Anton Du Beke would welcome a same-sex partner for Strictly 2020 – “Some of my best dances have been with men”

The Strictly Come Dancing finalist is as happy to dance with men as he is with women

Anton Du Beke Strictly 2019 (BBC)

After 13 gruelling weeks of dance training, Strictly Come Dancing will be drawing to a close for 2019 – and it’s been a monumental year for the show.

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For the first time, we saw Strictly pros Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima dance a same-sex routine, which was, on the whole, well-received.

With its ITV rival, Dancing on Ice, including its first same-sex couple in their line-up for 2020, the pressure is mounting for Strictly to follow suit for its 18th series.

And the change would be welcomed by Strictly’s longest-running professional dancer Anton Du Beke, who is partnered with Emma Barton for the final.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other journalists at the Strictly Come Dancing finale press conference, he explained: “In regards to what we would be asking for a same sex partner, well that’s not for us to decide.

“Regarding whether we have any comfort with the same sex thing, to us as professionals, it doesn’t mean anything. This is not a thing for us, because we just dance.

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 - TX3 LIVE SHOW
BBC/Guy Levy

“Some of my best dances have been with men. I once danced with a guy called Gary Agers from the Royal Ballet, he’s a beauty. We did a number in a show and my wife was in the audience. She still says to this day that it was one of the best numbers that I’ve ever done.”

He continued: “It’s essentially how you choreograph it. If we dance with a fella, we dance with a fella. If we dance with a dame, we dance with a dame. It’s not a thing.”

There have been increasing calls for more same-sex dances in Strictly, with former judge Arlene Phillips saying the show should “make a statement” in including same-sex couples.

“I don’t think people would think about [same-sex couples],” she said. “I think it will be something that is just accepted, and the public will accept it.”

Same-sex couples have featured in some of the international versions of Strictly, with drag star Courtney Act reaching the final of Australia’s Dancing with the Stars.

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Strictly Come Dancing concludes Saturday at 7.05pm on BBC One