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Was Strictly ‘same-sex ban’ really due to discrimination?

Joe Williams September 6, 2015

The BBC’s supposed response to claims it blocked same-sex dance pairings on Strictly Come Dancing have a caused a Twitter storm.

CJ de Mooi – who stars in the Eggheads game show – yesterday claimed that he was snubbed by the programme after he said he wanted a same-sex dance partner.

He told The Daily Mirror that Strictly producers had then opted for Eggheads host and BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine to replace him.

The Mirror went on to claim a BBC Spokesperson had said: “Strictly Come Dancing is a family show and we’ve chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples.”

However, a BBC spokesperson told PinkNews that de Mooi’s agent had approached Strictly, but that he had never been under consideration.

They also said they had always hoped to bag Vine – who has a significantly higher profile than his Eggheads co-star – for the show.

“We didn’t ever approach nor did we have any plans to approach CJ to participate in this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing.

“CJ’s agent gave us the opportunity to consider him but there was only one person we ever wanted from Eggheads and that was Jeremy Vine and we are delighted that we got our man.”

“To avoid any misinterpretation, the reference to ‘family show’ – meaning all kinds of families – was only ever intended to describe the kind of show Strictly is. It was not to explain casting decisions.

“Strictly Come Dancing has chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples. At the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples in the competition.”

Although the BBC may have indeed made the original comments to The Mirror, claiming that they did not want to expose families to “non-traditional” couples does sound a little unlike a corporation who have a history of championing equality.

Flagship family shows like Dr Who and Eastenders, and new productions such as Boy Meets Girl all feature positive LGBT characters and role models.

Despite this, the issue of same-sex partners continues to haunt the dance competition, with Peter Andre adding fuel to the fire during last night’s launch show.

The pop star was asked by co-host Tess Daly, who he wanted to dance with, to which he replied: “Umm, Anton [du Beke]?”

Peter was laughed at by both the audience and Daly – who has also backed same-sex couples appearing on the show – before she told him: “That’s not gonna happen I’m afraid!”

Former Strictly dancer – and professional mouthpiece James Jordan recently caused controversy by saying that having a same sex couple dancing on the show would be “wrong” because “they would lose so many viewers.”

He went on: “I have nothing against same-sex couples, if they want to go and do their own competitions.

“But ballroom and Latin dancing is about a man dancing with a woman – that’s fact.”

Although when his wife, current Strictly dancer Ola Jordan was asked if she agreed with him, she said flatly “no”.

More: BBC, Boy Meets Girl, CJ de Mooi, dr who, EastEnders, James Jordan, Jeremy Vine, Ola Jordan, Strictly Come Dancing

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