Entertainment

Nicola Adams makes Strictly history as part of show's first same-sex couple

The former boxer is paired with professional dancer Katya Jones.

Nicola Adams has made Strictly Come Dancing history as she became the first celebrity to perform in the programme as part of a same-sex couple.

The former boxer, 37, danced alongside her partner Katya Jones during the launch of the BBC One programme’s new series.

The pair took to the stage together for the first time to perform in a group routine.

During Saturday’s programme, Jones said: “I think the beauty of this partnership is it’s never been done before on Strictly so basically we are free to do what we want, there’s no real rules.”

Adams tweeted to say she is “so excited” to have revealed Jones as her partner.

“I couldn’t have been paired with a better partner than a fellow champ in her own right and I can’t wait to see what creative dance routines Katya comes up with,” she said.

While Johannes Radebe and fellow professional Graziano di Prima have previously performed together on the show, this is the first series to see a same-sex couple enter the competition.

Also among this year’s contestants are former home secretary Jacqui Smith, comedian Bill Bailey and actress Caroline Quentin.

Strictly Come Dancing 2020
Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse (BBC/PA)

All of the pairings for the series were revealed during the launch.

The show took place in front of a socially-distanced audience and this year’s contestants are subject to coronavirus rules.

Bailey, 55, teams up with Oti Mabuse, who last year won the competition alongside actor Kelvin Fletcher.

Quentin, 60, said she had hoped to become a dancer when she was younger as it was revealed that she is partnered with Johannes Radebe.

Strictly Come Dancing 2020
(BBC/PA)

She said: “I went to ballet school as a little girl, I loved it and my dream was to become a ballerina.

“In truth I wasn’t quite good enough.

“I was a little bit short and a little bit round and I have always had a kind of longing to see if I could be better at it.”

Former Labour Party politician Smith, 57, is with Anton Du Beke.

She said is “completely out of my comfort zone but I’m going to prove that even when you are in your late 50s you can learn new things and find joy in a new adventure.”

BBC Radio 1 presenter Clara Amfo, 36, is paired with Aljaz Skorjanec and YouTube star HRVY, real name Harvey Leigh Cantwell, 21, is coupled with Janette Manrara.

HRVY discussed his recent positive test for Covid-19 as he was introduced to viewers.

“I did test positive for coronavirus but I isolated with my family and we followed the Government guidelines and I’m here,” he said.

Discussing his partnership, he added that he thinks they will be a “fiery mess”.

Strictly Come Dancing 2020
Clara Amfo and Aljaz Skorjanec (BBC/PA)

Made In Chelsea star Jamie Laing, 31, who was forced to pull out of the last series through injury, will perform alongside Karen Hauer.

He said he was pleased to have been given a second chance to perform on show.

Former NFL star Jason Bell, 42, will dance with Luba Mushtuk while Scottish television presenter JJ Chalmers, 33, will compete alongside Amy Dowden.

EastEnders actress Maisie Smith, 19, will be the partner of Gorka Marquez and The Wanted’s Max George, 32, has been paired with Dianne Buswell.

Television presenter Ranvir Singh, 43, was paired with Giovanni Pernice.

Strictly Come Dancing 2020
(BBC/PA)

Either the professional dancer or the celebrity will also be living on their own for the duration of the series as they form an exclusive support bubble.

Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas returned to the panel however Bruno Tonioli was absent from the launch as he is in the US working on Dancing With The Stars.

The BBC has previously said he will join remotely for the Sunday night results show and is due to return full-time towards the end of the series.

Strictly Come Dancing continues next Saturday on BBC One at 7.25pm.

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