Caroline Quentin Strictly
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Strictly’s Caroline Quentin: Who is she and why is she taking part?

The Jonathan Creek and Men Behaving Badly star will be the oldest contestant

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Strictly Come Dancing contestant Caroline Quentin is the oldest celebrity taking part in 2020, but is arguably the most famous of the twelve.

The actress, 60, has been performing since 1980 – before fellow Strictly contestant Clara Amfo was even born!

So why is the former star of Men Behaving Badly and Jonathan Creek taking part?

Strictly Come Dancing Caroline Quentin
Strictly Come Dancing’s oldest contestant of 2020 is Caroline Quentin (Credit: BBC)

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Who is Caroline Quentin?

Caroline is the popular actress and star of classic shows like Men Behaving Badly and Jonathan Creek. She is one of 12 celebs taking part in Strictly 2020.

“I am thrilled and terrified in equal measure to be taking part,” she said after she was confirmed to take part on the show.

She is 60 years old and was born in Reigate, Surrey. Her father Fred was a Royal Air Force pilot and she has three older sisters.

Caroline Quentin Martin Clunes Men Behaving Badly BBC
Caroline Quentin starred alongside Martin Clunes in Men Behaving Badly (Credit: BBC)

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What is Caroline Quentin best known for?

Caroline played the role of Maddie in Jonathan Creek from 1997 until 2000, and then appeared in Blue Murder from 2003 until 2009.

However, many TV fans will always remember her fondly from her 90s role as Dorothy in the hugely popular sitcom Men Behaving Badly.

She starred alongside Martin Clunes, Neil Morrissey and Leslie Ash.

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Is Caroline Quentin married?

Caroline Quentin married funnyman Paul Merton in 1990, but they divorced in 1998. She met her current husband Sam Farmer on the set of Men Behaving Badly where he was a runner.

“I didn’t believe in love at first sight until the moment I saw Sam in a car park in Worthing 14 years ago,” Caroline told Woman and Home magazine.

“We were on set for Men Behaving Badly, it was lashing down with rain and this extremely handsome young man in a baseball cap came up to me and said, ‘Can I get you breakfast?’

“I thought, ‘No thank you, but you can get me something else!’ I asked one of the girls on set who he was and she told me he was the new runner.

“Four days later, he asked me out in front of Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey, which was incredibly brave.”

Sam and Caroline married in 2006.

Caroline Quentin Alan Davies Jonathan Creek BBC
Caroline Quentin starred opposite Alan Davies in Jonathan Creek (Credit: BBC)

Does Caroline Quentin have children?

After a year of dating Sam, Caroline fell pregnant with their daughter Emily. After two miscarriages, she later gave birth to their son William.

What else has Caroline Quentin been in?

She has starred in shows like Kiss Me Kate, Life Begins and Life of Riley and has hosted Extraordinary Homes on BBC2. Away from being a regular face on the telly box, she has tread the boards with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2019 as Lady Fancyfull in The Provoked Wife.

Does Caroline have any dance experience?

As an actress, she has performed in musicals like Les Misérables and attended the independent Arts Educational School in Tring which specialises in dance.

However, recently Caroline said that as a child she studied ballet between the ages of three and 12: “I was a precociously good dancer. Hard to imagine looking at me now. I was good at it,” she told The Mirror.

Caroline Quentin to take part in Strictly Splash
Caroline Quentin admits she’s had dance experience ahead of joining Strictly (Credit: Splash)

She added: “The school I went to was a bit like the Royal Ballet school. I wasn’t sent because I was going to meet the right people, I was there to learn to dance, which is really painful and tiring.”

However, she admits that the physical strain put her off dancing and led her to acting. “It’s so tiring being a dancer,” she said. “If you’re thinking about it, by all means consider it but I’m telling you now, it’s exhausting.”

Can Caroline Quentin bake?

In March 2020, Caroline appeared on the celebrity version of Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off. Though she was taking part to raise funds for cancer research, she said she hadn’t seen that many episodes.

“I haven’t seen the show a huge amount, she said at the time, “I’ve seen it occasionally, but I’m not someone who watches telly all the time but I have really enjoyed the ones I’ve seen. A lot of my friends who religiously watch it are so thrilled I’m here. I’m not sure I’ve ever done a job that’s made people as happy as this.”

Caroline Quentin GBBO Stand Up To Cancer
Caroline Quentin GBBO Stand Up To Cancer

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In spite of not seeing much of the show, she admitted she’d felt anxious taking part. “I wasn’t nervous before I got here – I was absolutely fine – but when I got into the tent, I thought I was going to [bleep] myself, and I started to shake and everything. It was really weird. I have no idea why! I’ve done TV all my life!”

The reason why she did the show is because she is a coeliac and she wanted more people to know what the condition was.

“I am President of Coeliac UK and, apart from supporting Stand Up to Cancer, I want to raise awareness about coeliac disease,” she said.

“It’s an autoimmune disease – people often think it’s an allergy – and it can affect you very seriously. In terms of fertility and osteoporosis, and they’re finding more and more connections with Alzheimer’s and degenerative brain diseases. It’s something we’ve got to start taking seriously.”

Would Caroline Quentin join a Men Behaving Badly revival?

It’s been 20 years since the original series aired, so Caroline says she might actually be ready to return to the character of Dorothy.

“I’d be up for a revival now because enough time has passed,” Caroline told TV Times. “Previously, I wasn’t interested. Now it could be fascinating to see what’s happened to all the characters 20 years on. Although it is frightening it was 20 years ago!”

Since the series ended, she has remained friends with Neil Morrissey and Martin Clunes, even appearing in Clunes’ TV show Doc Martin.

“Martin only lives half an hour away from me,” she said. “We are really good friends still, which is lovely because it’s such a long time since we did Men Behaving Badly.”

Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One on Saturday 17 October

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