Charles Venn on Strictly and racial prejudice: ‘I want to believe there’s no way voters are narrow-minded enough to think that way’

The Casualty actor says he was “absolutely devastated” to be in the dance-off two weeks in a row – but positive thinking is getting him through

Charles Venn, Karen Clifton, Strictly (BBC, EH)

Charles Venn has had his say on race and Strictly Come Dancing, rejecting the notion that racial prejudice affects the progress of black and minority ethnic contestants on the show.

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The Casualty star, who is partnered up with Strictly pro dancer Karen Clifton, told RadioTimes.com he was “crestfallen” to find himself in the dance-off two weeks running but the fact that he’s still in the competition “dispels that theory” that people of colour get voted off sooner than white contestants.

A 2016 tweet from Danny John-Jules, who is also a contestant on the current series, recently re-emerged in which the Red Dwarf actor suggested that Strictly has a problem with racial bias, saying “they always get rid of the black guy first”.

On whether there is an element of racial prejudice on this year’s Strictly, Venn said: “Well, we’re still in the competition! I guess that kind of dispels that theory, I’d like to think to a degree. Yes, the voters are choosing not to vote for myself and Karen but I think negative thoughts are going to be counter-productive if I start to think like that, myself or Karen.

“I want to believe in my heart that there’s no way the voters are narrow-minded or myopic enough to think in that manner. It’s just down to personality and content of character, we just hope that at some point we do chime with the voters and they do realise that, yeah, I’m a nice guy. I don’t mean anybody harm or malice, all I want to do is entertain and have fun while I’m doing it.”

On why he thinks he was in the dance-off twice in a row, Venn said: “Not enough people voted, that’s the reality of it. Of course we were gutted, absolutely devastated and it was a crestfallen moment to be in the bottom two twice, back to back.

“You can’t force people to vote for you. All we can do is convince them that we are worthy of staying in the show. We have so much more to give to this show, so many other routines and dances, and guaranteed one thing we do consistently do is provide entertainment. No matter what.”

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Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday 20th October at 6.45pm on BBC1