Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton du Beke has said he would be “very happy” to be paired with a male dance partner.
The BBC is reportedly considering introducing same-sex couples next year, while rival show Dancing On Ice will make the move in its forthcoming series.
Asked if he would be happy to be paired with a man, du Beke told the Mirror: “It’s just dancing, isn’t it? Fred Astaire danced with Gene Kelly. I’d have been very happy to dance with Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire, I don’t mind.”
The 53-year-old recalled dancing with his fellow professional Vincent Simone, who left Strictly in 2012, adding: “This isn’t going to be new for me – I’ve already done it.”
du Beke, who has been on Strictly since the show began in 2004, spoke after the BBC received 189 complaints following a dance routine involving Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe on the November 3 show.
“Strictly is a bit of a mirror on society, actually. And it should be,” du Beke, who is paired with EastEnders star Emma Barton, said.
“Stuff like Johannes dancing with Graziano – it’s not such a big deal. As a dancer it isn’t even a thing. It’s quite normal because it’s dance and that’s what dance is. It’s creative.”
It's hard to believe after such progress in society and many other topics going on that over 200 people felt so upset they complained when 2 men danced with each other... I just don't know what to say... Very sad. #bbcstrictly— Bruno Tonioli (@BrunoTonioli) November 21, 2019
Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli labelled the complaints about Strictly’s first same-sex dance routine “very sad”.
He tweeted: “It’s hard to believe after such progress in society and many other topics going on that (around) 200 people felt so upset they complained when two men danced with each other.”