Strictly’s Motsi Mabuse welcomes same-sex dance couples: “You need to keep developing”

Although saying she "respects tradition", the new Strictly Come Dancing judge tells Radio Times the change would “pay off” in the ratings

Motsi Mabuse (BBC)

Although Strictly Come Dancing is set to welcome an entirely fresh batch of celebrities and a new judging line-up, there’s still one change many fans are waiting for: same-sex dancing couples.

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And it’s a shake-up that all viewers should welcome, according to incoming judge (and sister to dancing professional Oti Mabuse) Motsi Mabuse.

Speaking to presenter and former Strictly contestant Naga Munchetty in this week’s Radio Times magazine (on sale Tuesday 3rd September), the panellist said such a move would “pay off”.

“Strictly is probably aware of the changes that are happening socially,” she told Munchetty when asked about calls to break ballroom dancing traditions and introduce same-sex couples on the BBC1 competition.

Referring to her time as a judge on Let’s Dance, the German version of Strictly, Mabuse added: “In Germany, we’ve completely gone that way. We’ve had two ladies dance together [singer Lukas Rieger and professional dancer Katja Kalugina, who were paired together in 2019].

“The ratings proved the point that sometimes, if you risk something, it pays off. It might go wrong – but at least you tried. The worst thing you can do is stay on the same spot. I respect traditions but you need to keep developing.”

Strictly Come Dancing (Getty)
Strictly Come Dancing judges (Getty)

Mabuse also revealed to Munchetty that she had not asked if she would be receiving the same pay as the other judges, claiming: “I don’t care, because, for me, it’s just such an honour being here. It doesn’t concern me right now. I’m just concentrating on doing a good job.”

Mabuse is set to make her first Strictly appearance on Saturday’s launch show (7.10pm, BBC1), which will also see hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman reveal who this year’s 15 stars’ professional dance partners will be.

Can we expect any same-sex pairings? Perhaps not this year. But watch this space…

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You can read Motsi Mabuse’s full interview with Naga Munchetty in this week’s Radio Times – on sale Tuesday 3rd September