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'Strictly Come Dancing' Star Len Goodman Says Same Sex Pairings Could Turn Older Viewers Off

Joanna Freedman

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'Strictly Come Dancing' Star Len Goodman Says Same Sex Pairings Could Turn Older Viewers Off

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Strictly Come Dancing OG Len Goodman has said he would rather the show remain "traditional" following the announcement it would be welcoming a same sex pairing this year.

The BBC One show is making history this season by introducing it's first same sex pairing for Olympic boxer Nicola Adams.

But Len - who left the famous judging panel in 2016 - said that he worries older viewers may 'not be sure' what they're watching.

"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.

"The older viewers have their certain traditional ways about it all so might not be sure.

Len said he thought the show should be kept 'traditional' (Credit: PA)
Len said he thought the show should be kept 'traditional' (Credit: PA)

"But look - I suppose the good thing is that most older people I don't think vote, so it won't matter much in that way."

On the female-female pairing, the BBC said: "Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have featured same sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series.

"We have stated, in the past, that we are open to the prospect of including same sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers, should the opportunity arise.

"Nicola Adams requested an all-female pairing, which we are happy to facilitate. The show is first and foremost about dance, the sex of each partner within a coupling should have no bearing on their routine."

Nicola Adams will be dancing with a female partner (Credit: BBC)
Nicola Adams will be dancing with a female partner (Credit: BBC)

Previously, the show has featured two male professional dancers performing a routine together, and a big group same-sex dancing number, but stopped short of featuring a celebrity pairing of two men or two women.

The news of Nicola's female dance partner comes as pop star Ian Watkins - H from Steps - was paired with Matt Evers on ITV's Dancing On Ice, placing mounting pressure on the BBC to get with the times and follow suit.

While Len may have his reservations, judge Craig Revel Horwood has long been pushing the BBC to be "brave" and introduce the same-sex pairings, saying that it would be a huge step in allowing LGBTQ+ people to feel represented.

Ahead of Nicola's female partnering, he said: "I think more and more people want it, the more it will happen. I have no argument against it.

"I think it would be rather fun. Maybe the BBC will be brave enough one day to do it".

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On joining the show, Nicola said: "I'm really excited to be joining this year's incredible line-up for Strictly Come Dancing.

"I'm a huge fan of the show and am thrilled to be part of something that holds such a special place in so many people's hearts. People might know me from work in the ring, but I'll be every bit as passionate and dedicated on the dance-floor too.

"I also wanted to thank the BBC for supporting me and making me the first ever all female-pairing; and it's amazing to be a part of the movement for change, diversity and breaking boundaries in the entertainment industry."

This year's series of Strictly won't go on for as long as the usual season, thanks to coronavirus precautions.

Bruno Tonioli will also be missing from the judging panel for the Saturday night shows as he is splitting his time between the UK competition and America's Dancing With The Stars, and won't be able to travel back from LA due to current restrictions.

We're so please to see Nicola join the line-up, and can't wait to see who she's paired with!

Topics: BBC, Strictly Come Dancing

Joanna Freedman
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