Craig Revel Horwood says Strictly was "too late" on same-sex pairings

craig revel horwood, strictly come dancing 2023 judges
Strictly was "too late" on same-sex pairingsBBC

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has said the BBC One show was "too late" on same-sex pairings.

Nicola Adams and pro Katya Jones were the show's first same-sex couple in 2020, and last year Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin finished as runners-up to the Glitterball trophy.

Speaking to Radio Times, Craig said: "I think we did it one year too late. I wish we’d been braver sooner, but we’re there now.

craig revel horwood, strictly come dancing 2023 judges

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"Viewers are more open-minded than we give them credit for. Some people will kick up a stink initially, then suddenly they’re fine with it, and that’s how we change the world – from the persecution of gay men to two men dancing on national television."

Speaking about the decision to have same-sex pairings, Charlotte Moore, chief content officer of the BBC, added: "We were very clear that Strictly was about the ballroom dancing world, which we were trying to hold true to, but I think there was a moment where we thought, 'Why would we not do this?'

"It made total sense and has become the norm. I don’t think there was resistance so much as, 'When’s the right timing?'

"Our audience is very sophisticated and savvy. They get to know the contestants; they learn with them; they become inspired by them.

"That’s how we break through those boundaries of any kind of bias anyone has. It’s about educating and informing, but never in a heavy way. I always say that when Strictly’s on, everything is good in the world."

patrick kielty, craig revel horwood, late late show

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Craig has also recently opened up about his concerns when he was first pitched Strictly.

"They explained that celebrities would be learning to dance in three weeks, and I said, 'That's impossible, that sounds like car-crash television'," he said.

"By the end of that series it was nail-bitingly exciting," he added, noting that the show "won the hearts and minds of a nation".

Strictly Come Dancing will return later this year on BBC One, while spin-off Strictly: It Takes Two airs on weeknights on BBC Two. Both shows are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

Tickets for Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals live tour are available now.

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