Broadcaster Gloria Hunniford has revealed she had not sung on a big stage show for 27 years before her appearance on The Masked Singer, and said she was stunned with herself when watching back her performance.

The Loose Women star, who was the second celebrity crooner eliminated from the new series of the ITV programme, said that at 81 she believes she is the oldest contestant the show has ever had.

Hunniford appeared as Snow Leopard in a white fluffy costume with a green velvet outfit, but her true identity was correctly guessed by panellist Jonathan Ross.

Speaking after her exit, the Northern Irish broadcaster said she has been in showbusiness for around 74 years, as she had started singing at the age of seven and had travelled with her father, who was a magician by night, across Ireland performing.

"It became a bit of a dream sequence"

She said: "Although I was a singer when I was a child, and I was going to be a singer originally but broadcasting took over and I preferred that, but I hadn't sung on a big show stage for something like 27 years.

"Because I did do a few in the day - Des O'Connor Show and Les Dawson Show and things like that - but The Masked Singer is a big show and it's only when the mask came off, and when I watched it on the Saturday night previous, I thought, 'Oh my goodness, did I actually do that?', it became a bit of a dream sequence.

"But I was pleased with myself that I did it. Because they help you enormously and they look after you very well and I couldn't have enjoyed anything more."

Hunniford added that she had been "thrilled" to do the show and confirmed she would definitely relive the experience - but feels a lot of people were surprised she took part due to her age.

However, she revealed that her family had hesitations about her doing the show due to it being quite full-on.

She said: "One of my sons said to me, 'Are you sure you're going to be able to cope with it because it's a big show?'

"So I thought, 'Well, I'd really quite like to do it because I've always enjoyed it before' and I find it quite intriguing trying to guess and failing and all that, so I immediately said yes.

"But I think some of my family wondered would I be able to deal with it all because it's quite something."

Gloria Hunniford said she was "thrilled" to take part

The broadcaster also revealed that on top of her vocal lessons, she was trained to disguise her Irish accent when she was singing and talking to try to put the judging panel and viewers off the scent.

She admitted that part of her had hoped to go further, but said the rehearsal schedule of getting home late after recording the show and having to return early the next day to learn a new song would have been quite strenuous.

"So in some respects, in my stage of life, I was quite happy and I got the best out of everything", she added.

The Masked Singer continues on Saturdays at 7:00pm on Virgin Media One and ITV.

Source: Press Association

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