in 1978’.

Being a massive fan of the Strictly Christmas special – a perennial highlight in the Christmas TV schedule – she had expected there would be little call on her dancing talents, such as they are, because the routines usually focus less on the dancing and more on the showbiz side of the performance.

She said: “Having seen all the Christmas specials I thought there’ll be 20 seconds at the top of the dance doing something like dressing a tree and at least 20 seconds at the end where you’re both doing something hilarious like trying to get into an igloo, so actually, you’d only be dancing for under a minute. But it was 90 seconds of full-on commercial dancing. It was absolutely exhausting. But I feel super-fit now and it was brilliant.”

Mel is about to return to Dave with a new series of her celebrity confessional game show, Unforgivable, but has also been reflecting on her time as co-host of The Great British Bake Off with her long-time friend and collaborator, Sue Perkins (of course, Mel and Sue and Mary Berry chose not to switch to Channel 4 when the iconic baking show moved from its original home on the BBC in 2017).

She admitted to a gentle nostalgic regret when Bake Off returns each year.

“We’d start filming the show in April, so I’d be lying if I didn’t say [at that time of year] I have a fleeting feeling of ‘Ah, I wish I were in the tent.’ But I hope we set a good tone. In series one we fought for the show to be kind and without that it wouldn’t be what it is today. But I don’t want to over-inflate what we did – the show is bigger than us and if it has interesting, strong bakers it will always be great.”

Watch Mel in Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 at 5.10pm on BBC One on Christmas Day.