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Strictly Come Dancing judge doesn’t want a same-sex couple if it’s ‘just to get headlines’

Reiss Smith February 28, 2020
Two men dancing on Strictly

Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe performed Strictly's first ever same-sex dance routine (BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing judge Brunio Tonioli said the long-running show need to be “careful” about casting its first-ever same-sex couple.

Tonioli, who has been a judge on the show since its inception in 2004, warned against introducing same-sex couples as a stunt.

“We would have to be very careful because we wouldn’t want to do it just to get headlines,” he told The Sun.

“It has to be the right person and couple for it to work.”

Despite his trepidation, Tonioli insisted that the search “needs to start” now.

It’s something that is possible, but it shouldn’t be headline chasing.

Strictly has been under renewed pressure to introduce same-sex couples after its ITV rival Dancing On Ice pipped it to the post.

Steps signer Ian ‘H’ Watkins made history by dancing with pro Matt Evers, with the pair skating off the ice in week six.

After their final performance, Watkins told Strictly bosses live on air: “It’s your turn now.”

He also revealed that after his first week on the show, a Strictly staffer texted him saying: “You should have waited for us.”

Dancing On Ice star was told the BBC ‘doesn’t do’ same-sex couples on Strictly.

Watkins told The Sun that he had previously been told that the BBC “doesn’t do” same-sex couples when competing on the gymnastics competition show Tumble in 2014.

At the time, he said, he “wasn’t assertive enough”.

“I wasn’t sure of myself and I wanted to do the job so badly that I just went: ‘OK, I’ll carry on.'”

Despite this apparent reluctance, the BBC made some progress last year by airing a one-off same-sex dance between two male pros.

Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima made TV history when they performed a routine to Emile Sande, but sadly attracted some 300 complaints. None of these were upheld.

More: bruno tonioli, dancing on ice, Strictly Come Dancing

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