'Strictly's' John Whaite 'comfortable in own skin after 32 years' thanks to Johannes Radebe pairing

John Whaite says Johannes Radebe has made him feel comfortable as himself. (BBC)
John Whaite says Johannes Radebe has made him feel comfortable as himself. (BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing star John Whaite has said he feels comfortable in his own skin for the first time in his life, thanks to dance partner Johannes Radebe.

The pair are currently competing in the BBC One show as the first all-male couple to take part and wowed both viewers and judges with their debut routine last weekend.

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Former Bake Off winner Whaite, 32, has said the overwhelmingly positive reaction they received has made him feel accepted for who he is for the first time.

He said: "I think we’ve been conditioned to expect a lot of hate in our lives for who we are but I didn’t get any hate, it was just support, love and kindness. I think I’m most looking forward to just letting go.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 21:30:01 on 18/09/2021 - Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: n/a - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing - Generics (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 21:30hrs, SATURDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER, 2021* John Whaite, Johannes Radebe - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
John Whaite and Johannes Radebe are the show's first all-male pairing. (BBC/Ray Burmiston) (BBC)

"For saying to the world 'here I am,' it’s taken 32 years to be comfortable in my own skin but I think I’m finally there and that’s all thanks to this one."

This weekend, the couple will dance the Cha Cha to Years & Years track Starstruck and Whaite admitted that he had been struggling with allowing himself to be flamboyant for the Latin routine.

He said: "My biggest challenge is to allow myself to be flamboyant because I’ve constantly got that voice in my head saying, 'Don’t be too gay, don’t be too flamboyant, don’t be too sassy'."

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 18/09/2021 - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing - Launch Show (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  John Whaite, Johannes Radebe - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Whaite said he had been overwhelmed by positive messages. (BBC/Guy Levy) (BBC/Guy Levy)

Adding that the style of dance was originally performed by two men, he said: "We took it to the origins, how it looked, what it felt like, and what it’s supposed to be, in terms of costumes, we were beautifully dressed. There was class."

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Last week Whaite and Radebe were joint second on the leaderboard with 30 points alongside Adam Peaty and Katya Jones, just behind top scorers AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington on 34 points.

This weekend's scores will be combined with week one ahead of the first public vote, with the first couple eliminated on Sunday.

Watch: Who is Strictly's John Whaite?