Strictly's Len Goodman reveals concerns over the show's first same-sex couple

It's 2020 but some still can't cope

Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell, Len Goodman and Craig Revel Horwood dancing together Strictly Come Dancing 2012
(Image credit: BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing producers made a drastic change and announced that the show would introduce same-sex couples this series. But some people aren't happy about the decision.

Olympic gold medalist, British professional boxer Nicola Adams will form one half of the show's first same-sex couple. She has been coupled with Katya Jones and the pair will take to the floor later this month when the new series airsThe bosses of the show were hopeful that the inclusion of a same-sex couple would give the BBC ratings a lift, but former head judge, Len Goodman aged 76, isn't so sure.

"A lot of older people are traditionalists – they used to go ballroom dancing and most people's nans and grandads met probably in a dance hall," he told The Mail on Sunday.

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But the BBC's decision on same-sex pairings has been in the making for many years, after multiple requests for the popular series to reflect the modern society. In 2018, Dr Ranj Singh's pleaded to dance with a male professional dancer, but his request was declined. Reverend Richard Coles, from the 2017 series, said it made no sense that anyone would resist having dancers of the same gender taking to the floor. And Robert Rinder, who took part in the show 2016, called for change too – saying: "visibility really does matter." So, it is about time they listened.

Len is concerned about the older viewers and what they may think. But said the good thing is "that most older people I don't think vote, so it won't matter much in that way." Len said if it was up to him, two women would not be dancing together because it should be "men and women", he said, "I'm an old fuddy-duddy ballroom dancer... but I suppose it's the way the world goes, things progress and things change."

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But fellow judge, Craig Revel Horwood, pointed out that "the tango was originally danced between two men anyway."

On BBC Breakfast, Nicola said, "It's really important, it's a big step for the show, it's nice to see that we're able to move on, and I just can't wait to get some dancing done."

Rachel is a freelance contributor to woman&home, covering news as well as books, lifestyle and travel. Her byline has also appeared in The Independent, The Financial Times, ELLE Magazine, VICE, Glamour Magazine and others. She loves nothing more than talking with people to share their stories. When she is not writing you will definitely find her nose in a book or magazine, or perhaps training for the next half marathon, practicing yoga or eating in London's best restaurants.