Jason Gardiner would love to see same-sex couples on Dancing On Ice

By Alex Green, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent

Dancing On Ice judge Jason Gardiner has said he would love to see same-sex couples on the ITV show but insisted they would have to be gay to have “validity”.

The choreographer, who will reprise his role on the panel when the reality show returns next year, said he was “all for it” when asked about same-sex skaters, but suggested having pairs of the same size would make lifts much harder.

The 47-year-old, who is gay, added the issue could be easily overcome and should not stop the show from embracing same-sex couples.

Jason Gardiner (with Phillip Schofield) returns to ITV as a judge on Dancing On Ice (David Mirzoeff/PA)

He said: “I’m all for it. If people are open to it, I don’t see why they wouldn’t be, ITV would have no problem with embracing that. It would be great if we had a same-sex couple.

“Where it gets difficult is in terms of content because what works with the male-female show is, generally speaking, that the male is taller than the female. Therefore the female, (who is) slighter, will be able to be lifted.

“If we’ve got two men of the same build, shape and height, that’s where it starts getting difficult. It’s difficult to lift someone your own size above your head.

“We would then have to find a new way of presenting that, and that’s a challenge. That would be a challenge for the show to overcome. But I would love that, absolutely.

Asked whether such pairings would have to be gay, Gardiner, 47, replied: “I think for it to have validity, I think yes, it would.

“Because it’s same-sex and therefore it’s not for any other reason that we would put two men together other than that they were promoting a lifestyle.”

Gardiner is known for his acerbic judging style and has been compared to Strictly Come Dancing’s famously critical judge Craig Revel Horwood.

Dancing on Ice starts on ITV on January 6.