Strictly Come Dancing to allow same-sex couples to compete for the first time next year

Strictly Come Dancing will allow same-sex couples to compete on the show for the first time next year. 

The BBC show confirmed it is now “completely open” to the idea, after previously saying it had “no plans” to change its mixed-sex format.

It comes after pressure from some of Strictly’s stars, who were praised by viewers for breaking down gender barriers by performing their first-ever same-sex performance last year. 

The landmark TV moment saw Neil Jones and Kevin Clifton performing together, with Katya Jones and Nadiya Bychkova, and Aljaz Škorjanec and Pasha Kovolev also dancing in pairs.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood has supported the idea of same-sex couples, previously saying he thought it would happen “eventually”.

“I have no argument against it. I think it would be rather fun. Maybe the BBC will be brave enough one day to do it,” he said.

The ballroom competition returns for its 17th series this autumn,with former England goalkeeper David James, Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell and Viscountess Emma Weymouth among the stars competing.

Welcoming the news, former Strictly dancer Robin Windsor said: “Strictly has always been pitched as a family show, and in their own words a few years back, they said that’s the reason they wouldn’t be inclusive of same-sex couples.

“It was very disheartening at the time, but of course families now are made up very differently than they were, and I think it’s fantastic that they’re open to having some more inclusivity on the show.”

He added: “You don’t need to be gay to dance with somebody of the same sex.

“Ballroom dancing is about two people together moving in perfect unison across the floor, as long as you have a leader and a follower it shouldn’t matter.”

A Strictly Come Dancing spokesman said: “Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and we are proud to have featured same-sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series.

“We are completely open to the prospect of including same-sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers in the future, should the opportunity arise.”

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