The upcoming series of Dancing on Ice sees a whole load of changes for 2020 – but one of the most important differences for series 12 is the inclusion of a same-sex pairing. for the first time.
Ian ‘H from Steps’ Watkins will be partnered with long-standing Dancing on Ice professional Matt Evers – a change Evers has wanted for “years”.
And no-one can be happier about the introduction of a same-sex couple than new judge John Barrowman.
“First off, congratulations to Dancing on Ice and a huge round of applause to ITV for being the ones to take this step, as everyone is now trying to catch up,” he told RadioTimes.com.
“This is the first time ever that I, as an openly out and proud gay man, who’s a part of the LGBTQ+ community, can be part of a programme and watch this programme and see a couple that actually looks like and represents my husband and I.”
He continued: “I think it’s representative of our time in our society at the moment. Times are changing, we need to see everyone represented on the ice and I’m proud to be part of the show because of that and I’m glad we’ve done it, and that we’ve beaten other people to the post.”
Fellow judges Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean agreed with Barrowman, adding that Watkins and Evers have a “responsibility” with their pairing.
Strictly has previously flirted with same-sex dances, with Graziano di Prima and Johannes Radebe becoming the first professional dancers to do a solo same-sex dance on the show.
The BBC are now reportedly open to considering a same-sex pairing in 2020.
“Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and we are proud to have featured same-sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series,” a BBC spokesperson said.
“We are completely open to the prospect of including same-sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers in the future, should the opportunity arise.”
Dancing on Ice launches Sunday 5th January 2020 on ITV