Words: Alastair James; pictures: YouTube
Strictly Come Dancing is getting ready for its first male same-sex couple, according to reports.
It would be a welcome step for the show which has historically dragged its feet on the subject, only allowing its first same-sex couple – two-time Olympic gold medal-winning boxer Nicola Adams OBE and Strictly pro Katya Jones – last year. The pair impressed despite an unfortunately early exit.
Reports indicate that Strictly bosses are happy with the coupling, and we are VERY interested in who it's going to be!
“The bosses are thrilled”
The Sun reported on Saturday (31 July) that the first male same-sex couple had been decided, and that comedian Alan Carr and now Olympic gold medallist, Tom Daley, had been approached.
We don’t know who the celeb is just yet, but The Sun also reports that whoever it is will be paired with Italian pro Graziano Di Prima, 26, who joined the series in 2018. Partnered with DJ Vick Hope in his debut he left the show in week five. Graziano is currently engaged to fellow dancer Giada Lini.
A source has told the Sun that “The bosses are thrilled that Strictly will be able to show its first all-male couple this year. And they have their sights firmly on Graziano. There is no reason why a gay celebrity should automatically be paired with a gay dancer.”
Graziano’s dance with fellow male dancer Johannes Radebe, who is gay, in 2019 is thought to have impressed Strictly bosses.
The dance attracted more than 200 complaints from viewers, who Graziano put on blast when speaking to Attitude in 2020. Di Prima said: “When we were performing, it was beautiful … we were just in our own space.” Johannes said in an interview he’d never felt so “liberated”.
The paper also reports that the BBC has declined to comment.
"Keep it coming"
Strictly has followed the lead of ITV's Dancing On Ice when it came to same-sex couples, with Steps’ Ian ‘H’ Watkins and Matt Evers competing together on the show last year. Following his exit from the show, Watkins called on Strictly to follow suit.
Strictly has already had to deal with a fair amount of controversy around the subject: Former head judge Len Goodman has previously said he disagrees with same-sex pairings saying, “A lot of older people are traditionalists”. Meanwhile, former contestant and Tory MP Ann Widdecombe has also said viewers and "especially families" aren’t interested in seeing same-sex couples.
Boxer Nicola Adams made history as part of the show's first same-sex couple, was able to wave off criticism of her involvement, telling Attitude, “I’ve been to hell and back - so keep it coming.”
The Beeb has also had to defend itself with accusations of “blatant projection of homosexuality”, not being upheld.
The Attitude Body Issue is out now.