I still feel a bit sick when I hear the Strictly theme tune...
COUNTRYFILE’S ANITA RANI IS LOOKING FORWARD TO HAVING THE WORLD AT HER FINGERTIPS. SHE TELLS MARION McMULLEN THAT EVEN ARENA SPECTACULARS ARE LESS SCARY THAN TAKING PART IN STRICTLY COME DANCING
You will be presenting Blue Planet II Live In Concert next year. How did that come about?
(LAUGHS) It’s a magic moment. A big finger comes out of the sky and you don’t question it.
This is incredible and absolutely thrilling. I had to keep it all secret for a few months – it’s amazing how many secrets I’ve got – but it only started to feel real when the arena tour was actually announced.
The TV show itself was just magical and the tour takes it to the next level.
It’s not just a television programme, it’s a moment of British TV history that we are taking on the road and I’ll be there with this 80-strong orchestra and big screens showing some of that incredible Blue Planet II footage.
The BBC series Blue Planet II featured some amazing creatures. Do you have any favourite moment?
MANY, many moments from the surfing dolphins to the bobbit worm. The worm was so weird and it was called bobbit as well.
All the best moments of the TV show will be in the tour. It’s going to be magical. It’s going to be very powerful.
Being in front of 10,000 people is going to be something different for me. I took part in the Strictly tour and then hosted that.
I think taking part in Strictly Come Dancing is the most scary thing I’ve done so far.
Did it take you out of your comfort zone?
I’VE been lucky enough to do so many different types of live TV.
I did a programme about the partition of India, my own personal story, and I think that will stay with me for the rest of my life, but Strictly ... that was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done.
I’m like Pavlov’s dog and still feel a bit sick when I hear the theme tune.
It’s terrifying but I loved doing the shows. I think it’s healthy to do things that keep you on your toes.
Did you discover a love of bling?
(LAUGHS) I never wore make-up as a teenager and I thought short skirts and lipstick were frivolous, but the older I get the more girlie I am becoming.
When I am 80 I am going to be outrageous. I’ll have a glass of champagne in my hand and will be wafting around in a kaftan.
How do you relax?
I LOVE to cook. I’m so busy I don’t get to spend a lot of time at home, but when I do I cook.
I don’t follow recipes. I cook everything, but I love a curry. It’s part of my heritage and the food I grew up eating.
The area where I live in London is like a little village and, when I’m not travelling, I like to just stay home and put on the radio or read.
My lifestyle on the road does not allow me to go to regular gym classes, but when I finish filming I do like to go for a run.
How old were you when you became interested in presenting?
I WAS 13 when I found myself doing radio in my home town of Bradford and then there was cable TV, remember that?
I was watching a local programme talking about a festival and I found out where their offices were and turned up knocking at their door saying “can I help?”.
I must have been about 16.
The Blue Planet II shows also feature Matthew Freeman conducting the City of Prague
Philharmonic Orchestra. Are you musical at all? (LAUGHS) I play the triangle. I bought a piano. It’s in my room at home waiting for me to play on it.
I think it is a wonderful thing to be able to produce music and I want to learn.
The music is important to the experience of the arena shows and I can’t wait to hear that beautiful score performed live in front of an audience. This is a family show and it’s all about joy and reminds us that we are all part of this beautiful planet. I think it humbles us.
Are you used to animal encounters doing Countryfile?
I HAVE come across so many animals.
I recently met a cow that was bigger than me, and in Northern Ireland a tame deer took a liking to the sound man and his boom. This deer was just fascinated by the boom.
You never know what is going to be around the corner. I’m not planning to retire ... ever.
You look at John Craven, who is amazing, and David Attenborough, and think there’s no reason why your career can not go on and on.
The Blue Planet II – Live In Concert arena tour starts on March 13. Ticket details from eventim.co.uk, seetickets.com and blueplanet2live.co.uk
TV presenter Anita Rani, the narrator for the Blue Planet II Arena Tour
The surfing dolphins on Blue Planet II
Anita in her Strictly days
The bobbit worm