The debate over whether a same-sex couple should be able to compete on Strictly Come Dancing has plagued the show for the last few series, but ITV’s Dancing on Ice could be about to get one over its BBC rival – if judge Jason Gardiner has his way.
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While judge Craig Revel-Horwood has previously said the idea could work, we have yet to see a celebrity paired up with a professional of the same sex on Strictly.
However, Jason Gardiner has suggested that ITV would have “no problem” introducing same-sex couples on Dancing on Ice.
“Why not?” he said to RadioTimes.com and other publications at the Dancing on Ice press day. “I’m all for it. If that’s something that people were open to it, I don’t see why not. I’m sure ITV would have no problem with embracing it. It would be great to have a same-sex couple.”
Gardiner, 47, pointed out that skaters of the same sex could initially struggle with some of the skating routines, but that it would be nothing they could not overcome.
“What works with the male-female ratio is that generally speaking, the male is taller than the female, so therefore the female slides up,” he explained. “When you’ve got two men, generally you’ve got similar heights and weights. That’s when it starts getting difficult. It’s very difficult to put somebody your own size above your head.
“You would then have to find a new way of having to present something and that’s a challenge. That would be a challenge for the show to overcome.”
Gardiner also suggested that for a same-sex couple on ice to actually have “validity”, he believed the pair should also be gay.
“It’s not for any other reason other than the fact that they were promoting a sexual preference in their lifestyle,” he said.
Gardiner has starred as a judge on the show since 2006 and has appeared on all subsequent series except for the 2012 edition of the show.
Looking back on the show, the judge reserved particular praise for 2009 contestant Heather Mills, who competed on the series while wearing a prosthetic limb.
“She was amazing,” he explained. “She worked bloody hard. She came up to us and said, ‘Yes, I’ve got one and a half legs but don’t you dare judge me differently to anyone else in this competition.’ We didn’t make that a factor as she didn’t.”
Dancing on Ice launches Sunday 6th January at 6pm on ITV