Holly Willoughby says 'DOI' same sex couple should have happened 'a long time ago'

Julia Hunt
Holly Willoughby attends the "Frozen 2" European premiere at BFI Southbank (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Dancing On Ice host Holly Willoughby has praised the show’s decision to include a same sex couple – but said it should have happened sooner.

The new series of the ITV programme will see Steps star Ian ‘H’ Watkins skating with professional partner Matt Evers.

Read more: Dancing On Ice to make history with same-sex couple

It’s the first time two men have been paired together for the ice-skating competition and Willoughby said she was “very proud”.

Matt Evers (right) and Ian "H" Watkins attending the Dancing on Ice 2020 launch (Doug Peters/EMPICS)

Discussing what she was looking forward to this year, she said: “I think Matt and H, because that is groundbreaking.

“I think what that symbolises and what that means on how far we’ve come.

“A primetime show has a same sex couple skating together and why shouldn’t they?”

“It should have been happening a long time ago,” added Willoughby, who fronts the show alongside Phillip Schofield.

“For that reason, I’m very proud of Dancing On Ice.”

Read more: ‘Anatomy’ gets in the way for same sex DOI couple

It was confirmed earlier this year that Watkins and Evers would be the show’s first ever same sex pairing.

The singer has said he does not want to be treated any differently to a traditional couple on the programme.

Watkins will be joined on the 2020 series by celebrities including businesswoman Caprice Bourret, TV presenter Trisha Goddard, magician Ben Hanlin, former professional footballer Kevin Kilbane and newsreader Lucrezia Millarini.

Michael Barrymore was set to make his career comeback on the skating show but has had to pull out after injuring his left wrist in a fall during training. He recently said he was “devastated” that he could not take part.

The new series will see Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean, Ashley Banjo and John Barrowman on the judging panel.

Barrowman is replacing Jason Gardiner, who stepped down from the show earlier this year.

Dancing On Ice begins on ITV on January 5.