Dawn French has said she turned down Strictly Come Dancing because she does not want to be presented as the show's comedy act.

The 62-year-old star believes she would be cast as the funny dancer on the hit BBC One show and admits show producers have "approached me in a circling way before now about it".

Speaking on her new podcast with Jennifer Saunders, she said: "If I did it, I'd want to properly dance. I'd want to be taken seriously and you can't. At this age, you're not taken seriously.

"Also, if you're from comedy they want to shoot you out of a cannonball like Ann Widdecombe.

"And I don't want that. I want the nicest dresses, the most elegant other dancer and to take it seriously, and nobody would want that," she said.

Saunders said she would "never" sign-up, saying: "I can't dance. I've got no rhythm.

"I'd do it if it wasn't for the background films... Please don't make me do your silly films and your stupid jokes and skip off with a dancer hand-in-hand.

"I like watching it. I'm not saying I don't like watching it. But I have to say, being on it would make me cringe...

"There's a shape a person of our age makes when they're dancing...

"We know we'd be with Anton du Beke. We wouldn't get Aljaz or any of the nice ones.

"And there's a shape a woman's body makes... a stiffness to us.

"We're up for making people laugh. We're not up to be laughed at, that's the big difference."

Britain's former home secretary Jacqui Smith, actress Caroline Quentin, reality star Jamie Laing, boxer Nicola Adams and comedian Bill Bailey are also set to take part in the this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing, which will return for its 18th series on Saturday October 24.

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