Belfast Telegraph

Who is Strictly Come Dancing contestant Anneka Rice?

The Challenge Anneka star is taking on perhaps the biggest challenge of her career so far…

Who is Strictly Come Dancing contestant Anneka Rice? (Ian West/PA)
Who is Strictly Come Dancing contestant Anneka Rice? (Ian West/PA)

Anneka Rice is ready to trade her famous vibrant jumpsuits for something more glamorous as she has joined this year’s Strictly Come Dancing line-up.

However, TV stalwart and radio broadcaster Rice, 60, said she is not a “girly girl” and is concerned about wearing “flouncy” dresses on the dance floor, when she was unveiled on Steve Wright’s BBC Radio 2 programme.

Rice became a household name while entertaining millions nearly 40 years ago, landing her first major TV job on Channel 4’s game show Treasure Hunt in 1982 as a “skyrunner” clad in brightly-coloured jumpsuits, racing across the country to solve cryptic clues.

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Anneka Rice is this year’s oldest Strictly contestant (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

She launched her own series, Challenge Anneka, in 1989.

The reality game show began life as a one-off stunt for Children In Need in 1987, before becoming a regular fixture in the TV schedule until 1995.

Rice would be tasked with a challenge in each episode, such as building an orphanage in 48 hours with the help of the public, and would be filmed as she did her best to make things happen as she persuaded people and companies to donate their time and resources for free.

The series was lauded for shining a spotlight on issues such as disability, homelessness and animal welfare, and raised millions of pounds worth of supplies and services for charities and communities.

Joined by soundman Dave Chapman and her trademark kit built Dakar 4×4, the show was a firm favourite among viewers, although a revival in 2006 was short-lived.

Rice has had a number of other TV jobs over the years, co-hosting ITV cookery show Sunday Feast alongside Andi Peters in 2006, and in 2007 she appeared in Hell’s Kitchen.

She has also appeared in programmes such as Wish You Were Here, Celebrity Mastermind, a celebrity special of Come Dine With Me, Celebrity Hunted For Stand Up To Cancer and QI.

Rice’s radio career has seen her present on BBC Radio 2, succeeding Zoe Ball in 2012 on the Weekend Breakfast show, until 2017.

She took a break from TV earlier in her career to study painting at Chelsea Art College.

PA

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