Belfast Telegraph

Judge Rinder weighs in on same-sex Strictly Come Dancing debate

His comments come after show judge Craig Revel Horwood predicted same-sex couples could happen next year.

Judge Rinder has dismissed calls for Strictly Come Dancing to feature same-sex couples.

Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood, 52, has said the BBC should make the move on the hit show and predicted it will happen next year.

But former contestant Judge Rinder, 39, branded questions about why he did not dance with a man on last year’s series “absurd”.

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Craig Revel Horwood (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“My sexuality, in terms of Strictly or whatever else I do in my life, ought to be as irrelevant as the length of my big toe,” he told Radio Times magazine.

The TV star, who partnered with Oksana Platero in the 2016 series, said ballroom dancing is a professional sport.

“Nobody would dream of asking gay players in the mixed doubles to be partnered with someone of the same sex,” he said.

The BBC has said there are “no plans” to introduce same-sex couples.

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But comedian Susan Calman, who is a lesbian, had been criticised on social media for not having a female professional partner.

And this year’s fellow contestant Rev Richard Coles has argued it made “no sense” that anyone would resist having dancers of the same gender taking to the floor together.

But Judge Rinder, real name Robert Rinder, said the show was “pure escapism” and did not need “politicising”, adding: “I don’t walk around on a daily basis wearing glitter, with my chest out, doing jazz hands!”

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Reverend Richard Coles (Matt Crossick/PA)

He told the magazine: “Would it be a big step forward for the LGBTQI community if there were same-sex couples on Strictly? Do me a favour! It would not improve the life of anybody to see a Scottish comedian doing jazz hands with another almost-certainly-not-gay woman on TV.

“There are plenty of organisations making a real difference to the lives of gay people around the country that do need our help, so why undermine the wonder of Strictly by politicising it?”

He said he would happily offer to dance with a man on the Strictly Christmas special to “satiate” Twitter trolls, but added: “I’m not inviting them (viewers) into my bedroom, I am inviting them to watch me dance.”

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