Exclusive: Len Goodman says BBC should create Strictly “off shoot” for same-sex couples

The former Strictly Come Dancing judge is not a fan of same-sex couples on the main BBC ballroom show

Len Goodman

Len Goodman has suggested the BBC launches a Strictly Come Dancing spin-off show featuring only same-sex couples to test the water ahead of any shake-up to the main series.

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The ballroom competition has come under scrutiny in recent years for only allowing mixed partnerships, with judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and new addition Motsi Mabuse among those backing change.

Goodman, who was head judge for 12 years and was recently voted the best ever Strictly judge, said he is “happy if it doesn’t happen,” but suggested same-sex couples should feature in an “off shoot”.

“The poor old BBC, whatever they do is wrong,” he told RadioTimes.com. “If they do it there will be an outcry from lots of people and if they don’t do it there will be another swathe of people. It’s awkward.

“Maybe [Strictly] should try it as an off shoot. A mini-series with same sex couples and see how it goes down. If it seems to work and everyone is happy then bring it into the show.”

Len Goodman and the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel
Len Goodman and the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel (BBC)

He continued: “I’m of a certain age now and I’m a traditionalist when it comes to ballroom dancing so I’m really happy if it doesn’t happen, but I do understand that times move on, and if there is a huge swathe of people who think it’s a good idea…”

The BBC recently said they are “completely open to the prospect of including same-sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers in the future, should the opportunity arise”.

In a show first, AJ Pritchard and Gorka Marquez performed together as part of a group dance on the 2018 series.

Strictly sister shows have incorporated same-sex pairings into the competition with Shane Janek, who performed as his drag alter ego Courtney Act, reaching the final on Australia’s version, while two women (singer Regina Luca and professional Kerstin Ott) danced together on Germany’s Let’s Dance earlier this year.

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Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One, Saturday at 7pm