BBC Countryfile co-host Anita Rani questions whether race affected her Strictly Come Dancing experience

Countryfile co-host Anita Rani has questioned whether she would have reached the final of Strictly Come Dancing if she “didn’t have a brown face”.

The 43-year-old, who studied broadcasting at the University of Leeds, competed on the BBC One show in 2015. She was partnered with professional dancer Gleb Savchenko but was knocked out in the semi-final round.

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Celebrity contestants on the programme are scored by the panel of judges and a public vote.

Presenter Anita Rani is best known for co-hosting the BBC show Countryfile. Picture: James Hardisty

Speaking to Radio Times, Rani explained why she decided to address the issue in her memoir, The Right Sort Of Girl.

She said: “I still find myself wondering whether I would have got into the final if I didn’t have a brown face.

“There are various points in my career where I wonder what would have happened if I was blonde-haired and blue-eyed, and sometimes I don’t think things would have played out the same way if I was white.

“I’ve put that Strictly question into my book to leave people pondering, because I’m just not sure.”

Rani described Strictly as a “national institution” and stressed the important of having diverse figures appear as contestants.

She said: “I still rush excitedly over to the telly if there’s someone Asian on it.

“And that’s why seeing a brown lass doing all right on Strictly meant such a lot to Asian people.

“It’s a national institution, and you don’t see many brown faces on it, certainly not many that do well.”

She added: “Nobody is happy when they’re voted out, let me tell you. It doesn’t matter who you are, that hurts.

“I often think about doing it again. That would be great: going back and winning it this time.”

The journalist and broadcaster, from Bradford, has appeared on several BBC TV and radio programmes, including Watchdog, BBC Young Dancer and Who Do You Think You Are?.

She has appeared as a co-presenter on the BBC’s Countryfile since 2015.

The BBC has been contacted for comment.