‘No plans' for same-sex couples on Strictly, BBC says
There are “no plans” to introduce same-sex couples to Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC has said.
It comes as contestant the Rev Richard Coles argued it made “no sense” that anyone would resist having dancers of the same gender taking to the floor together in the hit programme.
Coles, who was one half of the 1980s band the Communards, is in a same-sex marriage and is among the 15 contestants taking part in this year’s edition of Strictly Come Dancing, which started on Saturday.
He has been paired to dance with Dianne Buswell, but told Digital Spy he had “a discussion” with bosses on the show about having same-sex couples taking part.
Coles was speaking after fellow contestant Susan Calman, who is a lesbian, had been criticised on social media for not having a female professional partner.
He told the website: “We’ve had a discussion about it, actually, and I don’t know. It makes absolutely no sense that anybody resists the idea, in principle.
“It’s just a question of doing it. I think this year would be a good year to do it actually, with the 50th anniversary of sexual offences act (which decriminalised sex between two men aged more than 21).”
A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “Strictly has chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples and at the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples in the competition.”
Comedian Calman said she had considered dancing with a woman, but it was her choice to dance with a man.
She said: “I did think about dancing with a woman, but from the very first moment when I was asked about the show I said I wanted to dance with a man.”
Speaking about comments made on social media, she said: “People can criticise me all they want, but I’ve worked tirelessly for LGBT equality my whole life and right now I would like to dance and bring entertainment to people by dancing on a Saturday night.
“Dancing’s not necessarily about sex; it’s acting. When I do a sexy tango with my partner I’ll be acting and, fundamentally, I’ve watched the show for years and I want to learn how to dance.”