Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel-Horwood has backed calls for the show to include same-sex dance couples.

The choreographer and theatre director, who has appeared on every series of the BBC One dance competition since its inception in 2004, said there is “no reason” why same-sex dance pairings shouldn’t be included.

He told ITV’s Lorraine on Monday (September 11): “I think a same-sex couple can exist. You only have to decide who’s going to go backwards.

“In the world of competitions, there are same sex couples that do it as well so there is no reason that can’t happen. The Beeb just have to decide if it’s something they want to do.”

The TV star added: “I think it’ll probably happen next year.”

Revel-Horwood, who was back in his Strictly judge’s chair for the launch of the show’s 15th season on Saturday night, also explained that there was already precedent for same-sex pairings in the world of professional dancing.

“The tango was originally danced between two men anyway,” he said. “The Argentine Tango between two men is powerful and explosive. And the same can happen between two women.”

The judge’s comments come as the annual debate about the place of same-sex pairings on Strictly rolls around once again.

Contestant Susan Calman has already been forced to defend herself from criticism of her decision to dance with a man on this year’s series.

Responding to critics, the comedian said she believed there was “nothing more powerful” than having a gay woman feature on a prime-time TV show.

Meanwhile the BBC say they have “no plans” to introduce same-sex dance couples on the show, saying it would be sticking with the “traditional” format.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday, September 23 at 7pm on BBC One.