When Melissa Met Angela
You have to hand it to them: they’re an eagle-eyed lot on the Kettlewell Colour Club on Facebook. There’s not much that escapes the attention of our Kettlewell-loving ladies, and Angela Rippon wearing one of our sweaters on the One Show – while doing the splits, no less – was never going to pass under the radar. In no time, there came a flurry of comments on the Colour Club and confirmation that, no question, Angela was wearing our bestselling Ziggy Sweater in Brilliant Blue – and looking fabulous in it, too.
It’s not every day you get to meet a national treasure, so having contacted Angela via her agent (and to be honest, not really expecting to hear back), we were thrilled when a return email from Angela landed promptly in our inbox, informing us that she owned not one but three Ziggies in Brilliant Blue, Shocking Pink and Red, as well as a Kettlewell blouse, and that she would love to take us up on our offer of a colour consultation. Added to that, she was free the following week.
And so I found myself escaping the office for the first time in over a year and heading to the (covid-secure) colour studio of House of Colour consultant Fiona Ingham in Primrose Hill to meet Angela. And what a joy she was – positive, engaging, funny, completely down-to-earth and happy to chat away in breaks in the colour analysis about everything from growing up in Devon and ballet lessons to broadcasting. It was fascinating to hear about her long and varied careering over the past 50 years, starting out in her home town of Plymouth where she trained as a journalist, before becoming a documentary photojournalist and joining BBC Plymouth and the ITV station Westward Television, and then BBC National News in 1973 (she was appointed the first woman journalist newsreader in l975).
A founder member of TV-am in 1982, in 1984 she moved to America to work for CBS in Boston – and that’s before you get to all her other presenting roles, including Come Dancing, Top Gear, the Antiques Roadshow, Masterteam, Crufts Championship, Holiday Hit Squad, The Holiday Programme, Rip-off Britain and HealthCheck UK Live. She is also the author of 14 books, the most recent being Fabulous at Fifty and Beyond. In recognition of her services to Broadcasting, Charity and the Arts, she was awarded an OBE in 2004, and in the 2017 New Year Honours she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to dementia care in her role as development lead with Dementia Friendly Communities. “I can honestly say I’ve had the most incredible career and loved every minute. I’ve been very lucky,” she told me.
Angela is the sort of can-do, glass-full sort of person who makes it a pleasure to be around – and, at 77, a shining example to us all, playing tennis regularly, keeping active and, of course, still doing the splits with those famously long legs, 45 years on from that iconic high-kick routine on the Morecambe and Wise Christmas show.
Angela with Fiona Ingham from House of Colour in her studio
When it came to the colour consultation, Fiona could tell her season from the moment she laid the first drapes – it was clear as night and day. The warm colours did nothing for her, and looked heavy and sludgy against her complexion, while the cool shades of fuchsia, carmine red, emerald and indigo made her skin look younger and clearer and her eyes sparkle. The diagnosis? A very cool Jewel Winter, bordering on the sultry, with an incredibly warm and vibrant personality.