Dancing on Ice judge John Barrowman tells Strictly Come Dancing to ‘get with the times’ over same-sex pairings

Patrick Kelleher January 2, 2020
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John Barrowman

John Barrowman (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty)

Dancing on Ice judge John Barrowman has hit out at Strictly Come Dancing for refusing to introduce same-sex pairings.

Barrowman told OK! Online that he was proud to serve as a judge on the new season of Dancing on Ice, which will feature a same-sex pairing for the first time in its history. Ian H Watkins and Matt Evers will dance together on the show.

“It’s about time and we should have two women skating together, two men skating together and men and women skating together,” Barrowman said.

“It should be reflective of how we live our lives,” he added.

John Barrowman didn’t mention Strictly Come Dancing by name – but said: ‘You know who I’m talking about.’

“I implore and say to all the other competitive shows on TV that have couples involved – you know who I’m talking about – get with the times, get with the programme, don’t worry about people being upset about these things.”

He said that producers behind dance shows need to have more courage to introduce same-sex pairings – and said they should stop worrying about how anti-gay viewers will react.

“If they don’t like it you should have the big enough cajones to change the channel and don’t watch. If you don’t like it switch off. Everyone should be representing who the people are.”

It’s about time and we should have two women skating together, two men skating together and men and women skating together.

Strictly Come Dancing has come under fire repeatedly for its refusal to introduce a same-sex dance pairing. Late last year, the show broke new ground when it featured a same-sex dance routine for the first time. The dance was not part of the competition.

The beautiful and moving dance routine – which was performed to Emeli Sande’s ‘Shine’ – brought the judges to tears. Despite this, it went on to spark almost 200 complaints.

Television dance contests have increasingly come under pressure to introduce same-sex pairings.

According to data released by the BBC, the “main issue” in the 189 complaints received was listed as “offensive to feature two men dancing as a pair”.

To put this in context, and further underscore the fact that some people have too much time, during the same two-week period the BBC received 135 complaints in response to Countryfile Autumn Diaries because viewers felt there was a “bias against motorbikes in the Lake District”.

In a statement released at the time, the BBC said: “Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have been able to facilitate the dance between Johannes and Graziano during the Professionals’ dance. They are dancers first and foremost, and their sex had no bearing on their routine.”

There will now be substantial pressure on Strictly producers to introduce a same-sex pairing for the show’s next outing after Dancing on Ice beat them to the punch.

Related topics: dancing on ice, john barrowman, same-sex dance, Strictly Come Dancing

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