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Strictly Come Dancing will have first same-sex pair as boxer Nicola Adams joins show

Strictly Come Dancing will have first same-sex pair as boxer Nicola Adams joins show

  • The BBC has fought off controversy for years for limiting its version of Dancing With The Stars to opposite-sex couples only.
Nicola Adams.

Celebrity reality show Strictly Come Dancing will have not only its first same-sex pairing but may feature two same-sex dancing couples.

The hit BBC show has limited the show for years to opposite–sex couples, fending off calls to be more inclusive.

The format pairs celebrities with professional dancers.

Now bisexual Olympic boxer Nicola Adams, 37, will join the show and dance with a female professional.

She said: ‘It’s amazing to be a part of the movement for change, diversity and breaking boundaries in the entertainment industry.’

Moreover that may not be the only same-sex pairing. Another rumor suggests Westlife singer Mark Feehily, 43, could join and dance with male pro Johannes Radeb.

Adams delivers knock-out blow for LGBT+ representation

Adams said: ‘I’m really excited to be joining this year’s incredible line-up for Strictly Come Dancing.

‘I’m a huge fan of the show and am thrilled to be part of something that holds such a special place in so many hearts.’

The double Olympian added: ‘People may know me from work in the ring. But I’ll be every bit as passionate and dedicated to the dancefloor too.’

She told BBC Breakfast this morning that when Strictly approached her, she agreed to take part, provided producers paired her with a same-sex dance pro.

She added: ‘It’s definitely a time for change and time to move on and be more diverse. This is a brilliant step in the right direction. It will be nice for the LGBT community to be able to see that there are same-sex couples on the show as well.’

Could Strictly make it a double?

There may still be room for another same-sex pairing in Strictly too.

A source told The Sun: ‘This is another intriguing twist in the journey. Everyone assumed producers would simply pair gay pro Johannes Radebe with a male celebrity but they felt that was too obvious.’

Meanwhile a source told The Mirror that Adams joining the show and having a female dance partner was ‘quite emotional’:

‘It’s such an exciting step for us to be taking, and many feel it is well overdue.

‘It’s been talked about for so long, to see it finally happen feels truly ground-breaking and quite emotional.’

The fight for same-sex Strictly

The show has featured same-sex professionals dancing together before. But they have never been paired with one of the celebrity contestants. Moreover, they have made up just a few minutes of programming over Strictly’s 17 series since 2004.

Last year, Radebe danced with fellow professional Graziano Di Prima to the music of Emeli Sande. But the routine attracted 189 complaints from viewers, the most in the show’s history.

Despite that, Strictly insiders have kept pressing producers to be more inclusive. Gay pro dancer Robin Windsor and gay judge Craig Revel-Horwood are among those to have called for same-sex dancing.

Many of the celebrity contestants joined their calls for same-sex inclusivity. But they said the issue was ‘out of their hands’.

Meanwhile the show has featured lesbian, gay and bi celebrities before – but not in same-sex pairings. Gay stars including former singer turned vicar Rev Richard Coles and TV host Richard Arnold both danced with women. So did singer Will Young who abruptly quit the show in 2016.

Comic Susan Calman became the first lesbian to join the show in 2017. But she attracted criticism from LGBT+ fans when Strictly paired her with a man rather than a woman.

Meanwhile TV doctor Ranj Singh said he wanted to dance with a male professional when he entered the show, but Strictly refused. Likewise gay quizzing star CJ de Mooi says the show’s producers rejected him because he insisted on dancing with a man.

Meanwhile rival ITV show Dancing on Ice has beaten BBC’s Strictly to it. Singer Ian ‘H’ Watkins and professional skater Matt Evers made history by being the ITV show’s first male skating duo earlier this year.

Adams has now retired from boxing having won Olympic golds in both the London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 games. But she has finally won this fight for representation, after years of hard slog from LGBT+ campaigners.