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Film and TV

BBC bosses are searching for a Drag Race queen to compete in next year’s Strictly Come Dancing

Emma Powys Maurice December 1, 2019

Baga Chipz, Divina De Campo and The Vivienne are said to be favourites for the 'Strictly' spot (BBC)

BBC bosses are in talks about introducing a drag queen in next year’s season of Strictly Come Dancing to help audiences accept more LGBT+ diversity on the show.

Producers are said to be keen to hire a queen from RuPaul’s Drag Race, with the three finalists Baga Chipz, The Vivienne and Divina De Campo expected to be among the top picks.

The popular ballroom dancing show has hardly changed its format since it began 15 years ago, but producers previously said they would be “completely open” to having same-sex competitive dance pairings in future.

A Strictly source speaking to The Times said that “executives think a drag queen would be the best way to introduce change slowly to the programme’s loyal audience, many of whom have watched it since it began in 2004.”

Dancing With The Stars Australia took the same approach by including drag queen Courtney Act as a contestant this year. She was wildly popular and her inclusion on the show was said to have had “a massive impact” on Australian audiences.

But it’s clear the move won’t be welcomed by everyone, as a same-sex dance routine performed by two male, professional dancers on Strictly attracted nearly 200 complaints last month.

Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe performed Strictly’s first ever same-sex dance routine (Twitter/@@MOVEITSHOW)

Former head judge Len Goodman wasn’t thrilled about the proposed changes. Describing himself as an “old traditionalist”, he told The Times he was wary.

“I like [the show] as it was, but everything moves on. If they do it there’ll be people saying, ‘I’m not going to watch it any more,'” he warned.

Strictly already has established links to drag royalty after Drag Race judge Michelle Visage performed on the most recent series. Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood recently returned the favour by appearing on the reunion show RuPaul’s Drag Race UK: It’s a Wrap.

Horwood, who has judged Strictly since it began in 2004, fully supports the idea of having a drag queen as a competitor. Baga Chipz is said to be the favourite for the role and has the judge’s backing.

This year’s series of Strictly has been averaging 7.7m viewers a week watching the professional dancers and their celebrity partners. The final will be on December 14.

More: Baga Chipz, BBC, Craig Revel Horwood, Divina de Campo, Drag Race UK, Len goodman, Michelle Visage, RuPaul's Drag Race, Strictly Come Dancing, the vivienne

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