Anneka Rice, 60, took part in a recent episode of the Channel 4 series of Countdown where she was joined by Nick Hewer, Rachel Riley and Susie Dent. The Strictly Come Dancing 2019 contestant was sitting in the Dictionary Corner with Susie when she recalled a bizarre moment in her younger years. Nick quizzed the star: “Anneka, you’re an adventurous young woman, always have been in. Even in your schools days, I’m told.” Anneka replied: “Yes. Well, the thing is, I always had a sense of fearlessness and that came very much from my background.
“Because I had quite a unsettled background. I always felt the rug was pulled from under my feet.”
She continued: “From an early age I learnt to make the most of the jeopardy that seemed to be in my life on a daily basis. And I think we’re sort of programmed to work through fear and jeopardy.”
The television presenter spoke about her encounter with a French exchange in Paris, which did not go according to plan.
“Back in the day I went on a French exchange. I was given just 10 pounds by my parents and I had to set off and find London,” she explained.
“I had to find the train to Paris. Go to Paris where I expected to find Monsieur Ellere and his charming wife and his two lovely daughters.
“Except there was only Monsieur there. There was never any other members of the family. And I spent a sort of Benny Hill four days being chased around Paris.”
She revealed that it was in that moment she had to be her “own heroine”.
A stunned looking Rachel and Nick looked on as the presenter continued her harrowing tale.
Anneka said: “But I learnt that lesson where you have to stand out of yourself and look at yourself as if you were a heroine in your own film. And then it’s not so scary.”
She added: “In the end I just ran out of my 10 pounds because that’s all I had. And one cup of coffee.
“So I rang my boyfriend in London and he came in his car and collected me in the dead of night from this Paris apartment.
“And we went off camping in the South of France. That wouldn’t really happy now. Our world is really different.”
She then quizzed: “Am I sounding completely mad here?”
To which Nick replied: “No.”
Anneka concluded: “I think it’s good to not be frightened of fear and bad things happening to you. You just learn techniques to get you through them. All these weird things that were happening to me I have definitely used in later life.”
Meanwhile, Anneka will be taking to the dance floor in tonight’s Strictly launch show where viewers will get to find out which professional dancer she will be paired with.
Strictly Come Dancing airs tonight on BBC One at 7.30pm.
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