Strictly Come Dancing: Bosses ‘allow same-sex couples next series after years of campaigning from viewers’
A BBC source claimed that after years of campaigning by viewers and judge Craig Revel-Horwood, producers have relented after seeing how popular pairings have been on international versions of the show.
It comes as the current series of Strictly finally kicks off on Saturday, with 15 new celebrities set to learn which professional they will be competing with.
At last! Strictly Come Dancing bosses are reportedly going to allow same-sex couples to compete next series (pictured above a same-sex routine from the professionals last year)
The source explained that bosses have agreed to relax the rules on same-sex couples after seeing how well they were embraced overseas.
They said: ‘Bosses have said while there aren’t any same sex pairings in this series, they’d definitely be open to it, given the right combination of celebs and dancers. The show’s always been inclusive and reflects modern Britain.’
‘Having previously thought it was unnecessary, it has dawned on people at the BBC that the original British show looks a bit backwards in not having embraced the notion of a same-sex couple.’
Exciting: A source claimed that bosses relented after years of campaigning from fans. It comes just a week before the current series kicks off on BBC One
Amazing: It comes after viewers praised show bosses last year, when the professional dancers performed a same-sex routine
The source then added that the decision was also made following the success of drag act Courtney Act – real name Shane Jenek – when she was paired with male professional dancer Josh Keefe on Dancing With The Stars Australia.
‘It could well be that we follow the Aussie model and go for a charismatic drag act, because Courtney Act proved hugely popular with traditionally conservative Australian viewers.’
When contacted by MailOnline a representative for Strictly Come Dancing 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.’
Wow! A source claimed that bosses decided to relax the rules on pairings, after seeing the success of drag act Courtney Act on Dancing With The Stars Australia
The decision comes after years of campaigning by fans for same-sex couples, which proved partially successful last year when the professional dancers delivered a powerful same-sex routine.
Several former contestants have also supported the idea, with Dr Ranj Singh saying last year: ‘I would love to dance with a same-sex partner.’
Reverend Richard Coles also said in 2017 that it made ‘no sense that anybody resists the idea.’
It comes after Courtney shared her disappointment that Strictly was yet to embrace same-sex couples in the UK.
Important: Judge Craig Revel Horwood has also long supported the idea of same-sex couples
Speaking at Edinburgh Fringe she said: ‘It shocks me that it hasn’t happened in the UK – the institution of ballroom dancing is being used as an excuse. They’re hiding behind that.
‘Maybe the audience skews older and they think the viewers wouldn’t like it. But it needs to happen – people will be surprised how positively it is received.’
Judge Craig has also campaigned for the pairings, saying to The Mirror: ‘I think more and more people want it – maybe the BBC will be brave enough one day to do it.’
In 2010 Israel became the first version of Strictly to introduce same-sex couples, when TV presenter Gili Shem Tov was partnered with professional dancer Dorit Milman.
Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday 7th September on BBC One.
Sultry: In 2010 Israel became the first version of Strictly to introduce same-sex couples, when TV presenter Gili Shem Tov was partnered with professional dancer Dorit Milman