Graham Norton questions need for same-sex couples on 'Strictly Come Dancing'

Host Graham Norton poses for photographers upon arrival at the Bafta Film Awards, in central London, Sunday, Feb. 2 2020. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Graham Norton has said having same-sex couples on Strictly will make judging difficult. (AP)

Graham Norton has questioned the decision to have same-sex couples on Strictly Come Dancing, saying it will make judging difficult.

There has long been a campaign for the BBC dance show to feature a same-sex couple in the competition, following the lead of ITV’s Dancing On Ice earlier this year.

But Norton, 57, told Best magazine: “As you have people who can be openly gay on that show, I don’t ­particularly need to see a man dancing with a man.

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“I understand the reason the Strictly bosses might do it is coming from a good place, but it does kind of muddy the waters for the judges. If you’ve got two partners who can do lifts and men’s bodies are different shapes, how would that work?

Nicola Adams will dance in Strictly's first ever same-sex pairing. (BBC)
Nicola Adams will dance in Strictly's first ever female same-sex pairing. (BBC)

“I don’t think it’s a homophobic thing. You want to be able to compare like with like.”

The BBC chatshow host’s comments came as it was announced that Olympic boxer Nicola Adams will this year be part of Strictly’s first ever all-female same-sex couple.

Last year’s series saw professional dancers Johannes Radebe and Graziano di Palma become the first men to dance together on the show. Their performance sparked 200 complaints to broadcasting regulator Ofcom.

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Graziano said afterwards: “Millions send us videos saying thank you.”

Around 8 million people tuned in to watch the dance show each week.

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Italy, Germany and Ireland have already featured same-sex couples in their versions of the dance show.

And earlier this year ITV’s Dancing On Ice partnered Steps singer Ian “H” Watkins with professional skater Matt Evers.

Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe made history with the show's first same-sex dance. (BBC)
Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe made history with the show's first same-sex dance. (BBC)

Their coupling sparked 16 complaints. The show was watched by over 5 million viewers.

The pair were the fifth couple to be voted off the show.

Norton hosted BBC spin-off show Strictly Dance Fever in 2005, which saw amateur dancing members of the public compete for the Strictly glitterball. It was axed after just one series.