Judge Rinder offers to dance with a man on Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special

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Judge Rinder has offered to be the first Strictly Come Dancing contestant to be paired with a same-sex dance partner.

The TV judge, who appeared on the reality dance contest in 2016, made headlines earlier this month when he defended gay contestants who agreed to dance with opposite-sex dance partners.

Although same-sex dance couples are a growing part of the ballroom dance scene, Strictly continues to ban same-sex pairings citing the show’s “traditional format”.

But in his column in London’s Evening Standard, Judge Rinder clarified his comments, which he said had been “flagrantly shanghaied for the purpose of some shocker headlines”.

He added: “Was it so naive to presume it obvious that few things could bring me more delight than a waltz with one of Strictly’s delightful men?”

(Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)

Referring to himself and out comic Susan Calman, who is currently appearing on Strictly, he added: “My point was, and remains, that we are both open about our sexuality (we are both married, for heaven’s sake!) and appearing with opposite-sex partners on Strictly does not undermine this fact nor either of our support for LGBTQI issues.

“Nonetheless, perhaps now is the ideal time for Strictly to change.

“And so, I reiterate my offer — do let me stun in the Christmas special alongside perhaps Anton du Beke or the charming Gorka?”

He said previously: “Would I have felt comfortable dancing with a male partner last year? It wouldn’t have occurred to me, but yes.

“And I would direct people to watch an amazing video on YouTube of two men dancing the Argentinian tango, which is really beautiful.”

TV host Paul O’Grady previously said he couldn’t see the change happening “in a million years”.

He said: “I wonder if it wouldn’t happen on the BBC.

“The BBC are doing this huge series celebrating gay culture, but I can’t see 7 O’Clock on BBC One, on Strictly, two couples of the same sex doing the paso doble across the dance floor. I could never see that happen in a million years.”

“I think they’re scared of offending people, particularly in the press.”

Former Strictly star James Jordan elsewhere insisted that same-sex dance couples should not be permitted on the show.

He said: There definitely shouldn’t be same-sex couples on ‘Strictly’.

“Ballroom and Latin dance is about masculinity and femininity. It’s not about sexual orientation. It’s not a dating show.

“Why can’t a gay man dance with a woman?

“It’s actually insulting that you’re trying to change our profession with people saying same-sex couples should definitely be on there when it doesn’t need to be.”