Craig Revel Horwood responds to criticism over Strictly’s drag routine

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has said critics of the show's drag performance should "turn the TV off".

On Saturday, three of the BBC One show's male professional dancers wore wigs and high heels while performing a medley of songs from the musical Priscilla Queen Of The Desert.

The routine, which also saw the trio brandish rainbow fans, prompted both praise and criticism from viewers on social media.

The BBC said it would not comment on the number of complaints received.

Responding to the critics, Revel Horwood, 55, said drag was part of "real life" and urged those who took issue with it to "open your eyes".

He told the PA news agency: "I think they are ridiculous. If you can't grow with society then turn it off. It's crazy.

"You are always going to come into problems with someone complaining about something. But there was nothing.

"If people knew what Priscilla Queen Of The Desert actually was, like the musical and they saw that, then they would know that the boys were acting as these characters in the play.

"That's the whole point of having musicals week and movies week, so you get to play these wonderful and vibrant characters.

"I'm sorry but this is a part of real life and if you are not going to open your eyes up to it then turn the TV off."

The dance was led by South African pro Johannes Radebe, who last year made history on the show by dancing with fellow professional Graziano di Prima.

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli arrive onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Craig Revel Horwood during the opening night of the Strictly Come Dancing Arena Tour 2020 at Arena Birmingham on January 16, 2020 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Judges Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood arrive at Blackpool Tower Ballroom ahead of Strictly Come Dancing's Saturday evening show.
Craig Revel Horwood and his fiance Jonathan Myring. (PA)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 22: Craig Revel Horwood attends opening night of "Billy Elliot: The Musical" on February 22, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Sam Tabone/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: (L-R) Jonathan Myring, Craig Revel Horwood and Beverley June Horwood attend the opening night of MAMMA MIA! The Party at The O2 on September 19, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Mamma Mia)
Craig Revel-Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli arriving at the red carpet launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2018, BBC Broadcasting House, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell and Len Goodman at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. Picture date: Tuesday August 30, 2016. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli during the opening night of the Strictly Come Dancing Arena Tour 2020 at Arena Birmingham on January 16, 2020 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Craig Revel Horwood (left) experiences The Walking Dead: The Ride, at THORPE PARK Resort in Surrey.
Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli attend the "Strictly Come Dancing" launch show red carpet at Television Centre on August 26, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Craig Revel Horwood arrives at the official launch of The Walking Dead: The Ride, at THORPE PARK Resort in Surrey.
Craig Revel Horwood has revealed he will quit the show if he's asked to tone down his comments (Photo: BBC)
Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood The Strictly Come Dancing 2020 judges (BBC)
The Duchess of Cornwall, President of the National Osteoporosis Society, accompanied by 'Strictly Come Dancing' judge Craig Revel Horwood talks to guests as she hosts a tea dance at Buckingham Palace in London attended by 'Strictly Come Dancing' dancers and judges to highlight the benefits for older people of staying active.
Left to right, Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2017 at Broadcasting House in London.
Craig Revel Horwood says 'Strictly' bosses have contingency plans in place. (ITV)
Craig Revel Horwood revealed a big 'Strictly Come Dancing' twist during an interview on 'This Morning'. (Credit: ITV)
Craig Revel Horwood at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. Picture date: Tuesday August 30, 2016. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Craig Revel Horwood and Helen George in the press room at the House of Fraser BAFTA TV Awards 2016, at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, London.
File photo dated 27/08/18 of Bruno Tonioli (left) Shirley Ballas, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel-Horwood at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2018. Dame Darcey Bussell who has stepped down as a judge from Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC has said.
Shirley Ballas (left) and Craig Revel-Horwood at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2018 held at The Broadcasting House, London.
Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood arriving at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2015 in Hertfordshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday 1st September, 2015. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
Tess Daly, Craig Revel Horwood and Abbey Clancy backstage at the National Television Awards 2014, O2 Arena, Greenwich, London.
Craig Revel Horwood arrives at the premiere of Nativity Rocks! at the Odeon Skydome in Coventry.
File photo dated 11/09/12 of Bruno Tonioli (left) and Craig Revel Horwood. Tonioli has hit back at Revel Horwood after his fellow Strictly judge labelled him an "attention seeker".
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Revel Horwood also referred to the complaints Strictly received after Olympic boxer Nicola Adams made her debut this year alongside Katya Jones in the show's first same-sex series pairing.

He said: "People need to open their eyes and accept that this is all-inclusive society and that is what we should be working towards.

"That's what we should be opening our minds up to, not going against it and complaining about people having a great time and dancing in character. That's just crazy."

Alongside lead judge Shirley Ballas, Revel Horwood has launched the latest Strictly DVD, Shirley & Craig's Perfect 10, which counts down the best routines in the show's history.

Famous for his tough scoring, Revel Horwood said a perfect performance needed to also have an "it factor".

He said: "It is a bit weird handing out 10s to people because no-one is ever perfect.

"For me a perfect 10 is when everything comes together – the lighting, the costumes, the number itself, the music, the way they have attacked it, the storytelling.

"A perfect 10 for me is when I put my pen down and stop looking for fault and just get carried away with the performance.

"There's the 'it factor' out there that makes it worthy of a 10.

"It's great being able to do that with Shirley and looking back and say, 'Oh do you think that was worth 10?'

"It's us two having a few a arguments over what we think is good or bad."

Strictly Come Dancing – Shirley & Craig's Perfect 10 DVD is out now.

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