Same-sex partners make history by winning TV dance competition
A same-sex dance couple have made television history by winning a dance competition.
Matt Charlton, 35, and Joni Valadares, 27, won the ‘MADE On The Dancefloor’ competition on the Made in Tyne and Wear channel.
The men, from Westerhope and Gateshead respectively, both entered as single applicants but were paired up for the show.
Five couples competed on the televised competition to win the title, hosted by Peter Darrant and the current Miss Newcastle, Mel Crawford, but it was Valadares and Charlton who came out on top in the end.
Charlton said: “This has been an amazing experience. Every one of the couples who danced in the final truly deserve to share this trophy. I’ve made friends for life and had the most amazing time – we are all winners!”
Dance partner Valadares, added: “To perform on British TV with my brilliant same-sex partner not only promotes diversity at its best but, as a gay man, fills me with pride. I would like to thank Made in Tyne and Wear television for making this happen and for promoting equality. The show has been life changing and I’m over the moon to have won with Matt.”
Made in Tyne and Wear’s Station Manager, Tony Hazell commented: “The competition has been a fantastic success. We had hundreds of people apply from up and down the country wanting to take part and the couples chosen all did a fantastic job.
“It’s not easy learning a brand new style of dance, never mind having it broadcast on television. Despite reluctance from other TV stations, Made in Tyne and Wear was proud to offer the opportunity to all sectors of the community to take part in the new dance competition, and the judges had a very tough job selecting a final winner!”
The current Mr Gay World, Stuart Hatton, was responsible for training the couples up to face the challenge.
The grand final was judged by a panel including Faye Tozer of STEPS as Head Judge, David Ducasse from pop band, Scooch, BBC Newcastle’s Anna Foster and West End star, Mathew Stevens.
Strictly Come Dancing was last month praised for featuring same sex couples during a special Blackpool edition.
It is the first time partners of the same sex have been seen dancing together on Strictly since last year’s series.
Before the current series began, the BBC were forced to refute a claim by a television star who said he was blocked from appearing on the show after he requested a male dance partner.
CJ de Mooi – who has starred in the Eggheads game show – said he was snubbed by the programme after he said he wanted a same-sex dance partner.
Judge Craig Revel Horwood previously confirmed changes will take place in the next two seasons to remove the gender rules – but now doubts that will happen until at least 2016.
However, former Strictly dancer James Jordan caused controversy by saying that having a same sex couple dancing on the show would be “wrong” because “they would lose so many viewers.