Strictly’s first same-sex pairing celebrated as ‘momentous change’

Former Strictly Come Dancing champion Stacey Dooley was among those cheering the news that the show will feature its first same-sex pairing.

On Wednesday, Olympic gold medal-winning boxer Nicola Adams was named as the sixth contestant on the BBC One series this year.

Adams, who has been praised as an LGBT role model, will dance with a female partner in a first for the long-running show.

Johannes Radebe and fellow professional Graziano di Prima made history when they performed together in a one-off dance on the BBC show last year.

Documentary maker Dooley, who lifted the Glitterball in 2018 alongside now-boyfriend Kevin Clifton, said the move was “long overdue”.

She said on Twitter: “Strictly are doing a same sex couple and YES THIS IS LONG OVERDUE!”

The Women In Sport charity said in a tweet: “Fantastic to see boxing legend Nicola Adams challenging the status quo as part of the first same-sex pairing on Strictly Come Dancing!”

The British LGBT Awards tweeted: “To have Nicola Adams in the first same-sex pairing on #Strictly is a momentous change for the better!

“We’ll be celebrating like it’s Eurovision ’97 no matter what happens!”

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, a long-standing Strictly fan, praised the BBC for “breaking new ground” during an interview with Sky News journalist Kay Burley.

Ms Coffey said: “I think it’s a new adventure to the BBC. They’re used to breaking new ground on the dancefloor.

“It will be interesting to see who leads and who doesn’t.”

However, Burley challenged the Conservative MP over her decision to vote against the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2013.

Ms Coffey replied: “I took the view at the time, and I still hold to that, I have a strong faith background about what is a legal partnership and what is marriage, but that is not a question for today.

“I am a great believer in live and let live, and it’ll be interesting to see.”

Ms Coffey refused to say whether she would vote for Adams but said: “I’ve got the feeling Nicola Adams may well take the lead.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2019
Strictly Come Dancing 2019

Speaking on Heart Breakfast with Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden, RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage, who competed in Strictly last year, suggested she wanted to return.

She said: “I dance one or up to two times a week, with a mask on, so it’s not quite the same, but I do it and I love it and I’m getting better and better.

“I had to have surgery after I left the show, so since I’ve had the surgery and recovered, I feel like a new person, which is why I keep going, ‘Hey execs, I feel like I should come back because I didn’t have the real experience because my knee was hurt.’”